New Royal Australian Navy Patrol Boats Named

Monday, August 28, 2006
The Naming Ceremony for the eighth and ninth Armidale Class Patrol Boats to be launched was held at the Austal shipyard in Henderson, Western Australia. Fourteen patrol boats in total are to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy.

The 183.7 ft., all-aluminium monohull vessels were named Broome by Mrs Anne Zilko, daughter of ex crew member Bill Ritchie (subsequently a Commander in the RAN), and Bundaberg by Dr Jocelyn Pixley, daughter of Lieutenant Commander Neville D Pixley RANR, Commanding Officer, HMAS Bundaberg. The ceremony was attended by senior figures from the Royal Australian Navy, Department of Defence, Government and industry including The Hon. Christopher Ellison, as representative for the Minister of Defence, Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston and Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Shalders.

Speaking at the ceremony, Austal’s Executive Chairman, John Rothwell, marked the significance of the occasion and commented on the recent Royal Australian Navy contract announcement:

“Testament to the role and versatility of the patrol boats, Austal’s original contract to build 12 Armidale Class Patrol Boats was recently boosted by an order for an additional two boats.”

The first HMAS Broome was commissioned in Brisbane in 1942. She commenced her career engaged on anti-submarine patrols and escort duties in the North Queensland area, following where she transferred to the north coast of New Guinea were she performed similar work in the Port Moresby and Milne Bay areas. During January 1945 she returned to Australia for refit, followed by further service in New Guinea, after which she proceeded to Darwin where she joined the Royal Australian Navy Survey Group. The original HMAS Bundaberg was named after the Queensland Coral Coastal Town. At the completion of her trials in October 1942 HMAS Bundaberg was assigned to operational duty as a convoy escort vessel on the east coast of Australia between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

From April to August 1944 she bombarded Japanese positions on Alim Island, took part in landings on Sek Island and gave general support to the campaign which ended with the capture of the Admiralties and the establishment of an Allied base at Manus Island in the Bismarck Archipelago. Between the latter part of 1944 and mid 1945 Bundaberg spent her time on patrol and escort duties in New Guinea. In September 1945 she travelled to Borneo and took part in the recovery of Allied prisoners of war and was also present at Kuching for the official surrender of the Japanese forces.

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