Australian ships fought in one of the greatest battles in naval history
By David Scott*
David wrote of his experiences in Arunta in 2004. A copy of the manuscript was recently presented to the Naval Historical Society by one of his shipmates, Ray Northrop, past President of the HMAS Arunta Association. Minor amendments have been made to this previously unpublished work. Originally published in the September 2016 edition of the Naval Historical Review.
I was an eighteen-year-old Able Seaman, anti-aircraft gunner on the Tribal-class destroyer HMAS Arunta, she was a member of an Australian task force attached to the United States Navy in July 1944. The force consisted of heavy cruisers HMA Ships Australia and Shropshire and our sister ship HMAS Warramunga. Arunta was a fast ship of 2,500 tons capable of a top speed of 36 knots, an exciting and formidable speed to be pushing nearly 3,000 tonnes through the water. She was built for a crew of 260 but had 320, the number needed to man the extra guns and equipment installed during wartime. My gun was a 20mm Oerlikon positioned on the port side of the flag deck, just below the bridge.