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  HMAS Whyalla (J153)
Bathurst class corvette

733 Tons
186' x 31' x 8.5'
1 x 4-inch gun
3 x Oerlikons (1 later removed)
1 x Bofors (installed later)
Machine guns
Depth charges chutes and throwers

Ship History
Built by Broken Hill Pty Co Ltd. Laid down July 24, 1940. Launched May 12, 1941. Comissioned January 8, 1942 as HMAS Whyalla (J153) named for the city of Whyalla in South Australia in Australia.

Wartime History
In 1942, the corvette worked supporting convoys off the south eastern Australian coast, and was in Sydney Harbour during the Japanese midget submarine attack of 31 May 1942.[2] 12 days later, Whyalla was escorting a southbound convoy when the freighter Guatemala was torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-21, the only ship to be lost in a convoy escorted by Whyalla.

In December 1942, the corvette was assigned to New Guinea, where she performed convoy escort, hydrographic survey work, and was involved in the leadup to the battle of Buna-Gona. On 2 January 1943, Whyalla and two small Australian survey ships were attacked by Japanese dive-bombers while in McLaren Harbour, Cape Nelson, New Guinea. The corvette received minor damage from near-misses, with two crew injured by shrapnel. The corvette continued survey work until relieved by sister ship Shepparton in April 1943. Whyalla proceeded to Milne Bay, and was present when the anchorage was attacked by a force of approximately 100 Japanese aircraft. Again, Whyalla was not seriously damaged, and the corvette assisted sister ships Kapunda and Wagga in the rescue and salvage effort.

Whyalla returned to Australia for refits in June 1943, and on completion was assigned to convoy duty off Australia's east coast, where she remained until February 1944. Between February and June, she was invoved in anti-submarine patrols off Sandy Cape, then was again assigned to New Guinea. In December 1944, Whyalla was one of nine Australian Bathursts assigned to the British Pacific Fleet's 21st Minesweeping Flotilla. Whyalla spent the rest of the war performing minesweeping, escort, and anti-submarine duties with the British Pacific Fleet, as well as participating in the occupation of Okinawa from March to May 1944, and entering a short refit in June 1944. Following the conclusion of World War II, Whyalla spent a short time operating in Hong Kong before returning to Brisbane in October 1945. She was decommissioned on 16 May 1946.

Whyalla was sold to the Victorian Public Works Department on 10 February 1947. The corvette was modified for civilian service, renamed Rip, and towed to Melbourne, where she entered service as a lighthouse maintenance vessel at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The ship was in service until 1984, and was to be sold for scrap.

Whyalla is recognized on a memorial plaque In memory of those who served HMA Ships [location unknown] dedicated by the RAN Corvette Associations of Australia in recognition of each of the 56 Australian built Second World War RAN corvettes.

In 1984, she was purchased by Whyalla City Council, who put her on display as a landlocked museum ship in 1987 at the Whyalla Maritime Museum.

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Last Updated
November 16, 2018


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