Pictures of PO William (Doug) Dyke in the engine room on Canberra?

January 11, 2009

G'day Mac

You may recall my enquiry some time ago about PO William (Doug) Dyke in the engine room on Canberra , who was killed that night.  Much info was sent and I sincerely appreciate it.

The wives of both William & Edmunds (2/20th singapore and died in Japan) were the sisters of my father and he hadn't seen them since they left for war (of course). Tom Edmunds was found in a photo taken in a jap prison camp and on the AWM !! (I have attached it for interest).

He was quite surprised and also was very interested in the story from I think it was yourself and one or two others. Himself a late recruit in NG who sailed briefly on HMAS Townsville.

I was wondering if there are any photos of the crew (unknown faces) or indeed Dyke himself.  I have tried the AWM on the net and looked with the older family at your site.

Any thoughts?
Paul Judd

PS My father was in radio /air gunner RAAF and you may find a touch of interest in their efforts. <>



No I am unable to suggest where you may find photos of William, but in my view it is unlikely they exist on the net.

Here is his RAN Certificate of Service from WW2.

Stoker Petty Officer

Service  Royal Australian Navy
Date of Birth  13 March 1912
Place of Birth  KADINA, SA
Date of Enlistment  5 September 1933
Locality on Enlistment  SA
Home Port/Port Division  SYDNEY, NSW
Date of Death  9 August 1942
Posting on Death  HMAS Canberra
Here is the story of HMAS Townsville.

    * HMAS Townsville (I)

HMAS Townsville (I)
Type  Australian Minesweeper (Bathurst Class)
Laid down  16 November 1940
Launched  13 May 1941 by Mrs McNeil, wife of the Third Naval Member
Builder  Evans Deakin & Co Ltd, Brisbane
Commissioned  19 December 1941
Displacement  650 tons
Length  186 feet56.693 m
5,669.28 cm
0.0567 km
0.0352 mi
2,232 in
Beam  31 feet9.449 m
944.88 cm
0.00945 km
0.00587 mi
372 in
Draught  8 feet 6 inches

    * 1 x 4-inch gun
    * 3 x Oerlikons
    * 1 x Bofors
    * Machine guns
    * Depth charge chutes and throwers

Main Machinery  

    * Triple expansion, 2 shafts

Horsepower  1,750
Speed  15 knots7.717 m/s
27.78 km/h
0.00772 km/s
1,519.029 ft/min
25.317 ft/s
Complement  85

HMAS Townsville (I) was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers (commonly known as corvettes) built during World War II in Australian shipyards as part of the Commonwealth Government's wartime shipbuilding programme. Twenty were built on Admiralty order but manned and commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy. Thirty-six (including Townsville (I)) were built for the Royal Australian Navy and four for the Royal Indian Navy.

Townsville (I) commissioned at Brisbane on 19 December 1941 under the command of Lieutenant Commander John Abbott RAN (Emergency).

Townsville (I) began her operational career in February 1942 escorting Darwin to Thursday Island convoys. She was in harbour when the first and most destructive of more than fifty air raids on Darwin took place on 19 February 1942. Operations under the Darwin command continued until 28 July 1942 when Townsville (I) proceeded for Sydney to take up escort duties on the east coast of Australia. It was an anxious period for those charged with the protection of coastal shipping. Six groups had already fallen victim to Japanese submarines operating in Australian waters.

On 13 August 1942 Townsville (I) assumed responsibility for her first east coast convoy, bound from Sydney for Melbourne. It was the first of many she was to shepherd through dangerous waters on a two year tour of duty on the Australian coast. It included the period of the maximum Japanese effort against the Allied supply line. Twelve ships were sunk off the Australian coast with the loss of more than 150 merchant seamen. Only one ship, the 4,800 ton IRON KNIGHT, was lost in a convoy under Townsville (I)'s protection.

On 31 May 1944 Townsville (I) departed Brisbane to begin a period of escort and patrol duties in New Guinea waters. Five months were spent in operations from Milne Bay to Morotai, including Madang, Hollandia, Langemak, Wakde, Noemfoor and Manus.

Returning to the mainland in November 1944, Townsville (I) carried out a series of minesweeping operations before returning to Milne Bay on the last day of the month. She remained in New Guinea waters operating on patrol in mainly the Morotai / Biak area until June 1945, when she proceeded to Melbourne for refitting. The refit was in progress when hostilities ended.

In the post war period Townsville (I) operated as a unit of the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla in the New Britain area and in Australian home waters. She paid off into Reserve at Fremantle on 5 August 1946. In more than four and a half years of seagoing service Townsville (I) steamed 155,450 miles. Townsville (I) was sold on 8 August 1956 to the Hong Kong Delta Shipping Co, Hong Kong, for breaking up.
Further Reading

   1. The Corvettes: Forgotten Ships of the Royal Australian Navy by Iris Nesdale - published by the Author, October, 1982.
   2. Corvettes - Little Ships for Big Men by Frank B. Walker - published by Kingfisher Press, NSW, 1996.


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