Russel Murray Johnstone, A/lg Sea

May 12, 2011 6:41 am 

Dear Mr Gregory,

I spoke to you last week about information and research on  my father, Russel Murray Johnstone.

After speaking to you last week I have looked at the website you mentioned and printed my fathers War Service certificate. I also looked at his Service record which I have a copy of from the Archives.

Dads service number was 1267.

I have also found the history of the Hobart and the Canberra on the navy website. I'd be interested in more information about the Koopa and the Bataan.

When I look at the service record I don't know what the letters in brackets after the Canberra  A/lg Sea (acting leading seaman) mean. They appear again for Basilisk. Do you know what they mean?

I find it difficult to fill the gaps between Basilisk 30/06/43 and Moreton 10/10/44. Are the recordings on the opposite column, the ships he was on out of the Basilisk? I know he had some time around New Guinea.

Thank you for the help you have given me so far...I think interpreting the service record is the key to my questions.

Rosemary Bates
Wonga Park


HMAS Basilisk was the first RAN shore establishment at Port Moresby PNG.

HMAS Koopa was a Depot Ship basically for Fairmile motor launches.

HMAS/HMS Koopa, training ship, tender and store carrier, RAN 1942-46, RN 1945 (two months) is today's RAN Ship Of The Day.

The 416 tons gr. Koopa was built by Ramage and Ferguson at Leith in Scotland in 1911 for the Brisbane Tug and Steamship Co Ltd, operating as a ferry between Brisbane, Redcliffe and Bribie Island. Requisitioned and commissioned into the RAN in September 1942 she served as a combined operations training ship and base tender in New Guinea for the Fairmiles and MLs in the forward areas.
Notes don't detail her self-defence armament, although pic 3 shows an AA forward and quite a few mounted machine guns.

Because of lack of bunkering coal, in July 1944 the heroic little tug of the Darwin air raid, HMAS Wato [Post #2], had to tow her into the forward area at Mios Wundi off Biak. No harm came to her, and on July 26, 1945 she was back in Brisbane when she was transferred to the Royal Navy for some unknown reason, but I'm guessing - purely guessing - that it would have been as a temporary accomodation vessel, or perhaps for some specific workshop/repair task. It was only for two months.

Her wartime job done and back briefly with the RAN, Koopa was returned to her owners in January 1946 and resumed her life as a pleasure steamer until 1953 when she was laid up and sold. The attached postcard (pic 5) suggests she had been a familiar and popular sight on the Brisbane River and around Moreton Bay. The last word has her being dismantled at Myrtleton on the Brisbane River in 1961.

Description: Description: Description: HMAS Koopa cover - Click Image to Close

Here is a cover to mark the 60th anniversary 10th. Of January 2007. of the ship paying off.

HMAS Bataan (I91)

Description: HMAS Bataan
HMAS Bataan

Career (Australia)

Description: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9c/Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg/70px-Naval_Ensign_of_the_United_Kingdom.svg.png


Battle of Bataan


Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company

Laid down:

18 February 1942


15 January 1944


25 May 1945


18 October 1954

Honours and

Battle honours:
Korea 1950–52


Sold for scrap

General characteristics

Class and type:

Tribal class destroyer


2,116 tons


377.5 feet (115.1 m) overall
355 feet (108 m) between perpediculars


36.5 feet (11.1 m)


3 x drum-type boilers, Parsons Impulse Reaction turbines, 44,000 shaft horsepower (33,000 kW), 2 propellers


36.5 knots (67.6 km/h; 42.0 mph) maximum
11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph) economical


14 officers, 247 sailors


6 x 4.7-inch Mark XII guns (3 twin turrets)
2 x 4-inch Mark XVI* guns (1 twin turret
6 x 40 mm Bofors
1 x quad-barrelled 2-pounder Mark VIII pom pom

1 x quadruple 21-inch torpedo tube set
2 x depth charge throwers

HMAS Bataan (D9/I91/D191) was a Tribal class destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Laid down in 1942 and commissioned in 1945, the destroyer was originally to be named Chingilli or Kurnai but was renamed prior to launch in honour of the US stand during the Battle of Bataan.

Although not completed in time to see combat service during World War II, Bataan was present in Tokyo Bay for the official Japanese surrender, and made four deployments to the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. In 1950, while en route for a fifth Occupation Force deployment, the Korean War started, and the destroyer was diverted to serve as a patrol ship and carrier escort until early 1951. A second Korean tour was made during 1952.

Bataan was paid off in 1954, and sold for scrap in 1958.


Design and construction

Main article: Tribal class destroyer (1936)

Bataan was one of three Tribal class destroyers ordered for the RAN.[1] These ships were designed with a displacement of 2,116 tons, had a length of 377.5 feet (115.1 m) overall and 355 feet (108 m) between perpediculars, and a beam of 36.5 feet (11.1 m).[2] Propulsion was provided by three drum-type boilers supplying Parsons Impulse Reaction turbines; these provided 44,000 shaft horsepower (33,000 kW) to the ship's two propeller shafts.[3] Maximum speed was 36.5 knots (67.6 km/h; 42.0 mph), with an economical speed of 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h; 13.2 mph).[2] The ship's company consisted on 261 personnel: 14 officers and 247 sailors.[2]

On completion, the destroyer's primary armament consisted of six 4.7-inch Mark VII guns in three twin turrets.[2] She was also armed with two [[QF 4 inch Mk XVI naval gun|4-inch Mark XVI* guns in a twin turret, six 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns, a quad-barrelled 2-pounder Mark VIII pom pom, a quadruple torpedo tube set for four 21-inch torpedoes, two depth charge throwers, and 46 depth charges.[2] In 1945, the number of torpedoes and depth charges carried was reduced.[4]

The destroyer was laid down by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Company Limited at Sydney in New South Wales on 18 February 1942.[2] She was launched on 15 January 1944 by Jean MacArthur, the wife of General Douglas MacArthur.[1] The ship was commissioned into the RAN on 25 May 1945, with construction work completing on 26 June.[2] The destroyer was originally to be named Chingilli, but this was changed to Kurnai (after the Kurnai or Gunai Aboriginies) before construction started.[1] The name was changed yet again prior to the ship's launch to Bataan; honouring ties between Australia and the United States by recognising the stand by US troops during the Battle of Bataan, and reciprocating the US decision to name a cruiser USS Canberra in honour of the Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra, lost at the Battle of Savo Island.[1]

Operational history

On entering service, Bataan sailed to Japan via the Phillipines; although arriving too late to participate in combat, she was present in Tokyo for the official Japanese surrender on 2 September 1945.[2][5] Bataan remained in Japanese waters until 18 November, serving as representative of the Australian military and helping coordinate the repatriation of prisoners-of-war.[2] Between late 1946 and late 1949, the destroyer spent 17 months over four tours of duty in Japanese waters with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.[2] The rest of these three years was spent operating in Australian waters.[2]

Description: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8e/HMAS_Bataan_%28AWM_300374%29.jpg/220px-HMAS_Bataan_%28AWM_300374%29.jpg

Description: http://bits.wikimedia.org/skins-1.17/common/images/magnify-clip.png

HMAS Bataan operating off Korea

In late June 1950, Bataan was en rout to Japan for a fifth tour when the Korean War started.[2] From early July 1950 until 29 May 1951, the destroyer operated off Korea; patrolling and blockading, escorting aircraft carriers, and bombarding shore targets.[2] A second Korean tour ocurred between 4 February and 31 August 1952, with Bataan fufilling most of the same duties as before.[2] Bataan was presented with the battle honour "Korea 1950–52" for her service.[6][7]

In November 1953, Bataan visited Singapore.[2] This was the only time since the Korean War, and the only time for the rest of her career, that the destroyer would leave Australian waters.[2]

Decommissioning and fate

Bataan paid off at Sydney on 18 October 1954,[2] and was laid up in reserve awaiting conversion to an anti-submarine escort.[citation needed] The conversion was cancelled in 1957, with Bataan placed on the disposal list,[citation needed] then sold for scrap to T. Carr and Company of Sydney in 1958.[2]


1.      ^ a b c d Cassells, The Destroyers, pp. 25-6

2.      ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Cassells, The Destroyers, p. 26

3.      ^ Cassells, The Destroyers, pgs. 18, 26

4.      ^ Cassells, The Destroyers, p. 238

5.      ^ "Allied Ships Present in Tokyo Bay During the Surrender Ceremony, 2 September 1945". Naval Historical Center – U.S. Navy. 27 May 2005. http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq69-2.htm. Retrieved 13 January 2007. "Taken from Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPAC/CINCPOA) A16-3/FF12 Serial 0395, 11 February 1946: Report of Surrender and Occupation of Japan"

6.      ^ "Navy Marks 109th Birthday With Historic Changes To Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. http://www.navy.gov.au/Navy_Marks_109th_Birthday_With_Historic_Changes_To_Battle_Honours. Retrieved 14 March 2010.

7.      ^ "Royal Australian Navy Ship/Unit Battle Honours". Royal Australian Navy. 1 March 2010. http://www.navy.gov.au/w/images/Units_entitlement_list.pdf. Retrieved 14 March 2010.


  • Cassells, Vic (2000). The Destroyers: their battles and their badges. East Roseville, NSW: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0731808932. OCLC 46829686.

External links

I will telephone you tomorrow to try and sort out together your Dad’s Se4rvice record.

Night for now,




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