Home' Navy News : March 1st 2012 Contents SOUTHERN REGION HEALTH
SERVICES CONFERENCE 2012
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF WAR
Saturday 31 March 2012, 0730 to 1700
Victoria Barracks, St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Shedden Theater
Tri-Service Health Personnel of all ranks,
Defence Civilian Health Personnel, Civilian Health Personnel
$20 - Registrations Close 23 March 2012
Note: Information for pre conference function on Friday 30 March and
Formal Dinner on 31 March supplied with registration information.
Captain Peter Rogers
Telephone: 0404 870763
Many interesting presentations
about experiences and lessons
learnt relating to current
The Southern Region Health
Services Conference 2012
is proudly sponsored by
Defence Reserves Support.
For further information:
Call 1800 803 485 or visit
March 1, 2012
Death of a
HMAS ARUNTA I
was launched on
October 30, 1940,
by Lady Gowrie,
wife of the then
The ship showed
to enter the water
and stuck on the
She captured her
prisoner of war on
January 16, 1944,
when she recov-
ered an airman
shot down by US
fighters off Saidor,
When she was
paid off into
1956, she had
miles since com-
Everyone was so proud of the ship and no one
wanted to see it turned into razor blades. The day
after she sank all the crew were celebrating.
ON THE WAY OUT: HMAS
Arunta I under tow in
Sydney Harbour before her
final farewell 42 years ago
Photo courtesy of Sea Power Centre
THE Tribal Class destroyer
HMAS Arunta I inspired such
loyalty from her crew that
even 24 years after WWII,
they were not prepared to let her fall
into enemy hands.
The ship sank 65 miles off Sydney
Heads on February 13, 1969, while
under tow by the Japanese tug To k o
Maru to a scrapyard in Taiwan.
It is rumoured that several former
crew members had visited the ship the
night before to say goodbye, and myth
has it the stokers loosened the sea cocks.
Former AB Ray Northrop, who served
in Arunta from May 17, 1943, to after
Victory over Japan day in August 1945,
said stop cocks in her hull were smeared
with a soluble material and the metal
cleats securing them were loosened.
"The movement of the ship at sea
caused the cleats to become ineffective and
the stop cocks were displaced," he said.
"Sea water entered causing the ship
to founder, resulting in a dignified and
honourable burial at sea of a true Tribal
But what inspired former crew mem-
bers to take this extreme action?
AB Northrop said Arunta "really was
a special ship".
"She was the first Australian-built
Tribal Class and she had a very good war
"She sank the Japanese submarine
RO-33 off Port Moresby on August 24,
1942, killing all 42 crew, and evacuated
soldiers from Timor in January 1943.
"She served in the South Pacific, Coral
Sea, Timor, New Guinea, the Solomons,
New Hebrides, Dutch East Indies, the
Philippines and Borneo, firing four torpe-
does at the Japanese battleship Yamashiro
during the Battle of Surigao Strait."
Arunta suffered her only WWII
casualties off the Philippines, in January
1945, when a Japanese suicide bomber
killed two sailors, wounded five and
caused a loss of power and steerage.
Shauna Phillips, archivist for the
HMAS Arunta Association, whose
father, LS John Hillard, served in Arunta
during WWII, said there was a big sense
of family among the ship's crew.
"As a child I remember everyone
connected with the ship was called
'uncle' and 'aunty'," she said.
"The ship's dentist became my dentist.
"Everyone was so proud of the ship
and no one wanted to see it turned into
razor blades. The day after she sank all
the crew were celebrating."
The Australian-built Tribals differed
from the British-built ones in that the
height of the second funnel was reduced,
giving them a more rakish appearance.
They also had a better anti-aircraft system.
CMDR John Alliston, former captain
of HMAS Warramunga I, said of the
ships, "Whichever way you looked at a
Tribal Class Destroyer, she was not just
handsome, she was beautiful.
"The balance between the hull and
the superstructure and the proportions of
the funnels were perfect.
"Added to this, the strong clipper
bow with a graceful sheer running back
to the break of the fo'c'sle, and you have
a word picture that does not do justice to
the actuality of the best looking destroy-
er ever built."
' - Shauna Phillips, archivist for the
HMAS Arunta Association
Was it old-fashioned loyalty that ended the proud days of HMAS
Arunta I? SGT Dave Morley reports.
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