HMAS Launceston (J179)

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HMAS Launceston (J179).JPG
Namesake: City of Launceston, Tasmania
Builder: Evans Deakin & Co
Laid down: 23 December 1940
Launched: 30 June 1941
Commissioned: 9 April 1942
Decommissioned: 23 March 1946
Motto: Progress With Prudence
Honours and
Fate: Transferred to Turkish Navy
Badge: HMAS launceston crest.png
Name: Ayancik
Renamed: TCG Hamit Naci
Fate: Withdrawn from service, 1965
General characteristics during RAN service
Class and type: Bathurst-class corvette
Displacement: 650 tons (standard), 1,025 tons (full war 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 horsepower
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp
Complement: 85
Armament: 1 × 12-pounder gun, 3 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannons (1 later removed), 1 × Bofors 40 mm gun (installed later), Machine guns, Depth charges chutes and throwers

HMAS Launceston (J179/B246/A120), named for the city of Launceston, Tasmania, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II and one of 20 built for the Admiralty but manned by personnel of and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1]

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 ordered by the RAN, 20 (including Launceston) ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[2][7][8][9][1]

Launceston was laid down by Evans Deakin & Co at Brisbane, Queensland on 23 December 1940.[1] She was launched on 30 June 1941 by the wife of William Forgan Smith, then Premier of Queensland, and was commissioned into the RAN on 9 April 1942.[1]

Operational history[edit]

RAN service[edit]

After entering service, Launceston was initially assigned to convoy escort duties in Australian waters before sailing to Colombo in September 1942 to join the British Eastern Fleet.[1] The corvette as used to escort convoys across the Indian Ocean.[1] On 11 February 1944, Launceston, sister ship HMAS Ipswich and the Indian sloop HMIS Jumna destroyed Japanese submarine RO-110.[1] Convoy duties continued until September 1944, when the corvette returned to Fremantle for refit.[1] After refit, Launceston operated from Fremantle as an anti-submarine patrol ship until February 1945, when she was sent to Manus Island to join the British Pacific Fleet.[1] As part of the Pacific Fleet, the corvette was involved in the Battle of Okinawa.[1]

Following the end of World War II, Launceston was based in Hong Kong as a minesweeper and anty-piracy patrol ship, before returning to Australia in late 1945.[1] Official visits were made to cities in Tasmania, including the corvette's namesake city, before the corvette sailed to Sydney.[1]

The corvette received four battle honours for her wartime service: "Pacific 1942–45", "Indian Ocean 1942–44", "East Indies 1944", and "Okinawa 1945".[10][11]

Turkish service[edit]

After the war's end, Launceston was marked for transfer to the Turkish Navy.[1] The corvette was placed in reserve in mid-April 1946, then was recommissioned into the Royal Navy on 21 May as HMS Launceston for the transfer.[1] The corvette, along with sister ships Pirie and Gawler sailed for Colombo, where they were commissioned into the Turkish Navy.[1]

Launceston was initially named TCG Ayancik, but was later renamed TCG Hamit Naci.[1] The ship was withdrawn from service in 1965.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "HMAS Launceston (I)". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre – Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 27 December 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. 


  • 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 defence 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
  • Stevens, David (May 2010). "The Australian Corvettes" (PDF). Hindsight (Semaphore). Sea Power Centre – Australia. 2010 (05). Retrieved 13 August 2010.