Allied Warships

HMAS Manoora (F 48)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 48 
Built byA. Stephen & Sons Ltd. (Glasgow, Scotland) 
Laid down 
Launched24 Oct 1934 
Commissioned12 Dec 1939 
End service30 Sep 1942 

On 14 October 1939 the passenger ship Manoora of the The Adelaide SS Co Ltd, Adelaide was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. She was commissioned on 12 December 1939 but her conversion was not completed untill 5 February 1940.

Displacement: 10856 BRT
Armament: 7x 152mm, 2x 76mm AA, 2x MG and a Seagull flying boat
Speed: 15.7 knots

December 39 - September 42: Pacific Ocean

From September 1942 to 2 February 1943 converted to a landing ship LSI(L). Took part in the landing operations in Morotai, Lingayen Gulf, Tarakan and Balikpapan. From September 1945 to November 1947 used as repatriation ship for troops.

As LSI(L) she was armed with 1 12pdr AA, 6 40mm AA (6x1), 8 20mm AA (8x1).
She carried 4 LCM's and 8 LCA's and 1228 troops.

Decommissioned on 6 December 1947 and on 31 August 1949 returned to owner.


Commands listed for HMAS Manoora (F 48)

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1Cdr. Arthur Henry Spurgeon, RAN12 Dec 193929 Apr 1942
2A/Capt. John Malet Armstrong, RAN30 Apr 194226 Oct 1942
3A/Cdr. Sydney Thomas Milton Gower, RAN27 Oct 194229 Jun 1943
4A/Capt. Cecel Claude Baldwin, RAN30 Jun 194315 Dec 1943
5A/Cdr. Sydney Thomas Milton Gower, RAN16 Dec 194326 Jan 1944
6Cdr. Alan Paterson Cousin, RANR(S)27 Jan 19446 Dec 1947

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Notable events involving Manoora include:

12 Jun 1940
With the likelihood of the entry of Italy into the war, HMAS Manoora (Cdr. A.H. Spurgeon, RAN) shadowed the Italian passenger/cargo ship Romolo (9780 GRT) which had departed Brisbane, Australia on 5 June. When, by the morning of 9 June, Italy's attentions were still unclear and the shadowing might continue indefinitely, Manoora was called off. By that evening, however, the situation had become clearer and Manoora was ordered to find Romolo and recommence shadowing. By this time the Italian liner was 160 nautical miles away, steering north east. She was eventually caught on the 12th by Manoora approximately 220 nautical miles south-west of Nauru in position 02°30'S, 165°30'E and scuttled herself. As she returned to Australia with the Romolo's crew and passengers, Manoora embarked the complement of the American merchant vessel Admiral Wiley(3545 GRT) which had run aground on Kitava Island in the Trobriands on the 13th. Manoora reached Townsville, Australia on 17 June. (1)

28 Feb 1942

Convoy SU 1.

This convoy departed Colombo on 28 February 1942 and arrived at Fremantle on 15 March 1942.

This convoy was made up of the troopships / transports; City of London (British, 8956 GRT, built 1907), City of Paris (British, 10902 GRT, built 1922), Eastern Prince (British, 10926 GRT, built 1929), Egra (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Empire Glade (British, 7006 GRT, built 1941), Esperance Bay (British, GRT, built ), Gorgon (British, 3533 GRT, built 1933), Industria (British, 4850 GRT, built 1940), Kosciuszko (Polish, 6852 GRT, built 1915, Madras City (British, 5080 GRT, built 1940), Mathura (British, 8890 GRT, built 1920), Norden (British, 8440 GRT, built 1931), Penrith Castle (British, 6369 GRT, built 1929), Pundit (British, 5305 GRT, built 1919), Silverteak (British, 6770 GRT, built 1930), Silverwillow (British, 6373 GRT, built 1930) and Trevilley (British, 5296 GRT, built 1940).

The convoy was escorted by the British heavy cruiser HMS Cornwall (Capt. P.C.W. Manwaring, RN, the British destroyer HMS Express (Lt.Cdr. F.J. Cartwright, RN) and the British corvette HMS Hollyhock (Lt. T.E. Davies, OBE, RNR). On 1 March the Australian armed merchant cruiser HMAS Manoora (A/Capt. A.H. Spurgeon, RAN) joined in position 05.00'N, 79.00'E coming from Trincomalee.

HMS Express and HMS Holyhock returned to Colombo on 3 March 1942.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle on 15 March 1942 except for HMAS Manoora which was detached escorting the merchant vessels Empire Glade, Madras City, Mathura and Silver Widow to Adelaide where they arrived on 22 March 1942. (2)

4 Jul 1942
HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) departed Sydney as escort for convoy ZK 11 that was to proceed to Fremantle. Convoy ZK 11 was made up of the Australian liner Duntroon (10346 GRT, built 1935) and the Australian Armed Merchant Cruisers HMAS Manoora (A/Capt. J.M. Armstrong, RAN) and HMAS Westralia (A/Capt. (emergency) H.V. Hudson, OBE, RAN).

The American destroyer USS Flusser ( Lt.Cdr. L.H. Miller, USN) was also part of the escort until 0600/5 when she returned to Sydney as previously ordered. (3)

27 Jul 1942
HrMs Tromp (Cdr. J.B. de Meester, RNN) departed Fremantle to escort convoy ZK 12 part of the way from Fremantle to Sydney. Convoy ZK 12 was made up of the following ships; British passenger (troops) / cargo ships Athlone Castle (25564 GRT, built 1936), City of Canterbury (8421 GRT, built 1923), British cargo ships Dunedin Star (11168 GRT, built 1936), Martand (7967 GRT, built 1939), Australian liner (troopship) Duntroon (10346 GRT, built 1935) and the Australian Armed Merchant Cruisers HMAS Manoora (A/Capt. J.M. Armstrong, RAN) and HMAS Westralia (A/Capt. (emergency) H.V. Hudson, OBE, RAN).

Also part of the escort were the US light cruiser USS Phoenix (Capt. H.E. Fischer, USN) and the Australian destroyer HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Robison DSC, RAN). (3)


  1. Personal communication
  2. ADM 199/426
  3. File (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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