HMAS Quality (G62/D18) was a Q-class destroyer built for the Royal Navy. Entering service in 1942, the destroyer served in several theatres of World War II.
Following the war's conclusion, the ship was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), commissioning as HMAS Quality (G62/D262) in late 1945.
Unlike her sister ships, which were refitted as anti-submarine frigates, Quality was not modified, decommissioned after only 59 days of service, and was sold for scrap in 1958.
Operational history: World War II
During World War II, the destroyer operated in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean.
On 25 July 1944 Quality took part in Operation Crimson which was the naval bombardment and aerial strikes on Japanese airfields in the Indonesian cities of Sabang, Lhoknga and Kutaraja. At 0515, Quality along with Destroyer's HMS Quilliam, HMS Quickmatch and Dutch Light Cruiser HNLMS Tromp entered the harbour at Sabang and subsequently shelled and torpedoed Japanese positions and ships along the coast and quay.
Quality was hit at 0711 by 3" Anti-Aircraft shell which exploded in the Rigging causing damage to the after-bridge, mast and HA Director. Quality suffered 8 casualties, one of which proved fatal, a British Movietone news cameraman who was filming on board at the time.
She was transferred to the British Pacific Fleet in 1945.
On 17 September 1945, Quality and HMAS Nepal were the first Commonwealth ships to go upriver and berth in Tokyo.
Quality transported a party of 300 Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel from the British warships King George V and Newfoundland for the re-opening of the British embassy.
Quality was awarded four battle honours for her wartime service: "North Africa 1942–43", "Sabang 1944", "Okinawa 1945", and "Japan 1945".
Transfer to RAN
On 8 October 1945, Quality became one of five Q class ships transferred to the RAN on loan. The transfer allowed the return of four N class destroyers to the RN. Quality was transferred on 8 October 1945, and commissioned into the RAN on 28 November.
Decommissioning and Fate
Quality paid off into reserve on 25 January 1946, 59 days after commissioning. The destroyer was to be converted into an anti-submarine frigate: to facilitate this, Quality and her four sister ships were gifted to the RAN in May 1950. Quality was designated as the last of the five ships to undergo the conversion. While waiting for conversion, the destroyer underwent refits in 1948 and 1950, and had to be docked for repairs to her hull in 1954
On 14 August 1956, one of the reserve fleet shipkeepers noticed that Quality was sitting lower in the water than normal. It was discovered that the hull had become corroded at the waterline, with the ship taking on water. Quality underwent an emergency dry docking that day at Garden Island, with the superstructure cut off to increase the ship's freeboard.
The deterioration of the ship while waiting for modernisation, combined with post-World War II reductions in RAN personnel numbers, the increases in both time and cost for the other four Q class conversions, and the need for the RAN to cut back spending in order to support the navy's new aircraft carriers, meant that the conversion of Quality was cancelled and the ship was marked for disposal.
Quality was sold for scrap to the Mitsubishi Company of Japan on 10 April 1958 for breaking up as scrap.
The ship's bell was donated to a school in Nowra, New South Wales.