The information below was transcribed from a physical carbon copy of an account of the HMS Quality’s time at sea. The information does not appear to be an official Ship’s Log but more of an account of major events throughout World War 2 that HMS Quality was involved in. Numerous operations, locations, events and other ships are mentioned detailing the Quality’s service in the Royal Navy.
The diary was typed out manually however some of the original source material is faded so there may be the odd spelling mistake or incorrect word. The original documents have been photographed and are available in high resolution in .jpg files which can be viewed here.
Commissioning and Trials
His Majesty’s Destroyer “Quality” was laid down at Swan Hunters and Richardson shipyard at Wallsend on Tyne early in 1941, she was launched by Mrs Bryant on October 6th 1941, she was commissioned on August 24th 1942, on August 29th a dedication service was held by the bishop of Newcastle and on the following day a plaque was presented to the ship by the chairman of the Harrow Urban District Council to commemorate her adoption by the people of Harrow during the warship week held in the previous March.
The first week or so was spent in storing and ammunitioning and carrying out acceptance trials of the mouth of the Tyne. On September 7th we sailed from Wallsend and staying overnight at Methil on the Firth of the Forth, we arrived at Scapa Flow on the afternoon of the 8th, this was to be a dreary home for the next few weeks while we were working up extensive exercise work carried out daily. How we grew to love those ASDIC exercises; torpedo firing and shoots would they never come to an end? During this period, we are initiated to the joys of being an emergency Destroyer which was to be the bane of our life on so many future occasions. On September 25th we left Scapa to rendezvous with the aircraft carrier Argus off the Tyne and escort her around to the Clyde. But we were not to remain in Civilisation long and on the following day, September 30th we returned to Scapa in company with the escort carrier HMS Biter and the Destroyer Farndale. The next fortnight was spent in further extensive exercises. On October 12th we left Scapa and as we steamed past the Destroyer depot ship “Tyne” the song “We’ll Meet Again” blared from a loud hailers, oh how many of us realise then how true those words were going to be.
We arrived in Greenock the following day and after de-ammunitioning we proceeded up the Clyde to Elderslie dock for a boiler clean and repair of minor defects. 5 days leave was granted to each of the man on Watch, on the 28th a party of Wrens visited the ship, the following day we proceeded down the river to Helensburgh for de-gaussing compass trials and D/RF calibration. This was to be our last day in the UK for many months.
North African Landings
On October 30th Quality sailed from the Clyde in company with the aircraft carriers Victorious and Formidable and the Destroyers Porcupine, Partridge, Pathfinder, and Quentin. On the following day we rendezvous with Force H composed of the battleships, Duke of York, Nelson and Renown as well as the Cruiser Argonaut and the Destroyers Milne, Marne, Martin, Meteor, Eskimo, Tartar, Ashanti and Quiberon. Force H arrived in Gibraltar on the 5th of November and having shield left the same evening with the addition of the Rodney, Sirius, Panther, Penn, and Lookout to its numbers.
This was the commencement of the North African landings…
As the fleet steamed eastwards through the Mediterranean the air was tense with excitement and expectancy so few of us would admit it there were many who said their prayers that night for the first time for ages. On the seventh the fleet raised steam for full speed and went into the first degree of readiness against air attack.
Force H was now covering the hundreds of transports that would carry out the initial landings, four carriers flew off air Patrol’s throughout the night and the fleet opened fire on approaching aircraft.
November 8th brought the first daylight air attacks and the very welcome news of several towns falling to our assault troops. The next couple of days were spent in the same area covering landings by the inshore squadrons.
The Italian Navy made no attempt to interfere with the landings though they were routine air attacks at dusk and Dawn. Our first real fight came during the middle watch of the 10th when one of the screening destroyers, HMS Martin blew up after being hit by torpedo. We will then realise the value of sleeping round the guns when it was necessary to close up at action so frequently. On the 11th we we had a daylight attack and our pom-poms claimed a hit on one of the Jerrys, later that day Quality parted to rendezvous with the DingleDale to refuel, it was just by the time we had completed and we were thankful for this difficult operation and she has been accomplished without any attention from the Enemy. We rejoined force H and on the following day we learnt that Oran had fallen to our troops, events moved in rapid succession, the Marnie was torpedoed and ran aground, convoys began to enter Mers-el-kebir and Algiers capitulated. Armistice was signed with the French. On November 15th for safe return to Gibraltar and Quality was browned off with an ASDIC Patrol outside the harbour. Eventually we entered the harbour and secured alongside the Duke of York. For many of us this was our first run ashore outside of the UK.
On November 18th we sailed from Gibraltar and picked up a convoy from Oran where we arrived on the 21st and secured alongside the Bermuda. After doing an all night ASDIC Patrol off Oran, Quality developed steering trouble and was forced to return to Gibraltar where we remained for the 24th of November until the 1st of December, also having a boiler clean. Our next trip was with a convoy to Oran where we met up with Force H again and proceeded on a sweep before returning to Gibraltar on the 6th. Remaining there only long enough to refuel we left for Algiers in company with Calpe and two Merchant ships. Algiers appeared to be a lovely place for a run ashore, but that attraction was not for the Quality boys yet. The night of the 9th was pretty rough, Argonaut broke adrift and damaged Quality’s side slightly. On the 10th we sailed from Algiers in company with Aurora, Argonaut and Eskimo. This was known as Force Q. We arrived in Bone the following day; we were now virtually up to the front line; Jerry made frequent air attacks and our first day there saw the sinking of the Blean.
For several nights the Force indulged in the “Club Run”; on the 14th, Argonaut was torpedoed and Quality was detailed to stand by her, we weren’t very happy steaming along at 5 knots but we eventually made Algiers safely on the 15th. Then followed a few days rest there, Sailing from Algiers on the 21st, the convoy was subjected to air attacks throughout the night, but we reached Bone the next day without mishap, at least to ourselves. During the 10 days we remained in Bone, Quality was E.M.D. four times – the worst spell we have ever had, especially as this included Christmas Day, when the gun crews were closed up most of the time. For many this was the first Xmas away from home and it certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry, not even a spud for dinner and certainly no roast turkey. Hardly a day or night passed without an air raid, and when Lightening arrived on the 31st to relieve us she was a very welcome sight.
New Year ’s Day 1943 saw us back in Algiers, but only for long enough to refuel before continuing our way to rendezvous with Force H off Oran. Our return to Algiers on January 3rd to refuel was the last time we were to see this fair city of vice, so we were fortunate to have had a run ashore here on the previous occasion before Xmas.
Force H arrived back at Gibraltar on the 5th; Quality proceeded alongside Renown for a boiler clean. On the 12th January, we sailed in company with Force H again. Arriving off Oran, Quality was detailed as E.M.D. and commenced ASDIC patrol on the “Race-track” – round and round in circles for hours on end. It was on this occasion that we went fishing; a couple of depth charges were dropped; the whalers were lowered; we all had visions of “big eats” at long last; but alas the catch was very poor. We were relieved on the race track the next day by Blyskawica and berthed alongside Formidable. For the next two weeks we were based on Mek and alternated between spells in harbour galloping round the race track and escorting convoys into Oran. On the 28th we sailed for Gibraltar in company with Quiberon who was to be our “Chummy Ship” for so long. We arrived and sailed again from Gib on the 30th to rendevouz with Wayland and a Southbound convoy.
We had now finished working with Force H. During the preceding three Months since the Invasion of North Africa the following ships had been sunk in operations in the Med… Partridge, Quentin, Martin, Heda, Avenger, Blean, Isaac Sweer, Marigold, Hartland and Walney. Serious damage had been incurred by Argonaut, Delhi, Manxman, Marne, Porcupine, Pathfinder, Panther, Ithuriel, Ajax, Pelorus, Broke and Bramham. Quality had been in company with many of these ships.
The beginning of February saw the four “Q’s” Quality, Quadrant, Quiberon and Quickmatch steaming in company for the first time, Southward bound to Freetown, where we arrived on the 6th. The convoy continued its way South on the 9th. Quiberon and Quality left the convoy for 24 hours to refuel at Pointe Noire. On the 22nd the convoy rounded the Cape of Good Hope and the following day we took our leave and entered Simonstown. This was a very welcome haven of rest, after so many days at sea, and months of hardship without a decent run ashore in a modern place. We spent three days in “Snookey” before rendezvous with Carthage. En route to Durban we picked up four survivors from a torpedoed merchant ship; they had been adrift on a raft since February the 17th and consequently were in a weak condition; one died and was buried at sea. We arrived at Durban on the 17th; it was a Sunday and the pubs were closed, so our first impressions of this “Matelot’s Paradise” were not very favourable. On the Monday the verdict was reversed. On the Tuesday we returned to Capetown with a convoy of troop ships, and then escorted Tayland back to Simonstown where we spent another couple of days.
Our next trip was from Cape Town to Durban in company with Racehorse, Relentless, Wayland and Chittrel. Spending two days in Durban, we left on the 22nd march to escort a convoy Northwards; four days out we parted company and returned to Durban to commence boiler cleaning. On the 29th Quail and Queensborough arrived in Durban – the first we had seen of them; the flotilla was now complete except for the loss of the Quentin. While boiler cleaning 48 hours leave was granted to each watch and in many cases hospitality was arranged for us in private homes. On April 9th we sailed in company with Erbus, Napier and Catterick. Two days later Quality and Catterick parted company and carried out exercises until meeting Devonshire who was escorting four troopers Southwards. We remained in Durban for one more day before continuing on round to Simonstown in company with a merchant ship. We remained in Snookey three or four days; this was to be our last run ashore in the fair land of Suid-Afrika for some months.
On April the 19th Quality sailed from Simonstown, and off Cape Town rendevouzed with Warspite, Devonshire, Quilliam, Quail, Queensborough, S.S. Stratheden and S.S. Brittanica. The force proceeded Northwards and arrived in Freetown on the 28th; Quality did the trip without fuelling , the other destroyers had oiled at sea – perhaps the S.O. knew us too well. En route from Freetown Quality did fuel from Warspite, or rather attempted to do so, for we hit Warspite’s bulges, veered and carried away the hoses. We were now on our way home to the U.K. so everyone was in fine fettle, in spite of the rough weather we encountered. We arrived in the Clyde on May 10th and berthed in Great Harbour Greenock. Four days leave was granted to each watch during the boiler cleaning period.
Back to the U.K.
On May 20th Quality sailed from Greenock in company with the 7th Destroyer Division for Scapa where we arrived the following day. The next three weeks were spent in the usual Scapa routine – exercises day after day, sometimes in company with another destroyer, sometimes with units of the fleet. At this time a U.S. task force including the Battleships South Dakota and Alabama were operating with the Home Fleet. We made one trip down the Firth of the Forth, escorting the Anson, but returned to Scapa immediately. We also took part in several submarine hunts around the Orkneys. On the night of the 9th of June we were screening the Valiant for various exercises; at about nine in the morning the trawler Khoora collided with Quality in thick weather. Quality was struck on the level of the Wardroom pantry, Port side, smashing cabins, workshops and opening two oil fuel tanks. The trawler was damaged in the stern. However we resumed station on the Valliant’s screen and proceeded towards Scapa where we berthed that evening. The next three days were spent making good temporary repairs before proceeding to Rosythe. Quality arrived in Rosythe on June 14th; the ship was taken in hand for refit and repairs, from the 15th of June to the 21st of July Quality remained in dock.
The Port watch was granted leave from the 16th of June to the 1st of July and the Starboard watch from the 1st of July to the 16th. For the next fortnight we carried out various trial on the Firth of the Forth; on one occasion party of Wrens came to sea with us – most of them were seasick. Our holiday in Rosythe was now at its end. On July 30th Quality slipped and proceeded to rendezvous with Roebuck and Ramillies. Two days later we arrived in the Clyde and anchored off Greenock. The next two nights ashore were to be our last in the UK for over two years, though little did we realise it at the time.
Return to South Africa and Kilindini
On August 3rd we sailed in company with Ramillies, Hunter, Stalker, Attacker, Battler, Plym, Brilliant, Inconstant, Teviot and Halford, two days out we ran into very rough weather and lost touch with the other units, a signal was received to heave to until the weather moderated. Hunter was damaged and had to return to the Clyde. As we proceeded Southwards the weather improved and the carriers flew off A/S patrols. On the 9th Ramillies, Brilliant, Inconstant and Quality parted company with the rest of the unit and proceeded into Casablanca to refuel. Here we remained for 48 hours; three American destroyers tied up alongside Quality, they had returned from the Sicilian landings which we had missed by being in dock at Rosythe. In spite of the shortage of beer ashore, the visit ended up with a grand scrap between the British and American Sailors. On the 11th we were joined by Roebuck and the Force sailed for Freetown, arriving there on the 17th. Here we remained for a week and sports parties were landed on several occasions though it was trying playing games in that climate. On the 25th we sailed from Freetown in company with Ramillies, Roebuck, Teviot, Halford, Plym and the A.M.C. Celicia. Carrying out exercises en route, we called at Walvis bay on the 3rd September to fuel, and arrived off Capetown on the 6th. Quality proceeded round to Simonstown to repair damage caused to the after torpedo tubes when one of the compressed air containers blew up a few days previously. Here we remained for four days and once again revelled in the joys of shore leave in Capetown and district. Sailing on the 10th we arrived at Durban the following day, having steamed at 26 knots. Here we remained for 10 days carrying out boiler cleaning, while the ship’s company enjoyed a few days “GENS”. Nearly a year was to pass before we again saw Durban.
In company with Quiberon who was to be our sparring partner for many months to come we left Durban on September 22nd for Kilindini where we arrived on the 25th, Kilindini was still the base of the Eastern Fleet at that time though the only ships present were Kenya, Newcastle, Suffolk, Ramillies, Adamant, Napier and Nepal. Two days later Adamant sailed for Ceylon; we escorted her for two days of her journey and then returned to Kilindini where we remained for the next fortnight engaged in short convoy duties, torpedo firings, shoots and night encounter exercises.
India and the Far East
On September 12th we sailed in company with Quiberon and Rotherham with Captain D11. Our Destination was Aden; we carried out intensive exercises each day while on passage. We only remained in Aden overnight before sailing on the 17th with the other two destroyers and the escort carrier, battler. The following day we arrived off Mukalla where Battler anchored for a short time before resuming the voyage to Bombay. Battler flew off air patrols throughout the day. We arrived at Bombay on the 25th, this was our first taste of the “Mystic East” of which we were to experience so much in the next couple of years. For three weeks we remained in Bombay, sometimes doing bombardment practices with the Army, sometimes accompanying Battler, on flying operations and sometimes just doing nothing. On November the 17th we sailed in company with Quiberon and Kenya for the Seychelles where we arrived on the 21st. We sailed on the same day to take part in a submarine hunt. Our next port of call was Kilindini where we arrived on the 24th to commence boiler cleaning alongside the Hang Kiang. We completed boiler cleaning on the 1st of December and sailed the same day to carry out night torpedo attacks with Ramillies, Frobisher, Napier, Nizen, Roebuck and Quiberon. The following day we parted company with Quiberon and Roebuck to proceed to Diego Suarez arriving there on the 3rd. Some of us had run ashore in this French colonial possession, but canteen facilities were very poor and the local hooch was rather potent as some of the ship’s company discovered to their cost. We left again the following day to rendezvous with a convoy which we escorted to Aden arriving there on the 11th. Again, our stay was only of one day’s duration. We departed in company with Quiberon to escort another convoy Southwards. A few days our Quality, Quiberon and Resource parted company and proceeded to Ceylon; our destination was Trincomalee with which we were soon to become very familiar. It was pouring with rain when we arrived and we spent some time racing up and down looking for the entrance, Trincomalee was only in its birth as a fleet base – the Scapa of the Southern hemisphere as it could later be described. The only other ships in the harbour when we arrived on the 22nd we the submarine depot ship, Adamant and a couple of merchant ships.
We left Trincomalee hastily the following day to search for a Jap submarine that was believed to be lurking in the vicinity. Our hopes of Christmas in harbour looked rather shaky, However the search was abandoned and we proceeded to madras arriving there on Xmas morning. The ship’s company celebrated Xmas day as well as circumstances would allow; leave was granted until midnight; quite a number of ratings we brought back on board by 4 o’clock in lorries; some found “Up-Homers” at Madam Mitchell’s; others were seen to be pushing “Wogs” about in their own rickshaws. In fact quite a good time was had by all and it was certainly an improvement on the previous Xmas in Bone. The Governor of Madras visited the ship on the 27th and on the following day we sailed in company with two landing craft for Colombo where we arrived on the 31st. C.in.C Eastern Fleet had now moved across from Kilindini and was flying his flag aboard the gunboat “West River”. This was the start of the new rejuvenated Eastern Fleet, still under the command of Admiral Sir James Somerville.
January 1st 1944 saw Quality en route for Aden with the two landing craft in company. We arrived there on the 9th and remained there for several days in company with the four “R’s”. On the 14th Quality sailed to escort S.S. Sythia to Bombay where we arrived on the 20th. There we remained until February the 10th under-going six monthly docking, repairs and boiler cleaning. Leave was given to Chembur Camp to those in the Ship’s company who wanted a nomadic holiday of this nature. On February the 10th we sailed in company with the Dutch liner “Ruys” whom we escorted Southward until we met the cruiser Sussex, to whom we transferred the responsibility. We set course for Trinco, but were diverted to Colombo where we arrived on the 17th. Leave was given until 2300 and we sailed the next day in company with Quickmatch and several merchant ship for Trincomalee. Many changes had come over the place since our first visit in December, the harbour was now full of ships, the new fleet had arrived together with all the necessary auxiliaries; Woolwich was the destroyer depot ship; Maidstone and Adamant were there to mother the growing submarine force. Vice-Admiral Power was flying his flag in the renown, with the first Battle Squadron composed of the Valiant, and Queen Elizabeth in company. Wrens were now stationed ashore even in a tropical dump of this sort. On February 2st we sailed in company with Quickmatch, Napier with Commodore D on board and three merchant vessels bound for Madras, where we arrived the following day. Leaving on the 23rd we carried out exercises en route to Trinco. On the same day two cases of smallpox developed on-board Quality and the ship was placed in quarantine for three weeks; as this entailed the stoppage of all leave the captain arranged for the ship’s company to have a bottle of beer per man on board. On the 28th we sailed with illustrious who we screened for flying exercises. On return to Trinco we learnt of the death of A.B. Blackburn from smallpox. On the 6th we carried out gunnery exercises and subsequently joined the main body of the fleet for further exercises which lasted until the 12th. The following day the ship was released from quarantine and celebrated by landing sports parties. The next days were spent on various exercises and on the 22nd we joined the fleet for oiling practices in the bay of Bengal, preparation for bigger things to come. On the 27th the fleet met a U.S. task Force composed of the aircraft carrier Saratoga and three destroyers who were escorted back to Trincomalee, where we arrived on the 31st. Quality berthed alongside the Woolwich for the first time.
Leaving Trincomalee at the beginning of April we rendezvoused with the U.S. Transport “Mariposa” in the vicinity of Addu Atoll and escorted her to Bombay. Here we spent several days of repairing minor defects, before returning South with the Mariposa, leaving her to the tender care of the Cumberland, as we returned to Addu Atoll where we rested in the tropical sunshine for a couple of days. It was during this stay that several football matches were played with the army teams in torrential rain and the ship’s concert party gave a performance ashore. On leaving company with the Quickmatch, we escorted another American trooper back to Bombay. This time the engine room staff did their own boiler cleaning and part of the ship’s company were given leave to Chinbur camp, This was to be the last time we were to visit Bombay and the enjoy the amenities of Breach Candy, Grant Road and the silk markets.
Our departure from Bombay on May 4th with our old sparring partners Quiberon and Quickmatch was the commencement of our first major operation with the Eastern Fleet. We sailed from Colombo with the illustrious, U.S.S. Saratoga, Napier, Quadrant and three U.S. Destroyers. The following day the force joined company with the rest of the fleet from Trincomalee, Renown, Valiant flying the flag of the C.in.C Sir James Somerville. Richelieu, Ceylon, Gambia, Tromp, Quilliam, Queensborough, Rotherham, Racehorse, Van Galen, Nepal – the most powerful felt yet assembled in the Indian Ocean and representing the navies of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, France and the U.S.A. incidentally this was the first occasion that the fourth flotilla had acted in company. Our objective was Soerabaya in Java. Intensive exercises were carried out daily. All ships we refuel from fleet oilers anchored in Exmouth Gulf, a very derelict district of North western Australia. At dawn on the 17th, a powerful force of British and American took off from the Illustrious and the Saratoga to attack dock installations and other targets at the Japanese naval base in Soerabaya. Considerable damage was done and only one of our aircraft was lost. No enemy air activity was directed towards the fleet which departed unmolested. On the following day the U.S. ships parted company to return to the Pacific. On the 19th the fleet again re-fuelled in Exmouth gulf. As we left in the afternoon, the Quality steamed round Quiberon lustily bidding her farewell before her departure for refit in Australia; we hastily took up our position in the line of destroyers, we cheerily played “Three Little Fishes” and “Blaydon races” to Rotherham who was directly astern. I wonder what D.11 said about “Big head”…
On our way back to Ceylon more intensive exercise were carried out. The fleet arrived back in Trincomalee on May 17th, having steamed 8063 miles in the course of the annals of Modern British naval history, for so large a force of ships.
Quality spent the next two months operating around Trincomalee. At the beginning of June we spent a couple of days in the small floating dock while repairs were carried out to the ASDIC dome and leaky plates. From June 10th to 13th a small force composed of the Illustrious, escort carrier Atheling, 3 cruisers and 6 destroyers including Quality tried to cause a division of Japanese effort by simulating an attack on Sabang. Endeavour was made to induce enemy aircraft to approach and sight the fleet, by breaking W/T silence; but the enemy was not to be caught so easily. A few days later we made a short trip around to Colombo to collect the Renown and the Valiant and escort them back to Trinco. On a number of days during June quality was engaged in Escort duties with a carrier Unicorn who is doing deck landing exercises. On June the 19th we were sailing in company with the main body of the fleet into the Bay of Bengal. On the 21st the Illustrious’ aircraft attacked Port Blair in the Adaman Islands. Again considerable damage was done with the loss of only one Barracuda and no opposition was encountered. On June 23rd quality proceeded alongside Woolwich for a boiler clean. Captain Onslow inspected the ship and was greatly impressed with a high standard of cleanliness. Part of a ship’s company spent several days on holiday at Niavelli camp, a few miles of the coast.
The early part of July was spent on intensive exercises of Trinco with various units of the fleet. Several bombardments were carried out in anticipation of things to come. Many opportunities we had of enjoying the amenities offered ashore in Trinco, football in blazing hot sunshine, one, sometimes two bottles of beer in the crowded fleet canteen, pictures on-board, or up in the Towers rustic cinemas, and bathing and jumping over the side. Shall we ever forget those days? In the course of time those memories will not seem so bad after all. On July 22nd quality left Trinco for Sabang undoubtedly the epic of our commission. In company with a battleships Queen Elizabeth, Valiant, Richelieu, Renown, the carriers a Illustrious and Victorious, the Cruisers Nigeria, Ceylon, Gambia, Kenya, Cumberland and Phoebe; And the Destroyers Quilliam, Quickmach, Rotherham, Roebuck, Raider, Rocket, Rapid, Relentless and Racehorse with the Dutch light Cruiser Tromp. In the early morning of the 25th to Fleet approached the northern coast of Sumatra. 0815 Quilliam, Tromp, Quickmatch and Quality parted company with the main body and proceeded towards Sabang. The tree covered Cliffs of the island loomed up in the dim morning light, as we rounded the headland the Starboard close range Weapons opened fire into the bushes bordering on the shore, Searching for Hidden gun pits the four ships under the command of Captain Onslow in Quilliam turned into Sabang Harbour and fire was opened up on the shore installations. 15 and 6 inch shells from the battleships and cruisers out at sea with whistling overhead and landing upon the wharves and the harbour installations. Fighters and bombers from the carriers were flying overhead. Clouds of smoke were rising from the buildings that have been hit. The four ships of the inshore force all fired torpedoes at a couple of small vessels and at the quays but observation of their effect was practically impossible. At this stage the enemy had the force under fire of his 3 inch and 2 pounder a weapons. Quality was hit at 0711 by 3” AA shell which exploded in the Rigging causing damage to the after-bridge, mast, and H/A director. 8 casualties were received, one of which proved fatal, the British Movietone news cameraman. At this stage of the operation the force altered course and headed out to sea, firing astern as it went. The operation has been highly successful and the casualties light considering the boldness with which the inshore attack has been pressed home. And number of decorations will later awarded in recognition of this. At dusk a small formation of enemy aircraft attempt to attack the fleet but withdrew after the loss of three of the number. We arrived back at Trinco on the 27th and for once we were quite pleased to see the place. Action damage repairs work carried out alongside the Resource. On the following day Admiral Somerville came aboard and congratulated the ship’s company on the part they have played in the operation to quote his own words “I’ve been on a few parties during this war and the last full, but I’ve not seen anything quite like that before.”
Return to South Africa
On July 30th we set out from Trinco in company with the Illustrious, Roebuck and Relentless for our eagerly awaited refit in South Africa. Fuelling at Addu Atoll, Diego Suarez where Paladin replaced Relentless as escort, and Durban, we arrived in Cape Town on August 11th but only for a short visit. A couple of days later we escorted Illustrious back to Durban where we spent five very pleasant days practically on holiday. On August 20th Quality and Roebuck left for Simonstown where we arrived on the 22nd to commence our refit. The 24th was the ship’s 2nd anniversary a party of about 100 WRENS and SWANS visited the ship and a pleasant time was had by all, the after seaman’s mess was cleared for the dancing and the refreshments were served in the P.O.’s mess. On the following Sunday an anniversary service was conducted on board by the chaplain from the Thames and attended by the ship’s company and a small number of WRENS from the Afrikander. During September, 14 days leave was had by each watch and in most cases hospitality was arranged by the S.A.W.A.S. and some were lucky enough to get as far afield as Johannesburg. About September 21st we said goodbye to our Jovial Captain, Lieutenant Commander Gilbert Farnfield who was returning to the U.K. He was given a rousing send off to the strains of the ship’s signature tune the “Blaydon Races”. Our new skipper was Lieutenant Commander the Viscount Jocelyn. By October 12th or if it was practically complete and the next few days were spent exercising in False Bay. On the 17th we left Simonstown to Cape Town and on the following day Quality and Roebuck sail from Cape Town to Durban with the Illustrious in company. As Table Mountain faded into the distance on that sunny morn some of us no doubt said au revoir Cape Town and wondered when we would be back again. But no more were we to enjoy the hospitality of South Africa. “Snookey”, the crowded trains on the railway winding it’s way picturesquely around False Bay, and Kalk Bay through Muisemburg, Wynberg, Rondabosch, Claremont, Salt River, and Woodstock to “Kaapstaad”, and district number six were to remain just happy memories.
Arriving in Durban on October 20th, we remained only long enough to refuel and then we set off back to dear old Trinco, On the way across the Indian Ocean we ran into a tropical cyclone which at one time threatened to disperse the units, However no serious damage was sustained by either the Illustrious, Roebuck, Rapid or Quality and after refuelling at Addu Atoll we arrived back in Trincomalee on November 1st. We had been away just three months, during which time little change had been made other than a super canteen complete with beer bar, restaurant, billiard room and cinema which had been erected on the site of the burnt out rustic pavilion – the first week we spent in a submarine hunt with three other destroyers off the North coast of Ceylon, but no results were obtained. A few days were spent in the usual exercises with the fleet off Trinco. Then about November 18th the proposal to form a British Pacific Fleet under the command of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser was announced, The Four Destroyer Flotilla was to form part of this new fleet; we quivered in our shoes, but not for long one we had sampled the advantage of Australian civilisation. From November 19th to the 27th Quality was alongside Woolwich for boiler cleaning, and during this period part of the ship’s company spent a few days leave at the rest camp at Diyatelawa up in the mountains of Ceylon where the climate altogether rather wet was very much cooler; the breath-taking bus ride up the steep tea covered slopes with numerous hair-pin bends will be remembered for many a long day. on November 30th Quilliam, Quality, Quiberon and Quadrant said goodbye to Trincomalee once and for all: As the Fourth Flotilla steamed out signals of Farewell and Good-Luck fluttered from the halyards. We arrived in Colombo the following day and had our first run ashore there for many months, on December the 2nd HMS Howe escorted by the “Q’s” sailed for Australia.
On December 11th we arrived in Freemantle, but only remained long enough to refuel and re-provision. The following day the BBC announced the arrival of the British Fleet in Australian waters, one battleship and four Destroyers. Half way across the Australian Bight, the destroyers left the Howe to continue her journey to Sydney unescorted while they put into Albany, a pleasant sleepy little town the received a rather rude awakening from the sudden influx of 800 thirsty sailors who drunk the town dry within a few hours. On leaving Albany we ran into some very rough weather during one afternoon and actually made good four miles, all boats received damage to upper deck fittings, We rendezvoused with the escort carriers Atheling Fencer, Striker and Battler, who were transporting aircraft to Australia. We reached Melbourne on December 22nd and docked in Williamstown at midnight, moving over to Port Melbourne on the Sunday morning, Christmas Eve. Our first sample of Australian hospitality augured well for the future; the Australians were obviously pleased to see the British navy at long last, having had to rely on the protection offered by the U.S. Navy for the previous three years; many of us had invitations out for Christmas Day which alas we were not able to enjoy, thanks to the activities of a Japanese submarine off the new South Wales coast. At 0400 om Christmas morning a general destroyer recall was issued and at 0500 Quilliam, Quality and Quadrant slipped and proceeded to sea, followed a few hours later by Quiberon. Sight recompense was the issue of a bottle of beer per man with Christmas Dinner, a present from the Australian Comforts Fund, with rather devastating results, as seen by the excellent zig-zag of the destroyers in line ahead that afternoon. On Boxing Day we rendezvoused with Quickmatch who had left Sydney with a scratch crew and rescued the survivors of a merchant ship that had been torpedoed. After a fruitless search for the submarine the flotilla entered Sydney harbour on the 27th and berthed off Garden Island.
True to form Quality was E.M.D. so we had ample opportunity to appreciate the harbour, the selling boats with their attractive crews and the crowded manly ferries, for the people of Sydney were revelling in their summer holidays. Signalman’s telescopes and Binoculars were in great demand that sunny afternoon. On the Sunday we moved up to Wolloomooloo alongside Quilliam and ahead of Howe, this was our first opportunity to show visitors around the ship and an excellent chance for “Jack” to find “Up-homers”. Between January 4th and 7th our holiday in Sydney was interrupted while Quilliam and Quality went round to Melbourne to escort Striker and fencer back to Sydney. The arrival of the Cruiser Swiftsure added to the size of the British Pacific Fleet but the Royal Naval Organisation in Sydney was still in its infancy.
On January the 15th Howe, Swiftsure, Quilliam, Quality and Quadrant sailed for Manus in the Admiralty islands, one of the main bases of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. When we arrived on the 19th the harbour was packed with ships of every size and type – a forest of masts in fact and certainly a masterpiece of organisation considering the locality was practically unexplored and uncharted before the war. After a few days liaison with the Americans, the force returned to Sydney where we arrived on January 29th, the same day as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester arrived to take up duties as Governor General. After a few days holiday at Kurruba Jetty we sailed for New Zealand on February 2nd, in company with Queensborough, Quadrant, HMNZS Achilles and Howe who was flying the flag of Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser, C-in-C.B.P.F. We arrived in Auckland on the morning of the 5th. The following day we moved over to Devonport Dockyard and went into dry-dock for a bottom scrape. On Saturday a party of about 100 ratings went on a conducted tour to Roterua, the district of hot springs and geysers. On Monday & Tuesday Howe, HMNZS Gambia, Queensborough and Quality carried out various gunnery exercises in Rangitoto bay and on the Wednesday we sailed for Sydney after an all too short but very pleasant visit. We arrived back in Sydney on February 17th and what a change had come over the place in our fortnight’s absence. The main body of the British Pacific Fleet had arrived; the harbour was full of ships – Battleships, Cruisers, Destroyers and auxilleries. There was no room for such a small fry as us in Ooloomooloo and we anchored alongside Queensborough in Port Cove to carry out our own boiler clean.
Task Force 57 and The Invasion of Okinawa
On the 27th February the Fleet sailed for the pacific having been preceded by the axillaries during the previous few days, The H’s formed Task Unit 57.1. under Captain D4. Also in company were King George V, Howe, Victorious, Illustrious, Indomitable, Indefatigable, Swiftsure, Gambia, Achilles, Argonaut, Black Prince, Uryalus, the 26th of U’s and the 27th D.F. of . We arrived in Lanus on March 7th; having rescued 3 pilots en route- the first of many. The number of American ships had greatly diminished since our previous visit. After carrying out exercises we left on the 15th and arrived at Ulithi in the Carolines on March 20th. This group of bush covered coral islands in the midst of the ocean was the advanced base of the U.S. Pacific Fleet – there were no shore facilities at all, but for miles and miles thousands of ships, big and small lay at anchor ready for the invasion of Okinawa.
On March 22nd the British Pacific Fleet, now known as Task force 57 and forming part of the U.S. Pacific fleet sailed from Ulithi north-westward for the Ryukyu’s, the chain of islands stretching between Japan and Formosa. On the 25th, the force rendezvoused with the British sailing group and as Quality had developed engine room trouble we were transferred to the Oiling force screen, while the fleet proceeded to carry out aircraft strikes against Sakashima islands. We had a quiet time back in the fuelling area and had out first taste of oiling at sea by buoyant hose method in rough seas, On the 28th the fleet returned to the fuelling area, having encountered no opposition. Quality now re-joined Task Force 57 on March 1st. A series of air strikes were flown off from the carriers against airfields on the Sakashima Islands. Everything was quiet over the Fleet. Air strikes were continued on the following day but at 0800 we had our first attack from Japanese aircraft; three were shot down; one made a suicidal crash landing on the Indefatigable flight deck and burst into flames causing some casualties but only slight damage. Ulster suffered bomb damage which caused flooding of her engine and boiler rooms; she had to be taken in tow by Gamble. This attack undoubtedly shook everyone into a state of alertness. Strikes were carried out the following afternoon before returning to the Oiling area. This operation had been Quality’s first experience of an American Cruising Disposition- the Cruisers and an outer screen of destroyers, giving complete freedom to manoeuvre during flying operations and air or submarine attacks. Air strikes were resumed on the 6th; in the evening enemy aircraft were over the Fleet, one just hit Illustrious’ Island with its wingtip and crashed into the sea causing neither damage nor casualties, another plane diving out of low clouds swept over Quality who opened fire with her Pom Pom, so indicating position of enemy aircraft to our fighters who soon shot it down in flames – the plane burned on the water for several minutes . Further airstrikes were carried out on the 7th and no air attacks were mad on the Fleet. The next three days were spent in the fuelling area. On the 12th and 13th our planes objectives were airfield and railways in Northern Formosa. Japanese aircraft made further unsuccessful attacks on the Fleet. On the 14th we oiled again and parted company with the Fleet, proceeded to Leyte and Samar and with Illustrious and Urania. The harbour formed by the islands off Leyte and Samar had been formed into a temporary advanced Fleet base by the arrival of ships of the Fleet Train. On arrival on the 16th Urania and Quality proceeded alongside the Tyne for a boiler cleaning. On the 22nd the Fleet arrived in harbour. A run ashore on Samar island provided few attractions and entailed an hour and a half’s boat trip each way. Soap cigarettes and old clothes could be bartered for grass skirts, straw hats and purses fashioned out of coloured beans. A couple of cans of Yankee beer were the sole refreshment in that humid climate. This week saw the amazing innovation of beer issued to the ratings, 6 bottles per man.
On May 1st we left Leyte for good in company with the fleet and having fueled at sea we recommenced the strikes against the Shakishima Islands on the 4th. On that day also the battleships and cruisers successfully bombarded airfields without opposition this entailed splitting the force and the fourth flotilla remains behind with the carriers. About noon and number of Japanese suicide planes attacked us, one landed full in the middle of Formidable’s side deck causing a fairly big fire, we were alarmed to say the least at the clouds of black smoke which rose from her, but everything was under control within an hour. Another plane diverted at Indomitable astern of whom quality was at the time stationed, our pom pom and Oerlikons registered hits on that plane as also did the Indomitable’s after Oerlikons, with the result that the plane was practically shot to pieces and only struck the carrier at a glancing blow, a couple of hours later The bombarding force rejoined. The Japanese attempted further attacks but there a craft did not succeed in breaking through our fighter patrols. Are plane’s bag for the day was 25. Airstrikes were resumed on the 5th, one Jap plane snooping over the fleet was shot down otherwise the day passed quietly. The next two days were spent in the fuelling area. May 8th was VE Day, we were in the operational area but the weather was too bad for airstrikes. On the evening of the 9th after a day of successful strikes against Miyako and Harrara airfields the fleet again was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Victorious and Formidable we’re both hit by suicide planes but the fires were quickly got under control and the carriers for operating aircraft the next day. Howe shot down one plane, has slid across her quarter deck this was the final and most sustained attack made by the Japanese kamikaze planes on the B.P.F. As a result of Defence Tactics were altered. A Destroyer was to be stationed two cables astern of each carrier to provide additional AA guns support. The “Q’s” now became known as “KK” or “Anti Kamikaze Destroyers”. Needless to say we had grave qualms over this honour, but amazing as it may seem the Japs attempted no further suicide attacks so we never had the chance of proving our valour. Further air strikes were carried out on May 12th and may 13th against runways, hangers, barracks and barges. During the next oiling Quality was busily employed on D.S.B. transferring stores and casualties to and from the Dutch hospital ship Tjitjalengka, better known as the H.S.3. Our captain proved so efficient at going alongside other ships that we were detailed off for D.S.B. duties very frequently from now on. Strikes were continued on the 16th and 17th we picked up the crew of 3 from an Avenger that crashed after taking off from Formidable. The duties of a sea rescue boat was also to be one of our responsibilities and specialities. After fuelling again on the 18th and 19th we returned to the operational area on the morning of the 20th. A heavy fog came down suddenly as the “Q’s” were taking up their appointed stations astern of the carriers and Quilliam collided with Indomitable, Her bows were stove in and she was taken in by Norman and Black Prince. A flotilla leader was out of the fray for good and she subsequently returned to the U.K. Later in the day we picked up yet another pilot from a fighter that failed to get sufficient lift as it took off from the Formidable. Again no Jap opposition was encountered. After fuelling on the 22nd and 23rd the final airstrikes of operation “Iceberg” were successfully carried out on the 24th and 25th. On the 26th K.G.V., Troubridge, Tenacious and Termagant parted company in the fuelling area and proceeded to Guam. Quality and the rest of the fleet set off for Manus.
Manus and Australia
On May 30th we arrived in Manus, fueled and left the following day in company with the carriers for a replenishment in Australia. We arrived back in Sydney on June 5th. After an absence of over 3 months, Quality berthed at Mort’s dock where we enjoyed a fortnight’s well earned rest. Each watch had four days leave, many of us were rather disillusioned about “sunny Australia”; The weather was very wet and quite cold. Nevertheless it was good to enjoy the amenities of a modern civilised City. On June 22nd we sailed in company with Quickmatch, Quadrant and Black Prince to carry out exercises in Jervis Bay, some 100 miles away, we were back in Sydney two days later and berthed at Kurrab’s Jetty once again.
The 4th flotilla was now reduced down to four boats, Queensborough was now attached to the escort Force as she was running on only one boiler the other having burst out. June 26th saw the departure of Quality, Quiberon, Quadrant and Quickmatch for Brisbane where we arrived on the following day. This was but a brief visit and we left on the 29th to rendezvous with the fleet en route for Manus where we arrived on July 4th. While at Manus, our Captain, Viscount Jocelyn received news of his promotion to Commander. He also cleared the lower deck on the evening of the 5th and quietly informed us that our next operation would be off Japan itself.
The fleet sailed from Manus on July the 6th, for the next 10 days with steamed Northward, fuelling or exercising daily. Stanley Maxted, the BBC commentator was on board Quality and gave us several interesting talks on his previous experiences on July 16th. We rendezvous with the American third fleet which was formed into three large task groups, each about the size of the B.P.F. Which was now known as task force 37. We will now operating under the command of Admiral Halsey, Commander of the US 3rd Fleet, who’s avowed ambition was to ride into Tokyo on The Emperor’s white horse. Dawn of the 17th saw the carriers of the combined fleet flying off their planes to attack the Japanese mainland just north of Tokyo, around Sendai.
Quality was now permanently stationed a stone off Formidable as an air sea rescue boat, and that morning we picked up one pilot unhurt. In the afternoon King George V, Quality and Quiberon parted company with Task Force 37 and joined up with an American Force comprised of 6 battleships, 2 cruisers and 11 destroyers. The objective was to bombard the Japanese mainland. It was a pitch black night, wet and foggy as the force approached within 18 miles of the coast, at 2315 the big guns opened up, the night was rent with deafening roars; the skies were torn with curtains of red and white Flame; The air was full of the smell of burnt cordite. Quality was the last in the line station astern of King George V, so we had a magnificent view of the whole firework display. The show finished at midnight and we returned unmolested to rejoin the main body of the fleet about 8 o’clock the next morning. Airstrikes were flown off throughout the day. In the evening the fleet withdrew owing to The Approach of a typhoon, the next four days we spent refuelling and re-provisioning the fleet from the ships of the fleet train. On July the 24th and 25th strikes were again carried out against Honshu. Quality picked up another two airmen and Terpsichore picked up two Japanese pilots who crashed in torpedo bombers when attempting to attack the fleet. The 24th saw the creation of an R.N. aviation record – 416 sorties flown off, 100 tons of bombs dropped. After fuelling again on the 26th and 27th, strikes were resumed on the 28th and on the 29th. The Battleships carried out another bombardment of the mainland.
King George V was escorted by 3 destroyers of the 25th flotilla this time. Strikes were continued on the 30th. Arriving back in the fuelling area on the 31st, we were busily engaged for the next few days in transferring mail and stores between various ships. On the 2nd of August Quality acted as D.S.B. Between task force 37 and 38, and transferred dispatchers to the U.S.S. Missouri, flagship of the Commander third Fleet, and to the aircraft carrier Bennington. Our force was now short of tankers so we refuelled from King George V on the 3rd. Receipt of a typhoon warning postponed further air strikes. Eventually airstrikes were resumed on the 9th, Japanese aircraft were in the vicinity of the fleet but did not attack. A Corsair attempting to land on the Formidable crashed into her stern, folded up and dropped into the sea – We searched for the pilot, but in vain. Airstrikes were continued on the 10th and we rescued another of Formidable’s pilots. News was also received of the Japanese acceptance of the United Nation’s surrender terms. It looked as if our job was nearly complete.
As we withdrew to the fuelling area on the 11th Quality and Quadrant escorted King George V to the Yankee fleet where she fuelled from a U.S. oiler while we took station on Task Force 38 screen. We also transferred vice Admiral Rawlings V.A.B.P.F. and other high ranking officers between King George V and Missouri. In the evening we returned to our own Force. At 1300 on Sunday the 12th of August the B.P.F. divided its forces – George V, Indefatigable, Gambia, Newfoundland and the “N’s” and “T’s” were to remain off Japan to await developments. Achilles, Euryalus, Argonaut and the”Q’s” and “U’s” set off Southwards for Manus. The task force of the B.P.F. was complete – Vice Admiral Rawlings made a general signal congratulating all concerned and wishing everyone the best of luck.
We of the Quality will remember those months in the Pacific for the part we played as air sea rescue boats and the D.S.B. for the fleet during fuelling and storing period. 35 pilots owe their lives to the Quality, the top scoring Destroyer. Those who are on the bridge will never forget the way the Captain carefully made chalk marks of the number of planes taking off and landing on the Formidable, like a cat watches a mouse, ready to spring into action should a Plane falter in its flight – How many times were the Awakened into action by his stentorian shouts “240 revs, Port 30, standby with the heaving lines”. Quality also captured the Destroyer record for the number of times during alongside other ships – 95 times between July 7th and August 12th, for fuel, stores, mail and passengers. During the previous operation Quality had been the 200th ship alongside King George V. The memory will live long of the way we danced around the fleet from ship to ship, of the 1st Lieutenant splashed with oil pulling away on the Focsle with the rest of the hands. Of the Jackstay on “E” gun deck, of the Captain on the bridge irately cursing everyone but soon forgetting our faults, of his orders while alongside -”Up to turn, I’ll take 400lb. Can you give me more pressure? I’d like some apples.” Well at least we were well fed in spite of being at sea for weeks on end, helping to create records for the Royal Navy.
The first British ship into Tokyo Harbour
En route to Manus we went alongside Formidable almost daily transferring ratings for dental treatments and on one occasion we took Vice-Admiral Vian on a visit of the carriers. The news of the Japanese ultimate Surrender was received on the morning of the 15th. I think our main interest in the auspicious occasion was in the splicing of the main-brace. A big cheer went up on the mess decks a few days later when we heard Quality’s name mentioned on the radio as having taken part in the recent Pacific operations. we arrived on Manus on the 18th and went alongside the Montclaire for a boiler clean. It was not the luck of the “Q’s” to return to Sydney yet. the carriers and the 25th flotilla of “U’s” continued on Southward to enjoy victorious return of the B.P.F. to its rear base. Quality had missed celebrations for both VE and VJ days.
On August the 25th hour boiler clean was finished and we slipped and steamed Northwards at 25 knots loaded with mail for the B.P.F. who was still waiting of Japan. We refuelled at Guam on the 27th. The 30th was a very busy day for us all, at 0400 we transferred mail to our oiling force staying off the Japanese coast. At 0900 we entered Sagami Bay where the British and us fleets lay at anchor; at 1200 King George V, Quality, Napier and Norman Sailed into Tokyo in line ahead, battle ensigns flying at the masthead and for the first time “Jacks” at the peak. who would have imagined that when we left Sydney 2 months earlier that we should sail in to Tokyo Bay before we sailed into Sydney Harbour again? Duke of York flying the flag of C-in-C had entered the day before with the Missouri and the first of the U.S. ships. We tied up alongside King George V and transferred our mail. At 1600 we slipped to rendezvous with Indefatigable and the T6’s who are patrolling with an American carrier Force miles down the coast. We remained on this monotonous to patrol for some days before returning to Tokyo Bay on September 5th. Here we remained for 3 weeks. On the 11th we were duty destroyer which entailed several trips into Yokohama Harbour. On the 14th and excellent concert by members of the ship’s company was given on the iron deck. On the 15th we would be Duty Destroyer again and do the trip around Yokasuka naval base, passing the damaged Japanese battleship “Nagato”, midget submarines, large submarines, which housed A/C in the conning tower superstructure and our old Destroyer “Thrasian” which been captured when the Japs invaded Hong Kong. On the 16th we tied up to a bouy alongside Nepal in Yokohama Harbour; two and a half hours leave was given to 25 ratings at a time. The bomb damage in Yokohama was enormous, only a few large buildings remained standing; there were acres of burnt out rubble which Yankee bulldozers were flattening, there were no shops left, what few goods the Jap’s had to sell were laid out on the pavements. Inflation was terrific, a Yen valued at 48 to the pound was practically worthless, a bar of chocolate, packet of cigarettes, chewing gum or sweets, would buy almost anything. A few members of the ship’s company was lucky enough to obtain Japanese Kimbnas (probably they smuggled an extra lot of chocolate or cigarettes ashore) Others Returned on board with silk handkerchief, trays, slippers, postcards, and various nik-naks. On the 17th we collected a party of 300 ratings from King George V and Newfoundland and proceeded upriver to Tokyo followed by Nepal who was carrying Vice-Admiral Rawlings and other “Brass hats”. They were attending the ceremony of the reopening of the British Embassy. The Jap pilot who accompanied us on the trip up river said we were the first British ship ever to berth in Tokyo. the ship’s company were allowed ashore within the dockyard area for an hour or so, and Returned on board with such trophies as Japanese coins, cap badges, tiles and other junk as souvenirs of a historic visit. On the 18th the outer area of a typhoon ranged across Tokyo Bay, landing craft were blown adrift, ships had steam up to get underway at a moment’s notice, but by 5 p.m. it had practically blown itself out. On the 22nd we again tied up inside Yokohama Breakwater and leave was given to the rest of the ship’s company.
The long journey back to Australia
On September 24th Quality slipped and proceeded Southwards in company with Barfleur. The top of Fujiyama gleamed through the clouds as we sailed out of Tokyo Bay. This was the start of our long journey home. The long awaited news had at last been broken to us, our new Captain was now Lieutenant Commander Craven. Commander Jocelyn had taken Passage in the Duke of York to join the Anson. At night we steamed along with all lights burning and pictures on the iron deck, this was our first experience of no blackout. On September 30th the “crossing the line ceremony” was held on board Quality and homage was paid to “King Neptune” by the captain, First Lieutenant, all Officers and most of the ship’s company. We arrived in Manus, now and almost deserted harbour, fuelled and continued on our way to Sydney where we arrived on October 6th. After anchoring off Garden Island, we subsequently berthed at Woolloomooloo, The same procedure for first and last entry into Sydney. The following day the bombshell came, alas we were not to take our beloved “Qual” home after all. The “Q’s” Well being handed over to the Royal Australian Navy and a crews what to take the “N’s” home. The next week was our last week in Sydney, we said goodbye to all the friends we had made and the places with which we have become so familiar, George Street, Hyde Park, Circular Quay, the “Giterion”, The British Centre, the “Tivoli”, Luna Park, Manly, Bondi, Mosman, “Maggie’s” Plonk shop at Balmain, the ferry-boats, “Our Bridge” and “Our Harbour”. They would just be happy memories which we will always cherish and record whenever we hear those tunes “Advance Australia Fair” and “Lily Marlene”. On October 18th we sailed down Woolloomooloo Dock “playing I’ll Be Home For Christmas” on the loud hailer to King George V, Formidable, Indomitable, and other ships of the B.P.F berthed there. Passing through Sydney our heads took a last long glimpse at the fair city that had opened its arms to us for the past 12 months. We arrived at Melbourne two days later and tied up alongside Napier at Williamstown. That afternoon the ship was opened to visitors for the first time since January. On the 17th we went to sea the last time in Quality to do a full power trial in Port Phillip Bay. On the 20th Quiberon arrived and tied up alongside Quality; the chummy ships were together again, probably they would be together again often in the future under the Royal Australian Navy.
At 0900 on October 25th the ships companies of H.M.A.S. Napier and H.M.S. Quality were mustered on the forecastles; Pipes sounded the “still”, the Union Jack was lowered on the Quality and the navy blue Australian Jack hoisted in its place. A simple but impressive ceremony, she was now the H.M.A.S. Quality. Wherever she steams we wish her the best of luck, whenever we see her name in print we shall remember.
As we make our journey down the winding road of War –
We cannot linger very long at Friendship’s lighted door ….
We lift the latch and cross the threshold, but we cannot stay,
We exchange a greeting and we pass upon our way.
Many fellow-travellers along the road we hail –
We fall in step, then off we go along another trail ….
With our wartime friends we part – for so it has to be.
But their names are written in the book of memory.
Dedicated to our own mess-mates and all those friends we made in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand 1942-1945.
Original Authors and Source
The final page contains information on the original authors, it appears that this was created within HMS Napier after HMS Quality was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy. Stars denote that the text is missing, however most of the information is there and legible.
*****by leading Signalman A.L Denham; with the assistance of
*****owett and A.B Dyer. Produced in the S.D.O of HMS Napier.
*****Yeoman of signals R.A Harrison with the assistance of Coder
*****Butters. December 1945.