Robert Thomas Terry and was a gunner in the Canberra and then Shropshire

April 30, 2010


My name is Tracey Terry.My grandfather was Robert Thomas Terry and was a gunner in the Canberra and then Shropshire. If you know anything about him I would much appreciate it as I am so interested in his life and times aboard this great lady. I was only 4 when he passed and my dad who has altzheimers has told me a bit well I just crave more knowledge.

I hope you can help me as my dad has his medals and I would love to learn more about them.

Hope to hear from you,

Tracey Terry.


Nice to hear from you, am afraid I did not know your Grandfather in Canberra.

He is listed on those aboard the night we were sunk on August 9 1942 as Able Seaman Robert Terry Official number

But in Porthole, a book about Shropshire, in which the ship's complement is listed, I could not find his name.

If you go to my web site AHOY at ahoy.tk-jk.net and then to URL: "H.M.A.S. Canberra and the Battle of Savo Island" you can read my Monograph on the sinking of Canberra.

Then at URL: you can read the complete book "HMAS Shropshire by Stan Nichols", an Able Seaman who sailed in her.

Here is your Grandfather's Service Certificate for his WW2 Service

Able Seaman 
Service Royal Australian Navy 
Date of Birth 1 April 1900
Date of Enlistment 14 June 1925
Home Port/Port Division SYDNEY, NSW
Next of Kin ELSIE
Date of Discharge 23 November 1945
Posting at Discharge HMAS Rushcutter

Hope this helps.


May 17, 2010
Dear Mac,

I read with interest the recent note on your website from Tracey Terry about her grandfather.

You may like to let her know, if she does not already know, that the service card of her grandfather Robert
TERRY (No. 16955) may be viewed at the National Archives of Australia here:


You are certainly correct, he was not in Shropshire, but after Canberra he did serve in Arunta.

He was firstly in the R.N. where his rating was  M.T. on 1.4.18 and A.B. 8.11.20.

We will need your expert eye to decipher the card, but it seems to me that he was discharged from the R.N. on
15.12.25 and re-engaged in the R.A.N.

Confusingly, his first entry to the R.A.N. is also given as 14.6.25.

I think he was discharged on 31.3.30 and then reentered R.A.N. on 29.11.33.

Canberra:  31.1.35 to 9.8.42

Arunta 24.4.45  to ?

Tracey Terry says she has access to her Grandfather's medals. I would love to know if First World War medals
are included in the set, because he was awarded the British War and Victory medals on 4 April 1922.

On 29 November 1936 he was also awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

Upon entry to the R.A.N he was 5' 4" tall, dark brown hair, fresh complexion.

On 29.11.33 he is recorded as having seahorse (illegible) tattoo on his forearm. A true salt!

His character was always assessed as Very Good, and his ability almost always as superior.

Let's see what else you can find.

Best regards,
Bob Meade

See Bob's blog here:

Catch him on Twitter here:

May 18, 2010
Dear Bob,

Nice to hear from you, and thanks for that, I have tremporarily lost Tracey's address but I think my web
master may have it.

My shoulder surgery just before Christmas was not a success and the Orthopod is going to have a second go on
Friday June 18 at 6.45 AM, an early start as they do not want me in hospital the night before.

From what I could make out on Robert Terry's Service Card, he was grantede three Good conduct badges.

He was approved to be discharged from the RN to date 15/12/1925 to reengage in the RAN to complete portion of his RN engagement which expired on 31/3/1930.

It looks as  if he took passage to England in Ortanto to pick up HMAS Australia on her commissioning. He served in her from 24/4/1928 to 24/1/1930.

He then went to Penguin until his discharge on 31/3/1930.

Re- entered the RAN 29/11/1933 for 5 years, and was approved to re-engage to complete 22 years service to
expire 31/3/1940.

Interim Medical Survey report states he had chronic bronchitis but was approved to be discharged to duty in a
ship or shore establishment where a Medical officer was borne.

As you noted he served in Arunta.

Demobbed 22/11/1945.

I find it odd he did not progress beyond an Able Seaman during his total and considerable service, although he was always assessed as Superior on his annual assessment.

It seems to me that his talents were wasted.

Best wishes,

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