HMAS Quickmatch, (G92 & F04)
A brief history 1942 to 1972
The Destroyer (G92)
Quickmatch was one of eight Q Class destroyers built for the Royal Navy, and she was commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy at Cowes, Isle of Wight, as HMAS Quickmatch (G92) on 14th. September 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Rodney Rhoades DSC RAN. After trials the ship commenced convoy escort duty on 5th. October 1942. In November 1942 she proceeded to the South Atlantic Station for further convoy escort duty. En route on 1st. December she intercepted the Italian blockade runner Cortelazzo. Following four months convoy duty on the South Atlantic Station Quickmatch transferred to the Indian Ocean for similar duty, although she was detached to the South Atlantic Station during June, July and August 1943. At some point safety matches made by Federal featured Royal Australian Navy ships crests, hence the nick name for Quickmatch of "The Match". She was also known as "Quickie Maru" - read on.
In May 1944 Quickmatch was included in the main force of the British Eastern Fleet, based on Ceylon, which carried out a successful carrier borne air attack on the Japanese base at Sourabaya on 17th. May. This action was followed on 21st. June by a similar assault from the air on Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. During these operations Quickmatch was a unit of the 4th Destroyer Flotilla, Eastern Fleet. On 25th. July 1944 Quickmatch as part of an inshore force, entered Sabang Harbour, Sumatra, and carried out a close range bombardment of Japanese installations.
In October 1944 Quickmatch arrived in Australian waters for the first time. After visiting Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides she commenced her annual refit at Sydney (November to December 1944). Following the refit Quickmatch served mainly in Australian waters, with a visit to New Zealand, until March 1945. She then proceeded to the Far East as a unit of the British Pacific Fleet as one of the ships screening the Royal Navy carriers whose task it was to neutralise Japanese air fields in support of the United States invasion in Okinawa (Operation Iceberg). In July, again screening carriers of the British Pacific Fleet, she took part in further assaults on the Japanese home islands. When hostilities ceased on 15 August 1945, Quickmatch was en route to Manus after operating in support of attacks on the main Japanese island of Honshu. She had steamed some 224,000 miles on war service.
In the early post war years Quickmatch remained in seagoing service in Australian waters, interspersed with several tours of duty in Japanese and Korean waters (Hence the name "Quickie Maru"). In July 1948 she returned to Sydney following three months as the Australian Squadron representative in Japan and was placed in immobilised commission. She paid off on 15th. May 1950.
The Frigate (F04)
The Anti - Submarine Frigate
On 28th. March 1951 Quickmatch was towed from Sydney by the tug HMAS Reserve to Williamstown Naval Dockyard, Melbourne, where work commenced on her conversion to a modern fast anti-submarine frigate. The conversion was completed in 1955 and she recommissioned on 23rd. September 1955 under the command of Lieutenant Commander Duncan H. Stevens RAN, as a unit of the 1st Frigate Squadron. When completed by the conversion of three sister ships from destroyers to frigates, the Squadron comprised HMA Ships Quadrant (F01), Queenborough (F02), Quiberon (F03) and Quickmatch (F04).
The "Q" class were fitted with modern A/S 170 active and 177 passive sonar, the 170 being linked to two triple barreled anti submarine mortar Mk.10 mountings on the quarter deck(aft on main deck or 1 deck). The Mortar Mk.10 was called an "ahead throwing weapon" however was actually a 360° throwing weapon firing an elliptical pattern of 6 projectiles that were set to two different depths thus causing a layering effect round, above and below a submarine. The mountings could be fired as a complete pattern using 6 barrels, as a single mounting using 3 barrels or as a single barrel. Each projectile carried 200lbs. of Minol. Each mounting could be fully reloaded 5 times before all projectiles were exhausted.
The three barrelled mountings are the Mortar Mk10 mounts with magazines opposite. A twin 40/60 bofors mounted fwd. of the bridge on 02 deck and a twin 4inch gun turret was mounted aft on 01 deck below the gun director. Type 960, 975 and height seeking 277 radars were fitted. Much later Electronic Warfare Counter Measure domes were added to the aft mast.
Quickmatch completed five tours of duty in Far East waters, totalling almost two years of foreign service, as a unit of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve(BCFESR later renamed FESR), including several periods exercising with Commonwealth forces in the Indian Ocean (Joint Exercise Tactical or JET) and with the forces of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO).
I joined Quickmatch on 14th. October 1960 and 4 days later the ship sailed from Sydney for the BCFESR calling at Cairns, Darwin, Singapore, Hong Kong (a month in HK over Christmas), Bangkok (following SEATO exercise), Labuan, Trincomalee (after JET61), Penang, Singapore, Fremantle and Melbourne, arriving there on 10th. April 1961, to go into refit at Williamtown Naval Dockyard.
On the 4th. November 1960, we were joined by an RN Frigate, HMS St. Brides Bay (F600) a day out from Singapore in the South China Sea, and later we came upon a disabled motorised junk. The Engineering Officer went over to see if the engine could be fixed only to find the enterprising Indonesians had almost complete stripped it down trying to rectify the problem. The CO decided to tow the junk to Singapore. During the night we encountered storms and the junk sank. There were 46 people on board and all were rescued and locked down in the tiller flat which was a smelly space where spare mooring ropes and fenders were kept. We departed the area which was strewn with the junks cargo of rubber bales.
Easter Thursday, 1961 and Quickmatch was coming to berth at Garden Island when an exercise "Sublost" was signalled to all fleet units. We proceeded round into Ruscutters Bay where a one man recompression chamber was brought out in a work boat and taken on board. The ship set course for the open sea and was soon steaming at 30 knots down Sydney Harbour. The ships wash was to cause yachts and launches to break from their moorings and several to sink! "Sublost" became exercise "Subsmash" and a helicopter flying the coast from Nowra to Sydney found the RN submarines marker off Maroubra. One of the Darings was above her when we arrived. Two crew did a free assent in escape hoods and they were recovered by boat and brought over to Quickmatch to be placed in the recompression chamber, head to foot. We set off to return to Sydney at full speed and only slowed down when approaching the berth. More yachts were sunk!! After the ship berthed the two submariners were placed in a Navy ambulance and taken to hospital, where doctors continued the exercise. Leave was granted and I grabbed a cab to the airport, just making my flight to Melbourne for the weekend.
I remained in the ship following refit for exercises in Jervis Bay and a visit to Brisbane (3rd. - 6th. June) and then through a very rough cyclone to Port Alma (8th. - 10th. June, which from memory was the Queen's Birthday Weekend), where the Ship's Company was given the keys of Rockhampton during a ceremonial challenge and march into the town. I wonder if the Mayor of Rockhampton ever made that mistake again! Port Alma is some distance from Rockhampton (60 klms or about 30 miles) and the ship's company was bused in for the march, which was held on a Saturday. Afterwards we were left to our own devices (more likely vices) with a regular bus taking those who wanted to return, back to the ship. I along with lots of very drunk sailors was on the last couple of buses and when we arrived at the wharf there in all it's glory was a steam train! - consisting of a few wagons with a guard's van attached, gently puffing away with a full head of steam, but with no driver or fireman in sight - what an opportunity! One of the stokers reckoned he could drive it so everyone piled in and away we went! Surely stealing a steam train for a joy ride was only a bit of "high spirits" or was it too much spirits!! After Rockhampton there was a lot more "chooks" than prior to arrival!
|During SEATO exercise in the South China Sea, taken from RN aircraft carrier Hermes as Quickmatch approaches the marker for an underway astern fuelling. About 20 seamen are crouching behind the wave break on the forecastle.||In the Indian Ocean, a jackstay transfer alongside RFA Blackpool during exercise JET61 with all the deck crew holding on to prevent being washed overboard from the forecastle. It was so rough the distance line was dispensed with.||Begining the long tow to Japan for scrapping.|
|Type||Q Class Destroyer / Anti-submarine Frigate|
|Displacement||1,705 tons (as destroyer), 2,020 tons (as frigate)|
|Length||358 feet 9 inches|
|Beam||35 feet 9 inches|
|Draft||9 feet 6 inches|
|Builder||J. Samuel White & Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England|
|Laid Down||6th. February 1941|
|Launched||11th. April 1942, by Mrs Shearman|
|Machinery||Parsons geared turbines, 2 shafts|
|Horse Power||44,000hp. each shaft|
4 x 4.7-inch guns
4 x 2-pounder guns
2 x 40mm guns
8 x 21-inch torpedo tubes
2 x 4-inch guns (Twin mount)
2 x 40mm Bofors (Twin mount)
2 triple barrel A/S Mortar Mk. 10
|Sonar:||A/S 170 active, A/s 177 passive|