HMAS Parramatta (U44)

HMAS Parramatta (U44) was a Grimsby class sloop of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Built during the late 1930s, Parramatta operated in the Red Sea and Mediterranean during World War II. The sloop was torpedoed by the German submarine U-559 on 27 November 1941, and sank with 138 of the 162 aboard.

HMAS Parramatta
Namesake: The Parramatta River
Builder: Cockatoo Island Dockyard
Laid down: 9 November 1938
Launched: 10 June 1939
Commissioned: 8 April 1940
Honours and
Fate: Torpedoed and sunk on 27 November 1941 by U-559
General characteristics
Class and type: Grimsby class sloop
Displacement: 1,060 tons (standard), 1,515 tons (full load)
Length: 266 ft (81 m)
Beam: 36 ft (11 m)
Draught: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Propulsion: Parsons, steam turbines, 2 shafts. 2,000 shp
Speed: 16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph)
Complement: 135


Parramatta was laid down on 9 November 1938 at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard at Sydney, New South Wales.[1] She was launched on 10 June 1939 and commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on 8 April 1940.[1]

Operational history

Parramatta was assigned to the Red Sea Force in July 1940, and arrived in Aden at the month's end.[2] The majority of the ship's duties were escorting convoys.[1] The sloop was later transferred to the Mediterranean Fleet.[3]

While in the Mediterranean, Parramatta was one of several warships used to supply and support the Allied forces besieged at Tobruk, nicknamed the Tobruk Ferry Service. While operating off Tobruk on 24 June 1941, Parramatta, the British sloop HMS Auckland, and the petrol carrier Pass of Balmaha were attacked by over 70 dive bombers.[3] The Australian warship shot down three aircraft during the engagement without receiving major damage, but Auckland was sunk.[3] Parramatta later helped recover the 164 survivors.[3]


Early in the morning of 27 November 1941, Parramatta was escorting transports resupplying the Allied garrison at Tobruk, when she was hit by a single torpedo from U-559 under the command of Hans Heidtmann.[1][4] The damage was so significant that the sloop's captain only had time to order 'abandon ship' before Parramatta rolled to starboard and sank at 32°20′N 24°35′E.[4][5] Only 24 aboard survived, with 138 killed.[4][5]

The sloop's wartime service was later recognised by the battle honour "Libya 1941".[6][7]


  1. "HMAS Parramatta (II)". Ship Histories. Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  2. Stevens, A Critical Vulnerability, p. 154
  3. Goldrick, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 118
  4. Goldrick, in Stevens, The Royal Australian Navy, p. 124
  5. Helgason, Guðmundur. "HMAS Parramatta (L 44 / U 44)". German U-boats of WWII -
  6. "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.
  7. "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.


Further reading

  • Gillett, Ross (1977). Warships of Australia. MacDougall, Anthony; Graham, Colin (illustrations). Adelaide, SA: Rigby. ISBN 0-7270-0472-7. OCLC 4466019.
  • McGuire, Paul; McGuire, Frances M. (1944). The Price of Admiralty. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford United Press. OCLC 3893770.

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