HMAS Vigilant in July 1941. The deck awnings were removed at the outbreak of the Pacific War.
|Builder:||Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney|
|Launched:||12 February 1938|
|Commissioned:||12 November 1940|
|Decommissioned:||12 November 1945|
|Homeport:||Originally Townsville, later Darwin|
|Fate:||Scuttled in 1966|
|Displacement:||106 tons standard|
|Length:||102 ft (31 m)|
|Propulsion:||2 × 16 cylinder 320hp Gleniffer diesel|
|Speed:||14.7 knots (27.2 km/h; 16.9 mph)|
|Boats & landing
|2 motor life boats|
|Armament:||3-pounder QF, 20mm Oerlikon AA, light arms|
HMAS Vigilant (later known as HMAS Sleuth and HMAS Hawk) was an auxiliary patrol boat serving with the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War. Notably it was the 120th ship built by the Cockatoo Island Dockyard and the first aluminium ship built in Australia.
PV Vigilant was a prototype ship designed and built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in 1937–38. The hull and wheelhouse were constructed entirely of aluminium to save weight. As a result, the 102-foot (31 m) ship had a total displacement of only 106 tons.
The ship was still undergoing sea trials when it was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy in October 1940, commissioning as HMAS Vigilant on 12 November 1940. It was classed as an auxiliary patrol vessel. It was initially equipped with a 3-pounder QF gun but this was replaced with a 20 mm Oerlikon. As well as the mounted gun, it carried a variety of light arms including a Bren light machine gun.
Vigilant was transferred to Darwin, Northern Territory in 1941 and was used for protecting the harbour approaches. During the Bombing of Darwin, Vigilant engaged some of the attacking aircraft with its 20 mm Oerlikon and later assisted in picking up survivors from the water in Darwin Harbour.
Vigilant, with a hold capacity of 7 tons, played an important role in the Battle of Timor from May 1942 and made several supply trips to the island. During one of these supply voyages, it assisted in the search for survivors from HMAS Armidale. During this time, it also resupplied corvettes operating in the Timor Sea, notably resupplying HMAS Deloraine with depth charges.[clarification needed]
HMAS Vigilant was renamed HMAS Sleuth on 17 April 1944 and HMAS Hawk on 13 March 1945. Hawk was paid off on 12 November 1945.
After the war, the ship was returned to the Department of Trade and Customs as PV Vigilant, and served as a whaling patrol ship off Western Australia until 1965. Despite attempts to save the ship for preservation, it was scuttled off Sydney in April 1966.
Following an overhaul of the RAN battle honours system, completed in March 2010, the RAN decided that, in recognition of the vessel's wartime service, future ships named HMAS Vigilant would be entitled to carry the honours "Darwin 1942–43" and "Pacific 1942–43".
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