HMAS Latrobe

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HMAS Latrobe
Career (Australia)
Namesake: Town of Latrobe, Tasmania
Builder: Mort's Dock and Engineering Company
Laid down: 27 January 1942
Launched: Floated 19 June 1942
Commissioned: 6 November 1942
Decommissioned: 13 March 1953
Reclassified: Training ship (1946)
Honours and
Battle honours:
New Guinea 1943-44
Pacific 1943-45[1]
Fate: Sold for scrap 18 May 1956
General characteristics
Class and type: Bathurst class corvette
Displacement: 650 tons (standard), 1,025 tons (full war load)
Length: 180 ft 10 in (55.12 m)
Beam: 31 ft 2 in (9.50 m)
Draught: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Propulsion: triple expansion engine, 2 shafts
Speed: 15.5 knots (28.7 km/h) at 2,000 hp
Complement: 85
Armament: 1 x 4-inch gun, 3 x Oerlikons

HMAS Latrobe (J234/M234), named for the town of Latrobe, Tasmania, was one of 60 Bathurst class corvettes constructed during World War II, and one of 36 initially manned and commissioned solely by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).[2]


Latrobe was laid down by Mort's Dock and Engineering Company at Balmain, New South Wales on 27 January 1942.[2] As the ship was built in a dock it was floated clear on 19 June 1942, with the ceremony officiated by the Reverend A. G. Rix.[citation needed] The ship was commissioned into the RAN on 6 November 1942.[2]

Latrobe’s dimensions differed from the Bathurst class design: she was shorter (180 ft 10 in (55.12 m) compared to 186 ft (57 m)) and had a slightly wider beam (31 ft 2 in (9.50 m) compared to 31 ft (9.4 m)).[2]

Operational history

After entering active service, Latrobe initially served as a convoy escort ship, first between Queensland and New Guinea, then between Darwin and Thursday Island.[2] On 12 February 1943, the corvette unsuccessfully attacked a Japanese submarine.[2] In July, a Darwin-bound convoy escorted by Latrobe was attacked twice by Japanese aircraft, and in December, a lone Japanese bomber attempted to attack the corvette.[2]

In June 1944, Latrobe was reassigned to New Guinea operations, and arrived on 17 June.[2] She spent seven omnths operating as a convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol ship, before sailing to Adelaide in January 1945 for a two-month refit.[2] Latrobe returned to New Guinea in late April, and served in numerous roles until the end of World War II, including escort, patrol, minesweeping, and shore bombardment.[2]

After the end of the war, Latrobe was involved in the evacuation of Allied prisoners-of-war, and the transportation of occupation forces.[2] She returned to Australia in December 1945, towing two small craft to Sydney before proceeding to Melbourne.[2] In early 1946, the corvette was attached to Flinders Naval Depot for use as a training ship until the end of 1952.[2]

Decommissioning and fate

Latrobe paid off on 13 March 1953.[2] She was placed in reserve on 17 September 1953, where she remained until she was sold for breaking up as scrap to the Hong Kong Rolling Mills on 18 May 1956.[2]


  1. Festberg, Alfred N. (1981). Heraldry in the Royal Australian Navy. Melbourne, VIC: Silverleaf Publishing. pp. 47–8. ISBN 0949746002. OCLC 9780949746009. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 "HMAS Latrobe". HMA Ship Histories. Sea Power Centre - Royal Australian Navy. Retrieved 27 December 2008.