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  Fairmile Motor Launch ML825
B Type Fairmile Motor Launch

65 Tons
112' x 18' 3" x 4' 10"
1 x 40mm Bofors
20mm AA cannons
12 depth charges
2 x .50 cal MG (added)

RAN c1944

RAN c1948
Ship History
Built during 1943 at Greenpoint Naval Boatyard at Sydney. Delivered to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as B Type Fairmile Motor Launch ML825 under the command of Lt. Harold Venables. While in Australia, Venables traded a bottle of scotch for a pair of extra .50 caliber machine guns to provide extra armament.

Wartime History
On January 24, 1945 both ML825 and ML802 engaged in a shooting exercise against a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) used as a gunnery target in a contest between the sister ships arranged by the Royal Australian Navy Port Directorate at Jacquinot Bay.

On March 9, 1945 the ship had a cracked exhaust manifold on one of the engines, limiting their speed to 12 knots while motoring roughly ten miles southwest of Cape Orford motoring westward bound for Jacquinot Bay when suddenly attacked by a single enemy aircraft, A6M2 Zero pilot Kawato that dove and released one cluster bomb that exploded 30 yards away. Turning around for another attack run, the vessel opened fire with anti-aircraft fire from the 40mm Bofors, 20mm cannons and .50 caliber machine guns as the Zero fired three bursts of gunfire that hit the gunboat nine times before the Zero was hit by anti-aircraft fire that exploded the right fuel tank. Damaged, the Zero ditched into the sea roughly a mile away. The entire attack lasted only 42 seconds. Afterwards, ML825 searched where the Zero ditched, but did not find any trace of the crew. In fact, pilot Kawato managed to swim ashore and attempted to return to Japanese lines until he found local people who turned him over to the Australian Army.

At the end of the Pacific War, returned to Australia. During 1948 part of the RAN reserve fleet anchored off Village Point in Watson's Bay at Sydney along with ML801, ML805, ML810, ML822 AND ML825.

Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Note, some sources list the designation of this Fairmile Motor Launch as ML 825 or ML-825.
Sabretache: The Journal of the Military Historical Society of Australia "The Duel: Petty Officer Kawato flew in what is believed to be one of the last Zero fighter actions in the South West Pacific during World War II" by Robert Piper vol. 27 no. 3 (1986) pages 25-28
The Siege of Rabaul (1996) by Henry Sakaida pages 62-63, 73-78
Fairmile Ships of the Royal Australian Navy Volume II pages 143-148, 157 (footnote)

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Last Updated
March 10, 2020


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