HMAS Martindale

Martindale spent time in Adelaide in Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP). The Navy took her over from NAP and she was commissioned HMAS Martindale in Adelaide. All 8 crew joined Martindale in Adelaide, where they took her to Sydney for her refit. The 3 month refit at Rushcutters Bay included copper sheathing, removing the mizzen mast, fitting twin .5” Brownings to after deck and a Vickers .303 water cooled on the forward deck. Fuel capacity was increased to 1,000 gallons, engine upgraded to 140 h.p.

HMAS Martindale departed Sydney on 15 July 1944 for service in New Guinea, Goodenough Island, Kureweena, and Oro Bay. The original crew were Reg Webb (Skipper), Keith Collison, Paddy Malone, Alistair Knox, George Sangster, Don Deany, Ross Gourlay and Norman Ellis.

HMAS Martindale

We only have one photo of the original crew. Taken at Milne Bay it shows them with the weed that fouled the prop. They probably picked it up in the China Strait near Milne Bay. It didn’t stop the boat completely, but did slow them down considerably. They had to go into dry dock to remove the weed.
Back L-R: skipper Reg Webb, George Sangster, Don Deany, Norm Ellis; Front L-R: Keith Collison, Ross Gourlay, Alistair Knox, Paddy Malone

HMAS Martindale

Fishing was a popular pastime. One day Norm Ellis caught about 50 fish that the crew though were barramundi. They fed the entire 43 Operational Base Unit of about 100 people. The fish were picked up in a truck and taken to the kitchen to cook. 43 Operational Base Unit flew aircraft between New Guinea and New Britain where they were doing rounds on the Japanese in New Britain.

By September 1944 Ross Gourlay had been transferred to hospital with malaria. Shortly after, Gordon Sprott joined Martindale’s crew.

HMAS Martindale

In October/November 1945 HMAS Martindale started her return journey to Sydney. The photo here shows Martindale and ML1358 coming to anchor off Flinders Island N.Qld. On 20 November 1945 HMAS Martindale sailed in to Sydney Harbour where she underwent a refit. She was decommissioned on 3 June 1946 then returned to Adelaide for further refit by R T Searles and Sons who restored her to her pre-war grandeur.

Thanks to Ross Gourlay, John Ellis, Norm’s son; Geoff Sprott, Gordon’s son; Colin Fraser’s History of Martindale and Australian War Memorial collection - Reports of Proceedings, HMA Ships and Establishments