Tom Smith RANR (S), Executive Officer on the HMAS Wollongong when the Japanese army took Singapore, 52 years at sea

March 17, 2011

Dear Mac

I found your site recently while surfing the Net. I  have a story that I could share with you. Indeed you may have come across him at some stage.


My father was Lt Tom Smith RANR (S). He was called up at the beginning of hostilities in 1939 and served on several ships as a deck officer.

He was the Executive Officer on the HMAS Wollongong when the Japanese army took Singapore. That ship was the last to get out before the Japanese took the town. He subsequently commanded the Wollongong when it was in the Mediteranian. He was later appointed as the xommander of the HMAS Bathurst. His return to civilian life in mid 1945 saw him serving in the Merchant Navy - ultimately he became a Torres Strait pilot and had the distiction of piloting 1000 ships through the Barrier Reef passage.  He passed away in 1991. In all he spent 52 at sea in various capacities.

Mike Smith

Hello Mike,

Thanks for your mail.

I did not know your Father, but then I spent WW2 at sea serving in all three 8 inch gunned heavy cruisers, Australia, Canberra, and Shropshire, plus a spell in the old 6 inch cruiser

52 years at sea must be some kind of record for your Dad.

Best wishes.

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