May 1, 2012
My father was a stoker on HMAS Platypus. He called her PLATS
He was in Darwin during the first raid, not on board, but in a row boat in the harbour.
He helped pull bodies from the water, he didnt talk about it much. Only little bits here and there he was in the RANVR DJ Kelly
Regards Mike Kelly ............
PS I have a few snaps he took , most of his photos , he threw out .
Your Dad's Service Certificate.
World War Two Service title
Royal Australian Navy Service badge
DESMOND JOHN KELLY
Service Royal Australian Navy
Date of Birth 11 March 1922
Place of Birth NEERIM SOUTH, VIC
Date of Enlistment 21 October 1940
Home Port/Port Division WILLIAMSTOWN, VIC
Next of Kin KATHLEEN
Date of Discharge 26 April 1946
Posting at Discharge HMAS Lonsdale
Department of Veterans' Affairs logo
Please mail me some photos of your Dad and we will add them to AHOY.
thank you mac.
yes thats him . I live here with my mother Kathleen .
These are the only photos left of Darwin there were some pics of bomb damage but they are gone can you ID the ship in the bakground of the PLATS cutter.
Is it the ZEALNDER ?
He was one of 4 brothers who joined up, one was a POW. brother Ernest was in the navy too, born Neerim South, where I now live .
I think it is Zealandia and she was sunk in the Japanese air raids.
See this report:
SINKING OF THE SHIP " ZEALANDIA"
IN DARWIN HARBOUR ON 19 FEBRUARY 1942
DURING A JAPANESE AIR ATTACK ON DARWIN
The 6,600 tons multi-decked single-funnelled ship "
Zealandia" was attacked by Japanese aircraft as it laid at
anchor in Darwin Harbour in the Northern Territory on 19
February 1942. This was the first major air raid on Darwin
. It was followed by another air raid later that same day.
" Zealandia" had taken the 2/40th Battalion to Timor in
November 1941 and then returned to Darwin to head south
with evacuees. In Sydney she was loaded with material to
protect her oil tanks. An Anti-tank Company and their guns
and ammunition were loaded for the return journey to
Darwin. She left Sydney on 23 January 1942 and arrived in
Darwin on 6 February 1942.
On th morning of the Japanese attack she was partially
unloaded and the crew had just finished a boat drill when
the Japanese attack began. Captain Kerr called for
volunteers to man the ships' boats to pick up survivors
from other damaged ships.
A number of Japanese bombs fell very close to " Zealandia
" on a number of occasions and finally a bomb fell through
the Number 3 hatch and exploded in the ship's hold. The
Japanese dive bombers then also attacked the " Zealandia "
hitting it with cannon and tracer fire. By this time the
ship was on fire from end to end. The ammunition in Number
1 hold then started to explode. The steam line that drove
the fire pumps was then disabled by another bomb. At this
stage Captain Kerr gave the order to abandon ship.
As the crew took to the boats, " Zealandia" slowly settled
on the bottom of the harbour leaving only the tops of her
masts clear of the water. Two crew members died from their
wounds after they had transferred to the Hospital Ship
Manunda. The remaining 142 crew members survived the
fierce attack by the Japanese. The two men who died were:-
James Masson (AB, Australian Merchant Navy) - died 21
February 1942, aged 61 years
Patrick Vincent O'Connell (Fireman, Australian Merchant
Navy) - died 23 February 1942, aged 27 years
The " Zealandia" was extensively salvaged in 1960. The
remains of " Zealandia" lay near the remains of the "
British Motorist" near Darwin's main wharves.
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