Penglase, Ronald Clyde (Lieutenant Commander, b.1920 - d.2010)

Accession Number PR00449
Collection type Private Record
Record type Collection
Measurement Extent: 6 cm; Wallet/s: 3
Object type Map, Diary, Memoir
Maker Penglase, Ronald Clyde
Place made Australia, Borneo, Netherlands East Indies, New Guinea, Pacific Islands: Fiji, Pacific Islands: Micronesia, Philippines
Date made 1941-1946
Access Open
Related File This file can be copied or viewed via the Memorial’s Reading Room. AWM371 94/0806
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Collection relating to the Second World War service of PA1510 Lieutenant Commander Ronald Clyde Penglase, HMAS Westralia and HMAS Assault, Australia, Pacific Ocean and Timor Sea regions, 1941-1946.

Collection consists of 3 volumes of a transcribed diary kept by LCDR Penglase, combined with reproduced images, annotated maps, and newspaper clippings. The diaries largely discuss the voyages made by HMAS Westralia during the Second World War. Most entries contain exact co-ordinates of the ship on each given day. Other pieces of technical information also commonly featured are descriptions of weather and barometric pressure. Included in the entries are also broad descriptions of what the ship’s objective was on a given day, including any significant events. Volumes 1 and 3 of this collection are likely some of the most detailed accounts of daily movements of HMAS Westralia, giving precise details such as exact times of departure from areas, and regular (almost daily) latitude and longitude co-ordinates of the ship taken at noon.

Wallet 1:
Contains volume one of LCDR Penglase's diary, divided into two parts. Entries span the period 15 February 1941 to 7 August 1942, with a very brief introduction to Penglase’s naval service from 1938 to the time of his joining the HMAS Westralia, and the commencement of regular entries. The entries from this period discuss general operations largely in the Pacific and Timor Sea areas, with several entries as far west as Perth. These are generally escort operations. Significant events mentioned throughout this period include: the evacuation of the Ocean Islands and Nauru; an attempted mutiny on board the ship on Christmas Day 1941 where the perpetrators were arrested, courts martialled, and jailed; and the attack on Sydney Harbour by Japanese midget submarines, as HMAS Westralia was in Sydney Harbour at the time.

Wallet 2:
Contains volume two of LCDR Penglase's diary. Entries span the period 1 September 1943 to 29 May 1943. During this period, LCDR Penglase served on HMAS Assault, a training school established at Nelson Bay NSW, for which HMAS Westralia was the designated supply ship. Most entries relate to training exercises around the Nelson Bay and Sydney Harbour areas. Penglase instructs much of the training discussed in this volume. HMAS Ping Wo is frequently mentioned, and entries of note include several storming activities undertaken jointly with United States’ soldiers. Notable family-related events discussed are the meeting of Penglase’s future wife while in Sydney, and the death of his brother. This volume ends with Penglase’s appointment to Flotilla Officer of HMAS Westralia.

Wallet 3:
Contains volume three of LCDR Penglase's diary, divided into two parts. Entries span the period 31 May 1943 to 31 January 1946. During this period, LCDR Penglase is again serving on HMAS Westralia. This volume contains details about operations in New Guinea, Milne Bay, Bougainville, and Hollandia. Also included are details about Operation Dexterity and landings in the Philippines and Borneo, including the arrival of General MacArthur on Borneo surrounded by members of the press. Additionally, there are mentions of actions, including several kamikaze pilot attacks, one of which narrowly misses HMAS Westralia. Throughout there are mentions of many operations involving United States’ soldiers, including HMAS Westralia’s role in the movement of troops around the Pacific and Timor Sea regions. The volume concludes with Penglase’s return to Adelaide and gives brief details of HMAS Westralia’s battle honours, citations received by it’s crew, and brief details of Penglase’s immediate life following discharge.

History / Summary

Transcript copies of Penglase's 1941-1942 and 1943-1946 diaries written whilst he was serving on HMAS Westralia. The diary details the refitting and recommissioning of the ship, loading of landing craft, landing exercises, transporting and disembarking marines, being bombed by a Japanese aircraft, Northern Force landings, and landing operation on Tarakan.

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