HMAS Fremantle
Namesake: City of Fremantle, Western Australia
Builder: Evans Deakin & Co
Launched: 18 March 1942
Commissioned: 24 March 1943
Decommissioned: 25 January 1946
Recommissioned: 10 December 1952
Decommissioned: 22 June 1959
Motto: "Incorruptible"
Honours and
Fate: Sold for scrap in 1961
Badge: HMAS fremantle crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Bathurst-class corvette
Displacement: 650 tons (standard), 1,025 tons (full war load)
Length: 186 ft (57 m)
Beam: 31 ft (9.4 m)
Draught: 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engine, 2 shafts
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph) at 1,750 hp
Complement: 85

HMAS Fremantle (J246/M246), named for the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia, was one of 60 Bathurst-class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[1]

Design and construction

In 1938, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board (ACNB) identified the need for a general purpose 'local defence vessel' capable of both anti-submarine and mine-warfare duties, while easy to construct and operate.[2][3] The vessel was initially envisaged as having a displacement of approximately 500 tons, a speed of at least 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph), and a range of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km; 2,300 mi)[4] The opportunity to build a prototype in the place of a cancelled Bar-class boom defence vessel saw the proposed design increased to a 680-ton vessel, with a 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h; 17.8 mph) top speed, and a range of 2,850 nautical miles (5,280 km; 3,280 mi), armed with a 4-inch gun, equipped with asdic, and able to fitted with either depth charges or minesweeping equipment depending on the planned operations: although closer in size to a sloop than a local defence vessel, the resulting increased capabilities were accepted due to advantages over British-designed mine warfare and anti-submarine vessels.[2][5] Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained.[6] The need for locally built 'all-rounder' vessels at the start of World War II saw the "Australian Minesweepers" (designated as such to hide their anti-submarine capability, but popularly referred to as "corvettes") approved in September 1939, with 60 constructed during the course of the war: 36 (including Fremantle) ordered by the RAN, 20 ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[2][7][8][9][1]

Fremantle was laid down by Evans Deakin & Co at Brisbane, Queensland. She was launched on 18 March 1942 by the wife of Prime Minister John Curtin, and commissioned into the RAN on 24 March 1943.[1]

Operational history

World War II

When Fremantle entered active service in April 1943, she was immediately assigned to convoy escort duties along the east coast of Australia.[1] This continued until August 1943, when the corvette was assigned as a convoy escort between Darwin and Thursday Island.[1] She continued this duty until June 1945, when she was ordered to New Guinea waters to act as a guard ship.[1] Fremantle remained in New Guinea waters until the end of World War II.[1] The ship received two battle honours for her wartime service; "Darwin 1943" and "Pacific 1943–45".[10][11]

Following the war's end, Fremantle was sent to Hong Kong, where she joined the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla in August 1945 and was involved in mine clearance in Chinese waters.[1] On completion, the corvette returned to Australia, visiting her namesake city for the first time on 18 November 1945, before arriving in Melbourne and paying off into reserve on 25 January 1946.[1]


Fremantle was recommissioned on 10 December 1952 as a training ship for National Service trainees.[1] Based in the port of Fremantle, the corvette was also involved in fisheries protection, monitoring of the Japanese pearling fleet, and hydrographic surveys.[1]

Decommissioning and fate

Fremantle paid off to reserve for the second time on 22 June 1959. She was sold for scrapping to Kinoshita (Australia) Pty Ltd on 6 January 1961.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "HMAS Fremantle (I)". Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
  3. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
  4. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
  5. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
  6. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
  7. ^ Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
  8. ^ Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
  9. ^ Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
  10. ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours" (PDF). Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2012.


  • Donohue, Hector (October 1996). From Empire Defence to the Long Haul: post-war defence policy and its impact on naval force structure planning 1945–1955. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 1. Canberra: Sea Power Centre. ISBN 0-642-25907-0. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 36817771.
  • Stevens, David (2005). A Critical Vulnerability: the impact of the submarine threat on Australia's maritime defense 1915–1954. Papers in Australian Maritime Affairs. No. 15. Canberra: Sea Power Centre Australia. ISBN 0-642-29625-1. ISSN 1327-5658. OCLC 62548623.
  • Stevens, David; Sears, Jason; Goldrick, James; Cooper, Alastair; Jones, Peter; Spurling, Kathryn (2001). Stevens, David (ed.). The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence (vol III). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-554116-2. OCLC 50418095.
Journal and news articles
  • Stevens, David (May 2010). "The Australian Corvettes" (PDF). Hindsight (Semaphore). Sea Power Centre – Australia. 2010 (5). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2010.

External links