HMAS Huon (1915-1922)

HMAS Huon was the first warship to be wholly built in Australia, at Cockatoo Island dockyard, for the RAN. Following her commissioning in December 1915, Huon saw service in Australian waters before leaving for British North Borneo in June 1916. Huon was joined at Sandakan by Swan and Torrens, and the three patrolled East Indies waters (around present-day Malaysia and Philippines) before transfer to the Mediterranean in May 1917.

En route to the Mediterranean, Huon, Swan and Torrens were joined by their sister ships from the Australia Destroyer Flotilla, Yarra, Parramatta and Warrego. 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 and warships, sailing from Austrian ports, into the Mediterranean.

On 16 November 1917, Huon and the flotilla sailed to the assistance of the torpedoed Italian transport Orione. Huon rescued troops and crew from the water and ferried them to Brindisi. In April 1918 the Australian Destroyer Flotilla was incorporated into the 5th British Destroyer Flotilla. Huon was one of three destroyers fitted with an observation balloon, principally to search for signs of submerged submarines. While on patrol on 8 August 1918, Huon collided with HMAS Yarra. She was subsequently docked at Genoa for repairs, where her crew were struck down by the influenza epidemic, five dying. Huon returned to service in November, and joined the bulk of the 5th Flotilla then operating in the Black Sea.

With the rest of the Australian Destroyer Flotilla, Huon visited England in early 1919 before returning to Australia in March. Now obsolete, she was laid up until 1928 when she was paid off and dismantled. On 10 April 1931 she was sunk as a gunnery target off Port Jackson.

Glossary

Specifications

Class:   River Class destroyer
Launched:   19 December 1914
Commissioned:   14 December 1915
Complement:   66
Length:   250 feet [76.2m]
Beam:   24 feet 6 inches [7.45m]
Draught:   9 feet [2.74m]
Displacement:   700 tons
Speed:   26 knots 4 x depth-charge chutes (added in 1917)
2 x depth-charge throwers (added in 1918)
Armament:   1 x 4-inch gun
3 x 12-pounder guns
3 x 18-inch torpedo tubes
Armour:   not applicable

Ship photograph


HMAS Huon (1915-1922) EN0425

Pendant Number(s)

  • 50

Casualties

  • RAN: 6 dead

For more information please see the Roll of Honour, Wounded and Missing, First World War Nominal Roll and Embarkation Roll databases.

Decorations

  • 1 DSM
  • 1 MID

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

References

  • V. Cassells, The destroyers: their battles and their badges, (Sydney: Kangaroo Press, 2000).