HMAS Bowen

HMAS Bowen (J285/M285), named for the town of Bowen, Queensland, was a Bathurst class corvette of the Royal Australian Navy.

History
Australia
Namesake: Town of Bowen, Queensland
Builder: Walkers Limited
Laid down: 9 February 1942
Launched: 11 June 1942
Commissioned: 9 November 1942
Decommissioned: 17 January 1946
Honours and
awards:
Fate: Scrapped
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
Armament: 1 × 4 inch Mk XIX gun, 3 × Oerlikon 20 mm cannons, Machine guns, Depth charges chutes and throwers

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.[3][4] 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)[5] 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.[3][6] Construction of the prototype HMAS Kangaroo did not go ahead, but the plans were retained.[7] 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 Bowen) ordered by the RAN, 20 ordered by the British Admiralty but manned and commissioned as RAN vessels, and 4 for the Royal Indian Navy.[3][8][9][10][11]

Bowen was laid down by Walkers Limited at Maryborough, Queensland on 9 February 1942, launched on 11 June 1942 by Mrs. Crittal and commissioned on 9 November 1942.[11]

Operational history

The corvette operated in the South West Pacific area during World War II, and earned the battle honours "Pacific 1942–45" and "New Guinea 1943–44" for her service.[1][2]

Fate

Bowen paid off on 17 January 1946 and was sold for scrap to the Hong Kong Rolling Mills on 18 May 1956.[11]

Citations

  1. "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.
  2. "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.
  3. Stevens, The Australian Corvettes, p. 1
  4. Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 103
  5. Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–4
  6. Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 103–5
  7. Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 104
  8. Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, pp. 105, 148
  9. Donohue, From Empire Defence to the Long Haul, p. 29
  10. Stevens et al., The Royal Australian Navy, p. 108
  11. "HMAS Bowen". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.

References

Books
  • 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 (05). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2011. Retrieved 13 August 2010.



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