Title: Katoomba Capers – A series of verse relating to happenings in HMAS Katoomba
Author: Fox, Jack R
Condition: Near Mint
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2002
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket (Spiral bound) – 113 pages
Comments: A brief History of HMAS Katoomba during World War 2 but mostly poetry written by sailors on HMAS Katoomba.
HMAS Katoomba (J204/M204), named for the tourist resort of Katoomba, New South Wales, was one of 60 Bathurst class corvettes constructed during World War 2, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy.
Katoomba entered active service with an assignment to Darwin, where she arrived on 19 December 1942. The next day, Katoomba, along with sister ships HMAS Deloraine and HMAS Lithgow, and the United States destroyer USS Edsall, was involved in the prosecution and successful sinking of Japanese submarine I-124, the first enemy submarine sunk in Australian waters. Katoomba was present during the Japanese bombing of Darwin on 19 February, but was not significantly damaged.
At the end of June, Katoomba was reassigned as a convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol ship in the waters of northern Queensland and New Guinea. On 14 August, Katoomba was sent to assist United States submarine USS S-39, which had run aground on a reef off Rossel Island. Attempts to refloat the submarine were unsuccessful, and on 16 August, the corvette left Rossel Island with S-39’s entire crew of 47 embarked. The submarine was gutted and left to break up naturally. On 28 November, Katoomba and sister ship Ballarat were attacked by a force of ten Japanese dive bombers. The corvettes escaped without serious damage. Katoomba was attacked again during January 1943, when a force of six Japanese aircraft attacked the corvette and the Dutch merchant ship Van Heutz. Katoomba escaped serious damage, but the merchantman was hit, with one man killed and three injured.
In February 1944, Katoomba ended her escort duties, and after a short period on patrol, was sent to Sydney for refitting. Upon her return to New Guinea waters in early May 1944, the corvette was assigned as an anti-submarine patrol ship.She remained in this role until the start of March 1945, although during this period she was occasionally used as an escort ship. The corvette returned to Australian waters, spent three months in Fremantle, then was assigned to Darwin, where she operated from until the end of World War Two.
After the war’s end, Katoomba was sent to the Japanese surrender at Timor, before assignment to mine-clearance duties throughout New Guinea waters. She returned to Sydney in October 1946, and was prepared for decommissioning, but was instead reactivated to help clear the coast of Queensland of mines