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HMAS Anzac D59


HMAS Anzac
HMAS Anzac (D59) was a Battle class destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, the destroyer was commissioned in 1951. The ship served on two tours of duty during the Korean War, and attempts to distinguish herself from British ships led to the practice of red kangaroo symbols on Australian warships. During 1956, Anzac served during the Malayan Emergency.
In 1960, a malfunction in the destroyer's gun direction equipment caused Anzac to fire directly on sister ship HMAS Tobruk during a gunnery exercise, with Tobruk left unrepairable. In 1961, the destroyer was reclassified as a training vessel. Anzac remained in service until 1974, and was sold for breaking a year later.

Following a refit at Williamstown, completed on 14 December 1951, ANZAC spent four months in home ports and on east coast exercises. In May 1952, in company with HMAS AUSTRALIA, she visited Papua New Guinea, New Britain, Manus and the Solomon Islands. In June she was again in dockyard hands at Williamstown completing her second refit of the year on 25 July.

On 1 September 1952 ANZAC departed Sydney for Sasebo to begin her second tour of duty in Korean waters. Singapore was reached on 10 September and Hong Kong six days later, where she relieved HMAS BATAAN on station, proceeding for Sasebo on 27 September for duty on the west coast of Korea. The following day ANZAC joined HMS NEWCASTLE and HMNZS ROTOITI at Paengyong Do to begin coastal patrol. In this, ANZAC’s role was six days with the West Coast Bombardment and Blockade Group followed by nine days on the carrier screen. The closing hours of the month found ANZAC on patrol some 50 miles south south east of the Yalu River, where, in bright moonlight, her crew witnessed a full scale United Nations air raid on Cholsan.

HMAS-Anzac
HMAS Anzac

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On 4 October ANZAC completed her period of patrol and proceeded to operate on the screen of HMS OCEAN, relieving HNMS PIET HEIN and joining HMCS NOOTKA and USS VAMMEN. Flying operations ended on 13 October and the entire group then proceeded for Sasebo and thence to Kure.

On 29 October, with Lieutenant Commander W.O.C. Roberts RAN in temporary command, ANZAC returned to the eastern Korea patrol as a unit of Task Unit 95.12.1, whose main function was defence of the islands of Sok To and Cho Do, the latter being the site of a radar station and Tactical Air Defence Centre, a vital point in the operations in South Korea. The task group of mixed Royal Navy, Australian, Canadian and American units comprised ANZAC, HMCS CRUSADER, HMS COMUS and USS LSMR 412, plus some small vessels of the South Korean Navy. ANZAC’s period of patrol and bombardment ceased on 17 November, when the duties of Commander Task Unit 95.12.1 were turned over to Captain (D) 8th Destroyer Squadron in HMS COSSACK.

Active operational duty was resumed on 27 November on the west coast patrol, screening GLORY in company with of PIET HEIN and USS HICKOX. On 7 December ANZAC detached, relieved CRUSADER and resumed bombardment and patrol duties in the vicinity of Cho Do and Sok To Islands, being relieved in turn on 12 December by COMUS. Wearing the flag of Rear Admiral Clifford (Second-in-Command, Far East Station) ANZAC entered Sasebo Harbour on 13 December 1952.

On 19 December ANZAC departed Kure for her last patrol of the year, the venue switching to the east Korean coast, as a unit of Task Element 95.22 (ANZAC and US Ships THE SULLIVANS, MCNAIR and EVANSVILLE) relieving HMCS HAIDA. The base of operations was the island of Yangdo, the defence of which was the unit’s chief mission.

Commenting on this phase of ANZAC’s Korean service, which ended on 3 January 1953, her Commanding Officer wrote ‘This tour of duty on the east coast has introduced the ship to a naval aspect of the Korean War greatly differing from that on the west coast. Enemy batteries were numerous and very hostile; navigational worries are few, tides almost non-existent. Moreover, there has been the experience of working in what is almost an entirely American force. The weather alternated between heavy snowfalls and days of bright sunlight.’ ANZAC berthed at Kure on 5 January 1953.

West coast patrol was resumed on 21 January, with Captain G.G.O. Gatacre RAN assuming the duties of Commander Task Unit 95.1.2 (ANZAC and RFA WAVE PRINCE) for protection of the Sok To and Cho Do areas. On 25 January ANZAC was relieved by HMS BIRMINGHAM and herself relieved HMS COCKADE as Commander Task Unit 95.1.4, then comprising ANZAC, COCKADE and USS QUAPAN. Operations of this group followed the usual pattern with destroyers being allocated daily for naval gunfire support against the mainland. Severe icing during this tour restricted the tempo of support missions. Australia Day was celebrated by a bombardment of battery positions which had shelled ANZAC on 16 November 1952. On 29 January she was once more back in Sasebo Harbour.

Beginning on 5 February 1953, when she left Sasebo screening GLORY, ANZAC began a period of eleven weeks of almost continuous service on the Korean west coast patrol. It comprised four tours of operational duty with only brief periods in Sasebo or Kure. It ended on 23 April when the destroyer left Yongpyong Do for Hong Kong where she remained until 7 May 1953.

On 12 May ANZAC joined Task Unit 95.2.2 (US Ships GURKE and MADDOX) for her second period of duty on the east Korean coast based on Yangdo. Operations consisted of defence of the island, maintenance of the blockade and shelling of traffic on the north east coastal railway. ANZAC’s part ended on 26 May when she proceeded to Tokyo where, with HMS MOUNTS BAY, she represented the Royal and Commonwealth Navies at a ceremony marking the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

ANZAC entered Sasebo from Tokyo on 7 June and departed two days later in company with HMS OCEAN for her final patrol on the Korean coast. At 1845 on 13 June 1953 ANZAC was relieved by COCKADE, bringing to an end her part in operations after nine months service in the Far East.

On 3 July 1953 ANZAC returned to Sydney after an absence of 305 days. Of these, 228 were spent at sea, 40 of them on patrol in the combat areas. During the entire period she steamed 57,865 miles.

Arriving in Port Phillip Bay on 8 July, ANZAC began a refit at Williamstown which was completed on 16 September. Exercises with HMAS SYDNEY and the transport of National Service Trainees occupied sea time in September and October period and there were further exercises with HMAS VENGEANCE in November. A second refit began at Williamstown on 12 November and the ship remained in dockyard hands until 6 January 1954.

In January 1954 there were further east coast carrier exercises and in the following month escort duties on the occasion of the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. In March ANZAC visited the Barrier Reef and in April she was in Papua New Guinea waters.

Between 13 and 28 May 1954 there were group exercises with HMNZS BLACK PRINCE, the submarines HMS TELEMACHUS and HMS THOROUGH, and vessels of the Australian Fleet, including VENGEANCE.

Refitting at Williamstown between June and August 1954 was followed by anti-submarine exercises in September. In October ANZAC took part in joint exercises in the Manus area with the Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet flying his flag in SYDNEY and Rear Admiral Gladstone flying his flag in HMS BIRMINGHAM. The exercises ended on 27 October when the combined force returned to Sydney.

During the first week of November there was the annual arrival in Port Phillip Bay, with a return to Sydney in mid month. The remaining period of the year was taken up by weapon training exercises off the New South Wales coast.

New Year’s Day, 1955, found ANZAC self refitting at Cockatoo Dockyard, Sydney, work which continued until 13 February. The closing days of the month were chiefly occupied by joint anti-submarine exercises, joining SYDNEY on 28 February for passage to Fremantle.

ANZAC spent a week in Fremantle, arrived in Melbourne on 18 March and then proceeded to Sydney to take part in further fleet exercises which continued intermittently until 19 April when ANZAC detached for New Caledonia for an eleven day goodwill visit.

On 17 May ANZAC, in company with HMNZ Ships BLACK PRINCE and PUKAKI and HMA Ships QUADRANT, ARUNTA, TOBRUK and WARRAMUNGA, proceeded to sea to begin ANZEX exercises scheduled to cover a three month period. Units of the Royal Navy, led by HMS NEWCASTLE, flying the flag of the Flag Officer Second-in-Command, Far East Station, Rear Admiral E.F. Elkins CB CVO OBE, were eventually joined en route between Darwin to Singapore on 1 June 1955. Following conclusion of the joint exercises ANZAC departed Singapore in company with TOBRUK on 2 July for Sydney and thence to Melbourne for a refit at Williamstown.

The two and a half month refit was completed on 7 October 1955. Proceeding that day for Sydney, ANZAC remained there, except for a brief visit to Newcastle, for the following five weeks.

On 16 November, in company with TOBRUK, ANZAC departed Sydney for Singapore via Fremantle to become part of the Strategic Reserve on the Far East Station. Singapore was reached on 1 December.

In the first of the only two offensive actions undertaken by Royal Australian Navy ships during the Malayan Emergency (1948-60), ANZAC and TOBRUK bombarded terrorist positions south of Jason Bay in Johore State on 29 September 1956. ANZAC served in Far East waters until November 1956 when she returned to Australia.

Following a refit and a visit to Tasmania she returned to Singapore in April 1957 to begin another tour of duty in the Far East. On this occasion ANZAC spent ten months overseas and returned to Australia in January 1958. She arrived in Sydney on 8 February to begin a major refit which kept her in dockyard hands until October 1958.

In March 1959 ANZAC resumed service as a unit of the Strategic Reserve in the Far East and returned to Australia in December 1959. A refit and trials period followed. During April and May 1960 ANZAC visited Noumea, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

On 1 March 1961 ANZAC became the Fleet Training Ship (seaman training only), with an extra deckhouse aft and the director removed. The ship remained in Australian waters until August 1961 when she visited New Zealand, departing the following month. A further visit to New Zealand was made in November and December.

For the first eight months of 1962 ANZAC was in Australian waters. A brief visit was made to Singapore in September to participate in an exercise and in October she visited Papua New Guinea and the Solomons Islands.

ANZAC escorted the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA on the occasion of the Royal Visit in February and March 1963.

Between 1 and 24 April 1963 the ship underwent modifications at Williamstown to fit her for a wider training role. Initially she then became responsible for the training of cadets, ordinary seamen and higher rates (ie, higher ranking seamen). Later the ship also took on the task of sea training of Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR) officers and Midshipmen. Her primary task became the training of junior officers and ordinary seamen.

During December 1963, while in Tasmanian waters, she received a signal stating that the jetty at Tasman Island was on fire. Fire parties were landed and the fire gradually taken brought under control.

The Governor-General, Viscount de Lisle, embarked in ANZAC on 22 May 1964 and enjoyed the cruise which followed in Papua New Guinea waters. Places visited during the cruise were Rabaul, Sohano, Losuia, Oro Bay, Esa Ala, Milne Bay, Samarai and Port Moresby. A short visit to New Zealand took place during August and September 1964.

ANZAC underwent a refit at Williamstown between 7 January and 8 March 1965. A major item was the removal of B Turret and the G1 Bofors gun mounting and the installation of a charthouse / classroom in their place.

A cruise in Papua New Guinea waters was made in May and June 1965. In June assistance was given to civil authorities in locating and rescuing six persons who were stranded when their launch broke down. They were taken to Mackay.

A new role was undertaken in October and November 1966 when ANZAC carried out survey duties off the north west coast of Australia. After completing a refit lasting from December 1966 to March 1967, ANZAC reverted to her role of Training Ship. Also in March 1967 she passed the 500,000 mile mark. In June and July 1967 she visited Tonga for the occasion of the coronation of His Majesty King Taufa’Ahau Tupou IV.

After refitting from December 1967 to April 1968, ANZAC proceeded to Vietnam in June escorting the troop carrier HMAS SYDNEY.

In August 1969 ANZAC participated in the search for survivors of the MV NOONGAH which sank in rough seas off the New South Wales coast on 25 August. In September and October 1969 visits were paid to New Zealand (twice), Pago Pago and Apia. She again visited New Zealand in January and February 1970.

A visit was paid to Papua New Guinea in September 1970 and also during that month and the next month ANZAC was in New Zealand waters for exercises.

During a further visit to Papua New Guinea from July to September 1971, the Papua New Guinea national flag was raised for the first time on the occasion of the second celebration of the Territory’s national day, 13 September. A number of ANZAC’s ship’s company participated in the flag raising ceremony.

In September and October 1971 ANZAC returned to New Zealand. She proceeded to Papua New Guinea in February 1972 and in March participated with ten Royal Australian Navy patrol boats in an exercise in the Milne Bay area. The ship visited New Zealand in March 1973 in the course of a training cruise. Further visits to New Zealand were made in January and February 1974and April 1974. In July and August 1974 a visit was made to Fiji.

ANZAC arrived at Garden Island, Sydney, on 11 August 1974 to prepare to pay off for disposal. She had steamed 693,582.1 miles since commissioning. The ship finally paid off at Sydney on 4 October 1974. On 24 November 1975 ANZAC was sold to Hifirm Corporation Ltd of Hong Kong. She was towed from Sydney by a Japanese tug on 30 December 1975.