Interview with former RAN sailor Thomas Arthur Bennett RAN

Accession Number F04893
Collection type Film
Measurement 41 min 45 sec
Object type Interview
Physical description Colour/Mini DV/sound (stereo)
Maker Bennett, Thomas Lyle
Date made 12 February 2000
Conflict Period 2000-2009
Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: External copyright


Farm life in southern Tasmania. Hearing that the war has broken out. The decision to enlist in the Navy. Coming from Tasmania to Victoria. Becoming ill. Training and discipline. His first ship HMAS Canberra. Convoy duty in the Indian Ocean. Looking for German Raiders. Captain H B "Fearless" Farncomb. The sinking of the Corburg and the Ketty Brovig. Escorting the 9th Division. "Man overboard" alarm in a storm. Shipboard life conditions, food, boredom and discipline. Being sent to the crow's nest as punishment during a storm. Battle alert when Canberra's Walrus float plane pilot thinks he sees the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst on the horizon. Going on leave in foreign ports. Friendships. Hearing that Canberra had been sunk shortly after being transferred. Lonsdale Naval Depot, being the cell keeper and guarding wayward sailors. The corvette HMAS Castlemaine, how he and his friends are part of the original crew. Comparisons with life aboard his previous ship the heavy criuser HMAS Canberra. Supporting Australian Commandos on Timor. The sinking of the HMAS Armidale. Being stationed in Darwin during the Japanese air raids. Description of bombing and destruction. Going ashore in Darwin. Convoy duty in the Torres Strait. Japanese attack on the SS Period where Castlemaine rescues survivors. Coming under attack by Japanese dive bombers and how Castlemaine takes evasive action. Captain P J "Spike" Sullivan Castlemaine's original skipper. Engines break down so awnings are rigged from the radio mast to act as sails. The ship sails into Darwin harbour. A brawl with US sailors in a bar. Madang Naval Base, living under canvas. Meeting his brother by chance at the base. The Farmile Motor Launches, being stationed in New Guinea and New Britain. Escort duty. Anti submarine patrols. His 21st birthday. Strafing runs against Japanese shore bases. HMAS Murchison, going to Japan a few short weeks after the war had ended. A moving and emotional description of a visit to Hiroshima.