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November 24, 2011
Grimsby-class sloop dis-
placing 1060 tons, was
commissioned on April 8,
1940, under the command of LCDR
She sailed from Fremantle on June
29, 1940, arriving in the Red Sea at the
end of July.
Parramatta spent the next nine
months performing monotonous but
essential work escorting, patrolling
and minesweeping as part of the Red
In April 1941 she took part in oper-
ations against Italian Eritrea in East
Africa, towing the crippled cruiser
HMS Capetown back to Port Sudan
after she had been torpedoed by an
Italian 'E' Boat.
Parramatta transferred to the con-
trol of C-in-C Mediterranean Station
in May 1941, and LCDR Walker was
pleased his ship's company would be
encouraged by contact with the battle-
scarred Mediterranean Fleet.
From June onwards she was
assigned to escort duties in support of
the Western Desert campaign in Libya.
On June 23 Parramatta, the sloop
HMS Auckland and the steamer Pass
of Balmaha, carrying petrol to Tobruk,
were subjected to more than eight
hours of furious attacks by three for-
mations each of 16 dive bombers.
Parramatta sustained no hits and
destroyed three enemy aircraft, while
Auckland was crippled and eventually
sank after a heavy internal explosion.
Survivors of the Auckland were
machine-gunned in the water by
German aircraft, but Parramatta was
able to return after dark and pick
up 164 survivors while HMA Ships
Waterhen and Vendetta provided sup-
Parramatta was attacked by a
German submarine five days later en
route to Mersa Matruh, but while the
Honouring their sacrifice
enemy's aim was good, the torpedo ran
deep under the ship.
From July to October 1941,
Parramatta carried out escort and sur-
vey operations between Cyprus and
the Gulf of Suez before being reas-
signed to convoy escort duties off
Libya in November.
Parramatta and the destroyer HMS
Avon Vale sailed from Alexandria on
November 25, escorting the slow-mov-
ing ammunition ship Hanne to Tobruk.
The three ships were about 40km
north of Bardia at midnight on
Unknown to them, Kapitanleutnant
Hans Heidtmann in submarine U-559
had been stalking the convoy for two
He fired a spread of three torpedoes
from 2000 metres at the Hanne just
after midnight, all of which missed,
and went unnoticed by the three ships.
Heidtmann closed in to 1500
metres and fired another torpedo.
It struck Parramatta amidships and
there were two almost simultaneous
explosions, the second probably the
The ship was torn apart, rolled rap-
idly to starboard and sank with the
majority of the crew below deck.
Only those on deck had any chance
Avon Vale picked up 21 survivors
while three others swam ashore in
Libya and were found by advancing
One hundred and thirty-eight crew-
members, including all the officers,
perished with their ship.
In a final twist to this story, the
U-559 was attacked by Royal Navy
ships on October 30, 1942, and after
being depth charged for 16 hours, sur-
Three British sailors boarded the
sinking submarine and salvaged its
Enigma coding machine and code
Two of the sailors were lost when
the submarine sank, but their sacrifice
enabled the Allies to break and read
German naval signals, saving the lives
of countless other Allied seamen.
The last of Parramatta II's survi-
vors, Ordinary Seaman Harold Moss,
88, died at Ballina on July 2, 2011,
with an honour guard from Parramatta
IV attending his funeral.
Only 24 sailors survived the torpedoing of the sloop HMAS Parramatta II off
the coast of Libya, by the German submarine U-559, 70 years ago this month.
SGT Dave Morley explains.
A SERVICE to commemo-
rate the 70th anniversary of
the loss of HMAS Parramatta
II will be held on November
27 at 10.30am at the HMAS
Parramatta Memorial, Queens
FATEFUL END: HMAS
Parramatta II sank after
being torpedoed by a
SOLEMN: ABET David Jordan
rests on arms during last year's
HMAS Parramatta II commemora-
tion in Sydney.
Photo: LSIS Brenton Freind
The Australian Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is conducting a
Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force. Specifically
the Review is examining the effectiveness of cultural change strategies and
initiatives required to improve leadership pathways for women in the Australian
The Review is being led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick,
who chairs the expert Review Panel.
The Review Panel is now calling for written submissions. In particular, written
submissions are being sought on the following aspects of the Terms of Reference:
The effectiveness of the cultural change strategies recommended by
the CDF Women's Reference Group in the Women's Action Plan including the
implementation of these strategies across the Australian Defence Force;
Measures and initiatives required to improve the pathways for increased
representation of women into the senior ranks and leadership of the Australian
Defence Force; and
Any other matters incidental to the terms of reference such as sexual
harassment and abuse and sex discrimination.
The Review will not be investigating or making findings in relation to individual
allegations or complaints. The Review can only report and make recommendations
in relation to the systemic issues arising from the Terms of Reference.
Submissions will be accepted over a four week period from
Saturday 5 November to Sunday 4 December 2011.
To view the full terms of reference and to lodge a submission please refer to
the Submissions page of the Commission website at www.humanrights.gov.au/
For any inquiries in relation to the Review submission process please see our
website or contact the ADF Review Secretariat by email at defence.review@
humanrights.gov.au or call 1800 656 945.
Please note that submissions received will ordinarily be made available on the
Commission website. People wishing to make a confidential submission should
make this clear at the time of lodgement and the Review will not publish those
submissions on the website. However, people should also be aware that whilst
every endeavour will be made to ensure confidentiality, the Commission is obliged
to determine any request for access to documents made under the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 in accordance with that Act.
Call for Submissions into the
Treatment of Women in the
Australian Defence Force
THE Request for Offer
(RFO) for six Iroquois
helicopters reserved for
sale to historical organi-
sations was released on
Organisations will be
able to apply for one of
six Iroquois helicopters
for static display.
Priority will be given
to historical organisations
in Australia that have
strong connections with
Eleven Iroquois heli-
copters have already been
allocated to Defence bases
around Australia and one
to the Australian War
Memorial in Canberra.
Another five will be
kept by the ADF as train-
ing aids and another two
have been offered for sale
to national returned ser-
is available for download
after registering on the
AUSTENDER website at
ing reference DMOFD/
The tender will close
on January 27, 2012.
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