HMAS Parramatta

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From the HMAS Parramatta Recommissioning Book


This ship, the first HMAS Parramatta was launched on the 9th February 1910 and commissioned later that year on the 10th September. She was a Torpedo Boat Destroyer, River Class, weighing in at 700 tons and measuring 245 feet long. Her armament was comprised of: 1x4 inch QF gun, 3x12 pdr QF guns and 3x18 inch Torpedo tubes.

The early part of World War 1 was spent working with the Yarra and Warrego in the Pacific then she helped with capturing the German colonies in New Guinea. On the 10th May 1917 she sailed for the Mediterranean and was based in Italy for Adriatic anti-submarine patrol.

When returning from this tour of duty she, along with the Yarra ran out of fuel a day out of Darwin and had to be towed in by the Warrego. She spent the rest of her time at sea in Australian waters and was handed over to Cockatoo Dockyard for dismantling in 1929. Her hull was subsequently used as an accomodation vessel by the NSW Penal department before being sold for scap.

This is the second HMAS Parramatta. The keel was laid at Cockatoo Dockyard in Sydney in November 1938 and she was completed in April 1940. She was a "Sloop" with a displacement of 1060 tons her armament was comprised of 3x4 inch guns and 4x3 pdr. She saw alot of action in the Mediteranean and came under heavy air and underwater attack on many occasions whilst escorting ships and barges supplying Tobruk.

While escorting the ammunition ship Hanne with much needed supplies to Tobruk, the convoy was stalked and fired apon just after midnight of 26th November 1941 by German U-boat U559 from about 2200 yards with a spread of 3 torpedoes. They all missed, but about 12:45am 27th November, in pitch dark, U559 fired a single torpedo from 1500 yards at a ship (a flash of lightning silhouetted the ships). This torpedo hit the Parramatta amidships, exploding a magazine and she sunk very quickly. 138 men lost their lives and between 20 and 24 survived, 19 were picked up in the water and the rest were picked up by advancing troops along the shoreline.

HMAS PARRAMATTA commissioned at Sydney on 4 July 1961 under the command of Commander G.R. Griffiths DSC RAN, the first of six River Class Destroyer Escorts.

PARRAMATTA completed several overseas deployments and spent many months on the Australia station. One of her early career highlights was the escort of the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA during the visit of Her Majesty the Queen in 1963.

PARRAMATTA had active service during the Vietnam War, escorting the fast troop transport HMAS SYDNEY to Vung Tau, Vietnam, in 1965, 1968 and 1971. She also served on patrol duties between 1964 and 1966 during the Indonesian Confrontation.

In July 1976 PARRAMATTA was diverted to the Indonesian island of Bali to provide humanitarian relief following an earthquake which killed over 500 Balinese and injured another 3,000.[Link to Photos]

She was decommissioned on 3 June 1977 for modernisation and refit at Williamstown Naval Dockyard, and on completion recommissioned on 26 August 1981 under the command of Commander K.H. MacGowan RAN.

Highlights of her second commission included a rare visit to the Peoples Republic of China in 1986 and participation in 1986 Royal Australian Navy 75th Anniversary Naval Review and the Bicentennial Naval Salute in 1988.

PARRAMATTA was decommissioned on 11 January 1991 as the River Class Destroyer Escorts were replaced by the Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigates. She was sold to a Pakistani company and towed from Australia October 1991 to be broken up.



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