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  HMAS Pirie (J189) HMS Pirie (B249) TCG Amasra (A123)
Bathurst class corvette

733 Tons (standard)
1,025 Tons (full)
186' x 31' x 8.5'
1 x 12 pounder deck gun
3 x Oerlikons
(Replaced by a 40mm)
Machine Guns
Depth Charges

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AWM April 11, 1943

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AWM April 14, 1943
Ship History
Built by Broken Hill Propriety Shipyard at Whyalla. Laid down May 19, 1941 as Bathurst class corvette. Launched December 3, 1941 as HMAS Pirie (J189) named in honor of Port Pirie in South Australia. Commissioned October 10, 1942 into the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) under the command of command of LCDR Charles F. Mills RAN (Emergency).

Wartime History
Pirie completed trials off Australia then starting in December 1942 escorted convoys between Queensland, New South Wales and New Guinea.

On March 24, 1943 Japanese aircraft flew overhead attacking targets in the area, but was not targeted. The Pirie's location was listed as Oro Bay on the north coast of New Guinea, but there was no Japanese aerial activity at that location. Possibly, this occurred at Milne Bay or in the vicinity while the ship was bound for that location.

On April 11, 1943 Pirie was escorting HMS Hanyang as part of operation Lilliput and arrived in Oro Bay. Attacked by Japanese D3A Val dive bombers escorted by A6M Zeros during Operation I-Go. During the air raid, she sustained six near misses from 60kg bombs and one direct hit from a 60kg bomb that struck the bullet proof canopy over the bridge, penetrated it, glanced off the helmsman's apron and killed the gunner officer before striking the upper deck and exploding killing six and wounding four others from the 12 pounder deck gun. The ship was also strafed sustaining damage to the forward deck. Also damaged were HMS Hanyang and MV Noona (S-136).

In total, eight of her crew were killed and are officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA) including: Lt. John W. Ellershaw, Ordinary Seaman Frederick G. Delaney, Ordinary Seaman Douglas M. Gladman, Able Seaman John I. Keeling, Able Seaman Victor J. Cremer, Ordinary Seaman Arnold E. Catley, Able Seaman John G. Skully and Ordinary Seaman Victor G. Ross.

Damaged, the vessel entered nearby Harvey Bay where it was anchored for several days and repaired. Before returning to duty, her junior crew went on strike (mutiny) that resulted in the commander being replaced by the end of the year.

In 1944, continued to operate as a convoy escort, minesweeper. Attached to the British Pacific Fleet as a corvette and ocean escort. On August 2, 1945 departed Seeadler Harbor off Manus with HMS Carelia (B501) and HMS Ulysses (D24).

In September 1945, she was the third RAN ship to enter Japanese waters. On September 3, 1945 she was anchored in Tokyo Bay off HMS Speaker during the official surrender ceremony.

The crew members killed in the April 11, 1943 air raid are memorialized at the Plymouth Naval Memorial at Devon, United Kingdom. Ellershaw at panel 84, column 2. Ross on panel 84, column 1.

After the April 11, 1943 air raid, a bronze plaque was installed aboard Pirie that reads: "H.M.A.S. Pirie A very valiant and gallant ship In gratitude and with admiration from Frederic Fox Bartrop Chaplin - United States Army Oro Bay 11th April 1943 - This was their finest hour." The location of this plaque is unknown, possibly part of the Australian War Memorial collection, but not listed in their online catalog.

Pirie is recognized on a memorial plaque In memory of those who served HMA Ships [location unknown] dedicated by the RAN Corvette Associations of Australia in recognition of each of the 56 Australian built Second World War RAN corvettes.

In February 1946 to Sydney Harbor. On April 5, 1946 decommissioned from the RAN and immediately recommissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Pirie (B249).

On May 21, 1946 transfered to the Turkish Navy along with Launceston and Gawler. In Turkish service, renamed TCG Amasra (A123) until decommissioned on March 26, 1984 and scrapped afterwards.

Australian Navy - HMAS Pirie (I)
CWGC - John W. Ellershaw
CWGC - Frederick G. Delaney
CWGC - Douglas M. Gladman
CWGC - John I. Keeling
CWGC - Victor J. Cremer
CWGC - Arnold E. Catley
CWGC - John G. Skully
CWGC - Victor G. Ross
The British Pacific Fleet: The Royal Navy's Most Powerful Strike Force page 62, 275, 385, 388 and 406
Bathurst Class Corvettes of the Turkish Navy

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Last Updated
August 4, 2020


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