HMAS Steady Hour


HMAS Steady Hour
HMAS Steady Hour at Port Kembla in 1944
HMAS Steady Hour at Port Kembla in 1944
Name: Steady Hour
Owner: Fred Harris
Builder: Lars Halvorsen and Sons, Neutral Bay
Honours and
Fate: Destroyed by fire in 1945
General characteristics
Length: 56 feet (17 m)
Armament: 2 .303 Vickers MG, 4 Depth charges

HMAS Steady Hour (12) was a channel patrol boat operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) during the Second World War. She was one of thirteen similar vessels, known to Sydney siders as the 'Hollywood Fleet'.[1]

Steady Hour was built by Lars Halvorsen and Sons in 1940 for Fred Harris. This was the second vessel of the same name built for Harris.[1]

She was requisitioned and later commissioned by the RAN on 26 August 1941 under the command of Lieutenant Athol G Townley. Steady Hour was armed with .303 Vickers machine guns fore and aft and depth charge racks on the stern.[1]

During the Battle of Sydney Harbour (often referred to as the Attack on Sydney Harbour) on 31 May and 1 June 1942, Steady Hour, having received orders at 3.10am, got underway from her mooring in Farm Cove and proceeded to patrol the harbour towards the boom net. At approx. 5.00am, her sister ship HMAS Seamist attacked midget submarine M-21 in Taylors Bay. Steady Hour proceeded to the scene and conducted further searches. At approx.6.40am, a 'contact' was obtained by another sister ship, HMAS Yarroma, on which Steady Hour proceeded to drop further depth charges. The submarine was later salvaged. Whilst credit for its destruction was initially given to Steady Hour, it is now accepted the submarine had been destroyed by the earlier attack of HMAS Seamist.[1]

For her role during the Battle of Sydney Harbour, Steady Hour was awarded the Battle Honour "Pacific 1942".[2][3]

It appears she spent a considerable period of time in Sydney following the Battle, before relocating to Port Kembla in November 1943.  In April 1944, she was refitted in Sydney, (458) and arrived in Darwin via Thursday Island and Melville Bay on 22 May 1944 in company with HMAS Seamist. On 26 February 1945, she departed Darwin with Seamist and Alma Doepel for Thursday Island and further south for refit. On 3 March 1945 whilst refueling at Melville Bay, 650km east of Darwin, Steady Hour was destroyed by fire whilst refueling.[1]

The commanding officer of Steady Hour, John Sykes was badly burnt, and together with the engineer and telegraphist, were taken to hospital. The subsequent Board of Inquiry recorded their appreciation of the action taken by Percy Allan, a sailor from Seamist who despite being unable to swim, dived into the shark infested waters to rescue Leading Seaman Piper.  Piper had been blown overboard from Steady Hour.  The NOIC of Darwin subsequently recommended to the Naval Board, that Allan be recognised by the Royal Humane Society for his actions.  It is unknown if he was so recognised.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Lolita and the Hollywood Fleet". Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  2. ^ "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.
  3. ^ "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.


  • Blunt, William; Lolita and the Hollywood Fleet, First Edition, May 2020. ISBN 978 0 6488420 0 2