Australia Service Medal 1939-45 : Able Seaman N J D Rigney, RAN

Accession Number REL39284.004
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

Australia Service Medal 1939-45, impressed around the edge with recipient's details.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of Noel David John Rigney, who was born on 25 December 1910 in Lismore, NSW. Rigney initially enlisted into the RAN in 1929, but was discharged later that year after the effect of the Great Depression forced the Navy to dismiss personnel. He re-enlisted into the Navy on 15 September 1942. He reported for basic training at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria the next day. After his initial training, Rigney was posted to HMAS Maitland in Newcastle. The posting lasted from 9 October 1942 until 30 September 1943 with another short posting to HMAS Cerberus in between. His next posting was to the Anti-Submarine training school, HMAS Rushcutter in Sydney. On 15 May Rigney joined the crew of the newly commissioned Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML) 1340. In late September the HDML 1340 and its sister ship HDML 1352 were tasked to join the allied forces operating in Burma. Their journey was to be via Melbourne and Fremantle. The two HDMLs left Sydney harbour on 1 October and immediately encountered rough weather. By the time the two craft reached Eden, NSW, they were sailing in a gale. Having been battered by the heavy seas, the two HDMLs put into Eden harbour, tying up at the trawler fleet wharf. The following morning, the trawler crew were confronted by two battered vessels tied up at their mooring. After some convincing, due to the haggard appearance of the sailors and their vessels, the trawler crews assisted the crews of the HDMLs. The following morning, the RAN vessels set off for Melbourne, this time in more favourable weather. They arrived in Melbourne on 3 November. Rigney was sick during the vessels' time in port and was not involved in a cricket match involving a combined team from the 1340 and 1352 playing against an undefeated HMAS Platypus team. The result of the game saw the combined HDML crew inflicting the first defeat on the HMAS Platypus team. The HDMLs put to sea heading for Fremantle on 7 November. Once again, the vessels had to detour, this time to HMAS Torrens in Adelaide where a member of the crew was offloaded with severe appendicitis. The two vessels were underway again on 16 December, finally arriving at HMAS Leeuwin in Fremantle on 13 February 1945. The HDMLs were then formed into a squadron with Motor Launches 812, 815, 824 and 826. Rigney was hospitalised on 14 April with a severe illness. After an operation and a further period of time recovering, he returned to HDML 1340 on June 29. After the end of the Second World War, Rigney remained at the motor launch base at HMAS Leeuwin. He was hospitalised again in November, before being transferred back to HMAS Rushcutter on 15 December. Rigney was discharged from the RAN on 4 January 1946.