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The Australian Government had by this time committed naval forces to what became known as the Far East Strategic Reserve, which provided for an annual visit from an aircraft carrier as part of the RAN's contribution. Special Forum to pay respects to the 82 men who lost the lives in the collision on 10th February 1964 when HMAS Voyager was sunk by the Aircraft Carrier HMAS Melbourne. Laid down for the RN as HMS Majestic on 15 April 1943 and launched in 1945, the ship was nearing completion when construction was virtually brought to a halt with the cessation of wartime hostilities. To use these records effectively you need: 1. the name of the vessel 2. the approximate service period of the individual The remainder of the deployment proceeded without incident as Melbourne visited Nagasaki, Kure, Kobe and Yokohama before returning home via Guam and Papua New Guinea. HMAS Melbourne was the lead ship of the Majestic-class of light fleet aircraft carriers. [5] During the day of 10 February the ships operated independently, or exercised with the British submarine HMSTabard. Right: Melbourne's damaged bow following her tragic collision with Voyager. After a short visit to Melbourne, the carrier returned to Hobart later in the month for the Royal Hobart Regatta and the royal visit of Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Thompson and Potts were both killed when their Sea Venom crashed into the sea in 1956. This cine film has been placed online as part of the Sea Power Centre - Australias ongoing archival digitisation program. She remained alongside in Sydney until February 1969. A joint USN/RAN Board of Inquiry into the tragedy held Captain Stevenson partly responsible, stating that as Commanding Officer of Melbourne, he could have done more to prevent the collision from occurring. Wild was transferred to the USN hospital at Sasebo before being returned to Australia. However, a subsequent RAN court martial cleared him of any responsibility. A Skyhawk coming over Melbourne's round-down. [8], During the early part of the evening, when both ships were manoeuvring together, Voyager had no difficulty maintaining her position. She participated in Exercise JUC 63 in August, visited New Zealand in September, and took part in Exercise SWORDHILT in the Coral Sea in October. [10] Voyager acknowledged the order and began turning a minute later. [94][95] By May 2008, 35 cases were still ongoing, two from dependants of Voyager sailors killed in the collision, the remainder from Melbourne sailors. The Australian War Memorial acknowledges the traditional custodians of country. She participated in Exercise JUC 76 in February before departing Sydney on 9 March for Asian waters. [31] The majority of those killed had been in the forward section of Voyager when the collision occurred, off duty and relaxing or sleeping. [88][89] The ruling was overturned in 1982. Melbournes 1962 South East Asian deployment began on 28 February when she departed Fremantle for Singapore. [48] The media considered that Robertson had been made a scapegoat for the incident. [7] After the series of course changes which began at 20:40, intended to reverse the courses of both ships onto a northerly heading of 020 for flight operations, Voyager ended up ahead and to starboard of Melbourne. Melbournes Commanding Officer, Captain Ronald Robertson, DSC, RAN, later reported; The actions required of Melbournes ships company called for individual initiative at all levels, and calm resolve to an extent that is not often required in peace time. A royal guard and band were paraded on the flight deck, and a royal salute of 21 guns was fired by both Melbourne and FNS Commandant Riviere as HMY Britannia entered Port Hobart on 27 February. [27] Most of the sailors in the water were unable or unwilling to be rescued with the helicopters' winches, so the helicopters were reassigned to provide illumination of the site with their landing lights. [5] The first all-welded ship built in Australia, Voyager was laid down by Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney on 10 October 1949, launched on 1 May 1952, and commissioned into the RAN on 12 February 1957. Increasing pressure over the results of the first Royal Commission, along with allegations by former Voyager executive officer Peter Cabban that Captain Duncan Stevens was unfit for command, prompted a second Royal Commission in 1967: the only time in Australian history that two Royal Commissions have been held to investigate the same incident. She participated in the Combined Operational Training Period off Jervis Bay in November which included 24 warships from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Canada. Although Cabban's claims revolved primarily around Stevens' drinking to excess, the second Royal Commission found that Stevens was unfit to command for medical reasons. The crew of the Voyager were in fact watching Melbourne and did receive and pass on the signals correctly. The fleet was divided into two with Melbourne's group operating out of Manila, the second group operating out of Bangkok. An analysis of his last actions and movements in her book does suggest he was unwell and possibly in pain from a reactivated duodenal ulcer. [27] Posthumous Albert Medals for Lifesaving were awarded to Midshipman Kerry Marien and Electrical Mechanic William Condon for their actions in saving other Voyager personnel at the cost of their own lives. HMAS Melbourne off the east coast of Australia on 6 May 1956, astern of HMAS Sydney, following her delivery voyage from Britain. [12] It was initially assumed by Melbourne's bridge crew that Voyager was "fishtailing", conducting a series of zig-zag turns to slow the ship before swinging behind Melbourne, but Voyager did not alter course again. [57][58] The hearings lasted 85 days, and the Burbury Report was released publicly on 25 February 1968. Opinions were that the Royal Commission had been poorly handled,[citation needed] and Robertson had been made a scapegoat. [35] Duchess was accepted and modernised, and as she was only intended to be in RAN service for four years (although she was later sold to the RAN and served until 1977), the RAN ordered the construction of two improved River-class destroyer escorts (British Type 12 frigates), based on the Leander-class frigate design. She returned to sea on 11 October to commence workup exercises and shortly thereafter resumed a regular program of exercises, training and maintenance. Vickers Armstrong Ltd, Barrow-in-Furness, England, Lady Anderson, wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Upon her return to Sydney, Melbourne commenced preparations for a major refit and modernisation, conducted at Garden Island Dockyard, to enable her to operate her new aircraft. Many survivors were embarked in Melbourne while others were transported by other search and rescue vessels to HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay. [85][86], Families of those killed in the sinking of Voyager attempted to claim compensation for their losses, while survivors tried to make claims for post-traumatic stress and similar ailments. [71], The idea that those aboard Voyager incorrectly assessed their position in relation to the carrier was most prominently supported by Robertson during the first commission: he suggested that Stevens and the others aboard the destroyer may have believed that they were on Melbourne's port bow. That September Melbourne sailed for what was to be the first of many deployments to South East Asia. [15][17] The senior officers on the bridge were killed on impact. The aircraft was located some 17 minutes later on a reef off Palali Island, in Kali Bay at the western end of Manus. The aircraft was seen to take off normally but quickly veered to the right and down into the water. Left: Lady White unveils Melbourne's ship's badge. [22] In the messages that were sent immediately to the Fleet Headquarters in Sydney, Robertson underestimated the extent of the damage to Voyager[23] and as a result the Captain Cook Graving Dock at Garden Island was ordered to clear the troopship HMASSydney from the dock to make room for Voyager, and the salvage ship, HMASKimbla, began sailing south to tow the destroyer to Sydney. The forward section of Evans sank quickly while her stern section was secured to Melbournes starboard side enabling that part of the ship to be searched for survivors. [7] As aircraft carriers head into the wind to provide maximum assistance for takeoffs, their course can vary widely and on short notice; bridge teams aboard escorting destroyers must thus remain alert at all times. an equipment failure occurred aboard one or both ships. On 10 April she visited Colombo before crossing the Indian Ocean and arriving in her first Australian port, Fremantle, on 23 April 1956. Among other instructions, these rules banned escorts from approaching within 2,000 yards (1,800m) of the carrier unless specifically instructed to, and stated that any manoeuvre around Melbourne was to commence with a turn away from the carrier. On 18 March Melbourne deployed for a five month deployment that saw her circumnavigate Australia and return to South East Asian waters where she participated in the international Exercises TRADEWIND and ASTRA. 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