Tonight we welcomed Navy LEUT. Ron Read (Ret.) speaking on the Corvettes of the Royal Australian Navy.
Ron is a retired Navy Lieutenant having served the RAN since 1964 aboard HMAS Sydney, HMAS Melbourne (twice) and later in the destroyer Escort, HMAS Torrens. Now retired, Ron is a full-time History student & researcher, and key-note speaker.
He presented a story about some very remarkable navy ships called “Corvette’s”, which were ALL built in Australia and ALL served with distinction during WW2.
A “Corvette” was a small navy warship, they were 700 tons, capable of 16 knots and have a crew of 67 sailors and 5 officers . It is traditionally the smallest class of vessel considered to be a proper warship. The modern types of ships below a corvette are costal patrol craft, missile boat and fast attack craft. Corvette’s were capable of patrol work, shore bombardment, survey duties, sink submarines, mine-sweeping, and short range troop transport. The Royal Australian Navy designed and built 60 Bathurst-class Corvettes in record time and expense (within budget), that became vital to defending our country and supporting the war effort. These were officially described as Australian minesweepers, and were named after Australian towns.
The result was a ship as Australian as a kangaroo – designed by Australians who had never designed warships before, built by Australians who had never built ships before and manned by Australians, most of whom had never been to sea before.
Interestingly, General Motors in 1953 was inspired to name one of their new sports car model “Corvette” after these ships-small, fast, and highly manoeuvrable!
We were fortunate to learn about this amazing part of Australian history and Ron’s personal experience with Corvette’s in his career of the Royal Australian Navy. It was fascinating historical account of these marvellous vessels and their crew, in service to our country. It’s important we remember!