Title: HMAS Yarra 1936 – 1942 – The Story of a Gallant Sloop

Author: Parry, A F

Condition: Very Good +

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1980

ISBN: 0909153078

Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 92 pages

Comments: The history of HMAS Yarra during World War 2. Limited Edition  of 1000.

HMAS Yarra (U77), named for the Yarra River, was a Grimsby class sloop of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) that served during World War II. Commissioned in 1936, Yarra remained in service until 4 March 1942, when she was sunk while defending a convoy from five Japanese warships.

Yarra was laid down by the Cockatoo Island Dockyard at Sydney, New South Wales on 24 May 1934, launched on 28 March 1935 by Mrs Parkhill, wife of Archdale Parkhill, Minister for Defence, and commissioned into the RAN on 21 January 1936.

On 12 April, Convoy BP7, left Karachi with Yarra escorting. On arrival in the Persian Gulf, the sloop joined the British force involved in the Anglo-Iraqi War.

Early on 4 March 1942, Yarra, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Robert William Rankin RAN, was escorting a convoy near Tjilatjap in the Indian Ocean. Yarra was attacked by the Japanese cruisers Atago, Takao, and Maya, which were accompanied by two destroyers of Japanese Destroyer Division 4: Arashi and Nowaki.

Commander Rankin ordered the convoy to scatter and ordered Yarra to turn and engage the enemy. The sloop was able to engage the Japanese ships for over an hour and a half, before she sank with the loss of 138 of the 172 aboard at the time (Yarra had rescued survivors from the Dutch ship Parigi the day before). Of the 34 survivors, 13 were rescued by Dutch submarine K-XI five days after the sinking, while 21 either died on the liferafts or were never seen again.

The sloop’s wartime service was later recognised with two battle honours: “Libya 1941” and “East Indies 1942”.