Allied Warships

HMAS Wollongong (J 172)

Minesweeper of the Bathurst class

NavyThe Royal Australian Navy
PennantJ 172 
Built byCockatoo Docks and Engineering Co. Ltd. (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) 
Ordered29 Jul 1940 
Laid down29 Jan 1941 
Launched5 Jul 1941 
Commissioned23 Oct 1941 
End service11 Feb 1946 

Decommissioned on 11 February 1946.
Transferred to the Royal Netherlands Navy being renamed Banda.
In April 1950 Banda was transferred to the Indonesian Navy being renamed Radjawali.


Commands listed for HMAS Wollongong (J 172)

Please note that we're still working on this section
and that we only list Commanding Officers for the duration of the Second World War.

1T/Lt. Gordon Alexander Keith, RANR(S)27 Jul 19417 Mar 1943
2Lt. Thomas Hartley Smith, RANR(S)8 Mar 1943

3T/Lt. John Hare, RANR(S)26 Jun 194411 Feb 1946

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Notable events involving Wollongong include:

20 Jul 1942

Convoy ZK 14.

This convoy departed Sydney on 20 July 1942.

It was made up of the following transports; Katoomba (Australian, 9424 GRT, built 1913).

They were escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN) and the destroyer HMAS Stuart (Cdr. S.H.K. Spurgeon, DSO, RAN).

Around 0200K/21, HMAS Stuart parted company and returned to Sydney arriving there later the same day.

Around 1530K/22, the transports Cremer (Dutch, 4608 GRT, built 1926) and Van Heutsz (Dutch, 4588 GRT, built 1926) joined coming from Melbourne.

Around 0922H/27, HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)) joined the convoy as local A/S escort in the approaches to Fremantle.

The convoy arrived at Fremantle in the afternoon of 28 July 1942. (1)

31 Jul 1942

Convoy Schooner B '.

This convoy departed Fremantle on 31 July 1942.

It was made up of the following (troop) transports; Aronda (British, 9031 GRT, built 1941), Clan MacDonald (British, 9653 GRT, built 1939), Devonshire (British, 11275 GRT, built 1939), Ekma (British, 5108 GRT, built 1911), Elisabeth Bakke (Norwegian, 5450 GRT, built 1937), Kaituna (British, 4914 GRT, built 1938), Rajula (British, 8478 GRT, built 1926) and Westernland (Dutch, 16479 GRT, built 1918).

On departure from Fremantle the convoy was escorted by the light cruiser HMAS Adelaide (A/Capt. J.C.D. Esdaile, OBE, RAN), armed merchant cruiser HMS Kanimbla (A/Capt. W.L.G. Adams, RN), destroyer HMAS Voyager (Lt.Cdr. R.C. Robison DSC, RAN) and the minesweeper HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. G.A. Keith, RANR(S)). HMAS Wollongong most likely was with the convoy only for a short time.

Around 1900H/2, HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Voyager parted company with the convoy to return to Fremantle.

The Elisabeth Bakke arrived at Adelaide on 5 August 1942 after having been detached from the convoy.

The convoy arrived at Melbourne on 7 August 1942. It appears that the Westernland proceeded to Sydney independently.

12 Sep 1943
German U-boat U-617 was beached, in the Mediterranean Sea near Melilla, in position 35°13'N, 03°21'W, after being damaged by depth charges from two British Wellington aircraft (179 Sqn RAF). The wreck was subsequently attacked by British Hudson aircraft (48 and 233 Sqn RAF) and two British Swordfish aircraft (833 and 886 Sqn FAA) and finally destroyed by gunfire from the British corvette HMS Hyacinth (Lt.Cdr. J.D. Hayes, DSO, RN) and the Australian minesweeper HMAS Wollongong (Lt. T.H. Smith, RANR(S)).

26 Jan 1945
Ships belonging to the Fleet Train of the British Pacific Fleet departed Trincomalee for Fremantle. These were the destroyer deport ship Tyne (Capt. S. Boucher, RN), repairs ships HMS Resource (Capt.(Retd.) D.B. O’Connell, RN), Artifex (A/Capt.(Retd.) C.C. Flemming, RN) and the target ship HMS Lewes (T/Lt. M.H. Grylls, SANF(V)). The tanker Battle Rock (American, 10448 GRT, built 1944) was also in company with these ships.

Escort was provided by the heavy cruiser London and the minesweepers HMAS Cairns (T/Lt. N.G. Weber, RANR(S)), HMAS Cessnock (Lt. A.G. Chapman, RANR(S)), HMAS Gawler (Lt.Cdr. J.H.P. Dixon, RANR(S)), HMAS Geraldton (Cdr. J.K. Walton, RAN), HMAS Ipswich (T/Lt. R.H. Creasey, RANR(S)), HMAS Tamworth (T/Lt. D.B. Lloyd-Jones, RANR(S)) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)).

They arrived at Fremantle on 9 February 1945. (2)

19 Mar 1945
HMS Voracious (Lt. F.D.G. Challis, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Sydney with HMAS Nizam (A/Lt.Cdr. W.F. Cook, RAN) and HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)).

HMAS Nizam also conducted gunnery and torpedo firing exercises. (3)

10 Aug 1945
HMS Virtue (Lt. R.D. Cairns, DSC, RN) conducted A/S exercises off Sydney with (at least) HMAS Wollongong (T/Lt. J. Hare, RANR(S)). (4)


  1. Report of proceedings of HMAS Adelaide for July 1942
  2. ADM 199/1457
  3. ADM 173/20340 + Report of proceedings of HMAS Nizam for March 1945
  4. ADM 173/20293

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.

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