16th. Minesweeper Squadron, Royal Australian Navy, 2004 Yamba Reunion
Yamba, Northern NSW
On 17th. April 1966 about half the crew of the Curlew in Singapore flew to Australia to be replaced by new crew members. Of the other half, some drafted to other Australian Navy ships in the FESR and the remainder stayed for a second deployment. Until a reunion at Yamba on the NSW north coast in 2004 most had not seen each other since leaving the ship. This was the first reunion to ever be held for the Ton Class Minesweepers of the Royal Australian Navy and kindled an interest in catchimg up with all the ex Curlew crew members.
Port Huon, Tasmania
After the reunion at Yamba in 2004, some of the Curlew crew from 1965, decided to visit their old ship which was still afloat in Port Huon, Tasmania, in February 2005. All those visiting the 'old girl' slept on board for 3 days in our old bunks, cleaned up and used the galley and the sailors mess for meals and the odd ale or three! The stories were bigger and better every night!
In March 2006, a plaque to commerate the contributation that the Minesweepers made during the Indonesian Confrontation was unveiled at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It was to be placed in the West Court. Many shipmates had a few stories to tell over the odd ale and Curlew was well represented. The unveiling was a sombre event and the Prime Minister sent the gathering a message of appreciation, which in part offended some veterans as the war in which we fought was compared to a peace keeping mission. All the photos are of former Curlew crew from the 1965 deployment who attended the ceremony; even a Kiwi who was CO for 3 days in Labuan in 1966. After the ceremony an enterprising ex TO from Curlew presented the AWM with the battle flag; Captain, Inshore Flotilla, Singapore, taken from our headquarters ship HMS Manxman in Singapore.
On 1st July 2006 in Auckland, New Zealand, a plaque to the service of HMNZ Hickleton and HMNZ Stanton and their crews during the Indonesian Confrontation was unveiled together with the launching of a book "A Kiwi on our Funnel" by Gerry Wright. Gerry was CO of Curlew for 3 days in Labuan in 1966 and NO for the voyage from Labuan to HK. The 16th MCMS was represented by Allen T. Jones (ex Snipe) from Ipswich, who also took part in the ceremony. Allen has sadely since crossed the bar.