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HMAS Quiberon G81 - F03

HMAS Quiberon Ship Crest

HMAS Quiberon (G81/ D20/ D281/ F03) was a Q-class destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy.

The ship was named after the Battle of Quiberon Bay, which occurred in 1759.

Although built for the Royal Navy and remaining British property until 1950, Quiberon was one of two Q-class destroyers commissioned into the RAN during World War II

Design and construction

Quiberon was one of eight Q-class destroyers constructed as a flotilla under the War Emergency Programme. These ships had a standard displacement of 1,705 tons, and a deep load displacement of 2,424 tons.

Quiberon was 361 feet 1.5 inches (110.071 m) long, with a beam of 35 feet 8 inches (10.87 m). Her propulsion was provided by two Admiralty 3-drum boilers connected to Parsons Impulse turbines, which generated 40,000 shaft horsepower (30,000 kW) for the propeller shafts.

Quiberon achieved a maximum speed of 32.7 knots (60.6 km/h; 37.6 mph) during full-power trials. At 32 knots (59 km/h; 37 mph), she had a range of only 1,150 nautical miles (2,130 km; 1,320 mi), but could travel 3,560 nautical miles (6,590 km; 4,100 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph). The ship's company consisted of 8 officers and 181 sailors.

The ship's main armament consisted of four QF 4.7 inch Mk IX guns in single turrets. This was supplemented by a quadruple 2-pounder pom-pomanti-tank guns , and six 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. Four depth-charge throwers were fitted, with a payload of 70 charges carried, and she had two quadruple 21-inch torpedo tube sets, allowing a maximum of eight torpedoes were carried.

Quiberon was laid down by J. Samuel White and Company at their shipyard in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, on 14 October 1940. She was launched on 31 January 1942 by the wife of Rear Admiral S. D. Tillard, Flag Officer in Charge, Southampton.

Image: HMAS Quiberon as a Destroyer at sea

Operational history World War II

Quiberon first served on North Atlantic convoy escort duty, operating out of Scapa Flow.

She was assigned to support the Allied landings in North Africa in October 1942; and on 28 November, Quiberon attacked and sank the Italian submarine Dessiè off the Tunisian coast.

On 28 November, Quiberon attacked and sank the Italian submarine Dessiè off the Tunisian coast.

After this, the destroyer was assigned to "Force Q", which was based at Bona a city in the north-eastern corner of Algeria, and which consisted of three cruisers and two other Q-class destroyers. ;

Around midnight on 1 December, this force located and attacked an Italian convoy of four merchant ships and escorting destroyers about 40 miles (64 km) to the north of Cape Bon. All four supply ships were sunk, and at 01:35 on 2 December Quiberon fired the final shot into the Italian torpedo boat Lupo which was part of the escort of another convoy.

While returning to port, HMS Quentin was torpedoed, and Quiberon rescued most of her personnel.

On 21 December, Quiberon rescued survivors from the passenger vessel Strathallen.

In January 1943, the destroyer escorted a convoy from England to Cape Town, then made for, Australia for refit, which was done in Victoria. After work was completed, Quiberon was assigned to the British Eastern Fleet, primarily as a convoy escort across the Indian Ocean.

In April 1944, the destroyer was part of the carrier escort screen during Operation Cockpit, then again in May for Operation Transom, which were air raids against Japanese forces occupying the Dutch East Indies.

After a brief refit in Melbourne, Quiberon resumed operations with the Eastern Fleet in August. In October, she took part in a series of fleet bombardments of the Japanese-held Nicobar Islands.

In mid December, Quiberon was reassigned to Australian waters as a convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol vessel. During early 1945, the destroyer was attached to the British Pacific Fleet. Operating from Manus Island, Quiberon took part in operations in support of the American seizure of Okinawa and attacks on the Japanese home islands.

At the end of World War II, Quiberon was present at the Allied reoccupation of Singapore, and spent the period until February 1946 operating in the East Indies to help re-establish Dutch control, move troops, and repatriate prisoners-of-war.

She received eight battle honours for her wartime service: "Mediterranean 1942", "North Africa 1942–43", "Atlantic 1943", "Indian Ocean 1943–44", "East Indies 1944", "Pacific 1945", "Okinawa 1945", and "Japan 1945".

Between 1946 and 1948, Quiberon was deployed with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force on three occasions.

Frigate conversion F03

In early 1950, the decision was made to convert all five Q-class destroyers in RAN service (three more had been acquired after World War II) to anti-submarine warfare frigates, similar to the Type 15 frigate conversions performed on several War Emergency Programme destroyers of the RN.

HMAS Quiberon after its conversion to a Frigate F03

The conversions were part of an overall plan to improve the anti-submarine warfare capability of the RAN, although Quiberon and the other ships were only a 'stopgap' measure until purpose-built ASW frigates could be constructed.

A proposal was made by the Australian government to pay for the upgrade to the five on-loan vessels, at the predicted cost of AU₤400,000 each. Instead, the British Admiralty presented the ships to the RAN on 1 June as gifts.

Quiberon served in the Far East with the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve and as a unit of the Australian Fleet on the Australia Station as a frigate. She made a port visit to Burma in 1959; the last RAN vessel to do so until HMAS Childers in 2014.

Quiberon finally paid off to reserve on 26 June 1964. She was sold for scrap to the Fujita Salvage Company Limited of Osaka, Japan on 15 February 1972, and left Sydney under tow on 10 April 1972.

Quiberon's battered battle ensign is now proudly displayed at the Nepean Naval and Maritime Museum at 40 – 42 Bruce Neale Drive, Penrith, next door to Penrith Rowers Club. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays between 1 and 3 PM. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Members Who Served:

A member of the Nepean Blue Mountains Sub-Section who served on the Quiberon.

Colin (Irish) O'Flyn

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