HMAS Torrens

Place Lemnos
Commanding Officers
Decorations Nil
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
  • V. Cassells, The destroyers: their battles and their badges, (Sydney: Kangaroo Press, 2000).
Category Unit
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Unit hierarchy

HMAS Torrens was built at the Cockatoo Island shipyard in Sydney Harbour and commissioned into the RAN in July 1916. The next month, Torrens, accompanied by HMAS Swan, sailed for British North Borneo where they joined HMAS Huon at the port of Sandakan. The three destroyers patrolled East Indies waters (around present-day Malaysia and the Philippines) before being transferred to the Mediterranean in May 1917. They were joined by their sister ships from the Australia Destroyer Flotilla, Yarra, Parramatta and Warrego, en route.

After a short stay at Malta, the flotilla was based at Brindisi in Southern Italy to participate in the blockade of the Adriatic Sea, which was aimed at preventing the passage of enemy submarines, sailing from Austrian ports, into the Mediterranean. In April 1918 the Australian Destroyer Flotilla was incorporated into the 5th British Destroyer Flotilla. It was a busy month for Torrens. On the 10th, Torrens, with HMS Redpole, went to the aid of the Italian destroyer Benedetto Cairoli, which had been rammed and was sinking. In heavy weather, Torrens saved three Italian sailors but lost one of her own crew overboard and suffered damage. On 22/23 April she took part in an indecisive engagement against Austro-Hungarian vessels.

In mid-October Torrens, with most of the 5th Flotilla relocated to Mudros Harbour on the island Lemnos to conduct operations in Turkish waters. These operations eventually carried them through the Dardanelles and into the Sea of Marmora. By December, Torrens, in company with Yarra, was operating in the Black Sea.

With the rest of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla, Torrens visited England in early 1919 before returning to Australia in March. Now obsolete, she was placed in reserve and finally paid off in 1926. Her hulk was used as a gunnery target and was eventually sunk off Sydney by HMAS Canberra in November 1930.

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