Allied Warships

HMAS Westralia (F 95)

Armed Merchant Cruiser

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
TypeArmed Merchant Cruiser
Class[No specific class] 
PennantF 95 
Built byHarland & Wolff Ltd. (Govan, Scotland) 
Ordered 
Laid down 
Launched25 Apr 1929 
Commissioned17 Jan 1940 
End serviceFeb 1943 
History

On 2 November 1939 the passenger ship Westralia of the Huddart Parker Ltd, Victoria was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser. Conversion was completed on 17 January 1940.

Displacement: 8108 BRT
Armament: 7x 152mm, 2x 76mm
Speed: 14 knots

Career:
January 40 - June 40: Pacific Ocean
July 40 - December 40: East Indies Station
January 41 - February 43: Pacific Ocean

From December 1942 to February 1943 used as accommodiation ship, then converted to a landing ship LSI(L) from February 1943 to 31 May 1943. From September 1945 used as troopship.

As LSI(L) she carried 933 troops.

On 19 September 1949 decommissioned and on 27 March 1951 returned to owner.

 

Commands listed for HMAS Westralia (F 95)

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CommanderFromTo
1Cdr. Alvord Sydney Rosenthal, RAN27 Oct 193924 Sep 1940
2A/Capt. (emergency) Henry Victor Hudson, OBE, RAN25 Sep 194029 Oct 1942
3A/Capt. John Malet Armstrong, RAN30 Oct 194217 Dec 1942
4A/Cdr. Robert Stephen Pearson, RAN18 Dec 194214 Feb 1943
5Cdr. Alfred Victor Knight, RD, RANR(S)15 Feb 1943

6Lt.Cdr. Eric Walton Livingston, RANR(S)Oct 1944

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Notable events involving Westralia include:


17 Jul 1940

Convoy BN 2.

This convoy departed Bombay on 17 July 1940 for the Suez where it arrived on 5 August 1940.

The convoy was made up of the following merchant vessels; British Consul (British (tanker), 6940 GRT, built 1924), Clydefield (British (tanker), 7365 GRT, built 1928), Cornwall (British, 10605 GRT, built 1920), Daviken (Norwegian, 2922 GRT, built 1926), Ellenga (British, 5196 GRT, built 1911), Germa (Norwegian, 5282 GRT, built 1920), Grena (Norwegian (tanker), 8117 GRT, built 1934), Hoegh Hood (Norwegian (tanker), 9351 GRT, built 1936), Jalarashimi (British, 4449 GRT, built 1918), Jehangir (British, 3566 GRT, built 1924),Longwood (British (tanker), 9463 GRT, built 1930), Nawab (British, 5430 GRT, built 1915), Olivia (Dutch (tanker), 6307 GRT, built 1939), Ranee (British, 5060 GRT, built 1928) and Varsova (British, 4701 GRT, built 1914).

On departure from Bombay the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMS Ceres (Capt. E.G. Abbott, AM, RN) and the armed merchant cruisers HMS Cathay (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.M. Merewether, RN) and HMAS Westralia (Cdr. A.S. Rosenthal, RAN).

On 20 July two of the merchant ships parted company with the convoy to proceed to other destinations, these were the tankers British Consul (to Trincomalee) and Clydefield (to Colombo).

On 26 July the armed merchant cruisers HMS Cathay and HMAS Westralia parted company with the convoy while the light cruiser HMNZS Leander (Capt. H.E. Horan, RN) joined the convoy.

On 27 July the sloops HMIS Hindustan (Cdr. G.V.G. Beamish, RIN) and HMS Shoreham (Cdr. G.P. Claridge, RN) joined the convoy to provided A/S escort while the convoy was approaching Aden.

On the 29th the merchant vessels Jerhangir and Varsova split off from the convoy and proceeded to Aden escorted by HMS Ceres.

The following merchant ships joined the convoy at Aden; Beaconstreet (British, 7467 GRT, built 1927), British Judge (British (tanker), 6735 GRT, built 1921), Marija Petrinovic (Yugoslavian, 5684 GRT, built 1918), Mathura (British, 8890 GRT, built 1920), Ozarda (British, 6985 GRT, built 1940) and Peshawur (British, 7934 GRT, built 1919).

On 30 July the AA cruiser HMS Carlisle (Capt. G.M.B. Langley, OBE, RN), destroyers HMS Kandahar (Cdr. W.G.A. Robson, RN), HMS Kimberley (Lt.Cdr. J.S.M. Richardson, RN) and the sloop HMS Flamingo (Cdr. J.H. Huntley, RN) joined the convoy to escort it partly through the Red Sea. HMIS Hindustan and HMS Shoreham parted company with the convoy on 30 July.

On 3 August the following merchant vessels split off to proceed to Port Sudan; Daviken, Grena, Marija Petrinovic and Ozarda. They were escorted to there by HMS Kimberley.

Also on 3 August 1940 HMS Leander, HMS Carlisle, HMS Kandahar and HMS Flamingo parted company with the convoy, while the sloop HMS Clive (Cdr. H.R. Inigo-Jones, RIN) joined the convoy to escort it on it's last leg to Suez.

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. (1)

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). (1)

Sources

  1. File 2.12.03.6850 (Dutch Archives, The Hague, Netherlands)

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