22 Jan 1929. HMAS Albatross commissioned


On this day 22 January 1929 HMAS Albatross the RAN’s seaplane carrier was commissioned.

HMAS Albatross was built by Cockatoo Island Dockyard during the mid-1920s. The ship experienced relevance issues when the aircraft assigned to her were retired just before the ship entered service and the replacement aircraft could not be catapult-launched from the ship which was not designed to do this.

A new aircraft type designed specifically to work with the ship came into service after Albatross was put into the reserve fleet in 1933.

After five years in reserve, Albatross was transferred to the RN to offset the purchase cost of the light cruiser Hobart. Although the British had little use for a seaplane carrier, the ship found a wartime niche on convoy escort duties in the southern Atlantic and Indian Ocean in mid 1942. She then underwent conversion into a Landing Ship (Engineering) was used to repair landing craft and other support vessels off the Normandy beaches.

Albatross was torpedoed in October, was towed back to England and repaired and served as a minesweeper depot ship.

The vessel was sold and chartered by the International Refugee Organization to transport refugees from Europe to Australia. Renamed the Hellenic Prince she saw service as a troopship during the 1953 Mau Mau Uprising, but was broken up for scrap a year later.


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