HMAS Inverell

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HMAS Inverell.jpg
HMAS Inverell transferring liberated prisoners of war to HMAS Maidstone off Makassar, Dutch East Indies in September 1945
Namesake: Town of Inverell, New South Wales
Builder: Mort's Dock & Engineering Co
Laid down: 7 December 1941
Launched: 2 May 1942
Commissioned: 17 September 1942
Decommissioned: 14 June 1946
Identification: Pennant number: J233 or M233
Fate: Transferred to RNZN
New Zealand
Acquired: 5 March 1952
Commissioned: 10 April 1952
Decommissioned: 1952
Recommissioned: 15 August 1965
Decommissioned: 19 August 1976
Reclassified: Training and fisheries protection vessel
Honours and
Fate: Sold for scrap on 1 November 1977
General characteristics in RAN service
Class and type: Bathurst-class corvette
  • 650 tons standard
  • 1,025 tons full load
Length: 186 ft (57 m)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Draught: 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engine, 2 shafts, 2,000 ihp (1,500 kW)
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp
Complement: 85
  • 1 × 4-inch gun
  • 3 × 20 mm Oerlikons (later reduced to 2)
  • 1 × 40 mm Bofors (installed later)
  • Machine guns
  • Depth charges chutes and throwers

HMAS Inverell, named for the town of Inverell, New South Wales, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1]

After World War II, the corvette was transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), where she served from 1952 to 1976.

Design and construction[edit]

In 1938, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board (ACNB) identified the need for a general purpose 'local defence vessel' capable of both anti-submarine and mine-warfare duties, while easy to construct and operate.[2][3] The vessel was initially envisaged as having a displacement of approximately 500 tons, a speed of at least 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), and a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi)[4] The opportunity to build a prototype in the place of a cancelled Bar-class boom defence vessel saw the proposed design increased to a 680-ton vessel, with a 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph) top speed, and a range of 2,850 nautical miles (5,280 km; 3,280 mi), armed with a 4-inch gun, equipped with asdic, and able to fitted with either depth charges or minesweeping equipment depending on the planned operations: although closer in size to a sloop than a local defence vessel, the resulting increased capabilities were accepted due to advantages over British-designed mine warfare and anti-submarine vessels.[2][5] Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained.[6] The need for locally built 'all-rounder' vessels at the start of World War II saw the "Australian Minesweepers" (designated as such to hide their anti-submarine capability, but popularly referred to as "corvettes") approved in September 1939, with 60 constructed during the course of the war: 36 (including Inverell) ordered by the RAN, 20 ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[2][7][8][9][1]

Inverell was laid down by Mort's Dock & Engineering Co at Balmain, New South Wales on 7 December 1941.[1] She was launched on 2 May 1942 by Mrs. T. S. Punch, Mayoress of Inverell, and commissioned into the RAN on 17 September 1942.[1]

Operational history[edit]

World War II[edit]

Inverell began service in November 1942 as a convoy escort along the eastern Australian coast.[1] At the end of December, she was relocated to Darwin, and primarily performed escort runs between Darwin and Thursday Island.[1] On 11 November 1943, Inverell arrived at Williamstown Naval Dockyard for a month-long refit.[1] On conclusion, she returned to Darwin and resumed escort duties.[1]

In early February 1943, Inverell was required to rescue the crew of a United States Army Air Forces Liberator bomber, which had crashed on Croker Island.[1] Of the eight survivors, one died onboard while the corvette was returning to Darwin.[1] On 22 September 1944, Inverell sailed to Fremantle.[1]

While based in Fremantle, the corvette's main duties was to perform training exercises with United States Navy and Royal Navy submarines, with secondary duties including convoy escort and patrol.[1] Inverell departed Fremantle for Darwin on 4 May 1945.[1] Between 22 May and 11 July, the corvette was involve in minesweeping, before she, sister ship HMAS Stawell, and Services Reconnaissance Department vessel HMAS River Snake were assigned to Morotai.[1] Inverell was required to tow River Snake for the first part of the voyage.[1]

Based in Morotai, Inverell was primarily used as a patrol vessel until the end of World War II, when she became involved in the transfer of Dutch East Indies territories from Japanese to Allied control.[1] From 21 September to 18 November, she was designated as the command ship for Port Directorate Macassar.[1] On 29 November, she left Morotai, and spent the next month operating off the coast of Queensland before arriving in Brisbane on 25 December 1945 and preparing for decommissioning.[1] Several delays meant that Inverell was not paid off into reserve until 14 June 1946.[1] On 4 November 1946, Inverell was towed to Sydney by sister ship HMAS Echuca, arriving on 17 November.[1]

The corvette received two battle honours for her wartime service: "Darwin 1942" and Pacific 1942–45".[10][11]

RNZN service[edit]

On 5 March 1952, Inverell and three other Bathurst-class corvettes (HMA Ships Echuca, Kiama, and Stawell) were transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy.[1] Inverell was commissioned into the RNZN on 10 April 1952, but was decommissioned into reserve after a refit.[1]

In 1965, the corvette was refitted as a training and fisheries patrol ship to replace the frigate HMNZS Rotoiti.[1] The 4-inch gun was replaced by a second 40 mm Bofors gun, and minesweeping gear was removed.[12] She was recommissioned on 15 August 1965, and served until 19 August 1976, when she was decommissioned.[1]

On 1 November 1977, Inverell was sold to Pacific Scrap Limited of Auckland for scrapping.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "HMAS Inverell (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 27 August 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
  3. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
  4. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
  5. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
  6. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
  7. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
  8. ^ Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
  9. ^ Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
  10. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Blackman 1971, p. 241.



  • Donohue, Hector (October 1996). From Empire Defence to the Long Haul: post-war defence policy and its impact on naval force structure planning 1945–1955. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 1. Canberra: Sea Power Centre. ISBN 0-642-25907-0. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 36817771. 
  • Stevens, David (2005). A Critical Vulnerability: the impact of the submarine threat on Australia's maritime defense 1915–1954. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 15. Canberra: Sea Power Centre Australia. ISBN 0-642-29625-1. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 62548623. 
  • Stevens, David; Sears, Jason; Goldrick, James; Cooper, Alastair; Jones, Peter; Spurling, Kathryn, (2001). Stevens, David, ed. The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554116-2. OCLC 50418095. 

Journal and news articles[edit]

  • Stevens, David (May 2010). "The Australian Corvettes" (PDF). Hindsight (Semaphore). Sea Power Centre – Australia. 2010 (05). Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  • Blackman, Raymond V. B. (1971). Jane's Fighting Ships 1971–72. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co. Ltd. ISBN 0-354-00096-9.