Defence Medal : Chief Shipwright T E H Flower, RAN

Accession Number REL37519.004
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medal
Physical description Cupronickel
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1946
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Defence Medal. Impressed around edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Born at Redfern, NSW in 1901, Thomas Eric Haynes Flower was a merchant seaman shipwright. He was mobilised for service in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR) on 1 September 1939, shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War. Flower was posted as a shipwright class 2 to the sloop HMAS Yarra II. After nearly a year on patrol and escort duties in Australian waters with the 20th Minesweeping flotilla, Yarra was sent to join the Royal Navy's Red Sea Force in August 1940. On 12 April 1941 she entered the Persian Gulf as part of a small number of ships sent to support successful landings by Indian troops in the Shatt el Arab, a river connecting the Persian Gulf to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The landings were designed to secure Allied oil supplies from both Iraq and Persia by defeating the pro German governments in the area. In November and December 1941 the Yarra joined the ships of the Tobruk Ferry Run in the Mediterranean and was subjected to attacks by German dive bombers. In January 1942 she was sent as an escort to the Singapore area as Japanese troops moved down the Malay Peninsula towards the city. Yarra, with a crew of just over 150, rescued 1800 troops from the transport Empress of Asia after it had been bombed and set on fire by the Japanese in the Sunda Strait. Flower left the Yarra at Batavia, where the rescued troops were also disembarked, and returned safely to Australia. The Yarra was sunk by the Japanese shortly afterwards, with the loss of most of her crew. Flower then served in Australian shore establishments until November 1944, when he was posted to the cruiser HMAS Hobart. The Hobart supported Australian troop landings at Tarakan, Wewak, Brunei and Balikpapan in the final stages of the war. Thomas Flower was discharged on 8 July 1946. He was awarded the RANR Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1944.