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Transferred to Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve as a writer on 15 August 195 1.

Old age would have struck me off by now.


Hector MacFarlane, who joined the staff of The Union Bank of Australia Limited in April 1934, having been granted military leave to go on active service, enlisted in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve on 19 May 1941 and remained in the Royal Naval Reserve after WWII until his transfer to the Royal Australian Naval Volunteer Reserve on 15 August 1951. In granting the leave to go on active service, the Union Bank guaranteed re-employment after the war and made up the difference, if any, between normal bank pay and active service pay during an officer's absence on active service Australian Citizen Military Forces.

Enlisted in Australian Citizen Military Forces on 15 March 1939 in 9 Field Brigade (Militia) RAA, which was re-named 9 Field Regiment shortly after the commencement of World War 11..

Member of 109 Howitzer Battery, under Captain Frank Ball, but, being a bank clerk who could type, was transferred to Brigade Headquarters.

Promoted to Bomardier and later to Sergeant.

Secretary of the Sergeants' Mess.

Orderly Sergeant to the then Commanding Officer, Lt Colonel George Anderson.

Son of a long time Sydney Harbour Pilot, Captain John MacFarlane, FSA[Scot], and having spent a great deal of spare time on Sydney Harbour as a lad, made an early decision to join the Royal Australian Naval Reserve.

Being artillery sergeant the Navy took a long time with a call up.



Eligible service.

Eligible service during World War 11 was with the 9th Field Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery, [later re named 9th Field Regiment] from 11/11/39 to 10/12/39; from 24/4/40 to 22/7/40; and from 31/12/40 to 7/3/41.

Operational service.

Operational service during World War 11, from 19 May 1941 until 21 February 1946 was served with the Royal Australian Naval Reserve in the following ships and shore stations:-.

HMAS RUSHCUTTER - 30 June 1941 to 26 August 1941 HMAS CERBERUS - 27 August 1941 TO 20 November 1941 HMAS MAITLAND - 21 November 1941 to 2 June 1942 HMAS PENGUIN - 3 June 1942 to 23 August 1942 for passage to N Class pool at Mombasa.

we sailed from Sydney to Durban in a French merchantman, MV "Felix Roussel' belonging to the MM company and managed by Bibby Brothers. My old friend, Captain Hal Goss, who lived a few doors,from us piloted the ship to sea. Lt Cdr JMacDonald RANR(S) en route to command HMAS "Bathurst" was in charge of the draft to Fremantle. A really good fellow, he was afterwards a Sydney Harbour Pilot. At Fremantle, Lt Cdr Arnold Holbrook Green DSC, RAN, took over. On reaching Durban we transferred to MV "Rimutaka " of the New Zealand Shipping Company for passage to Kilindini [Mombasa] where we were quartered in the delightful Likoni Camp to await our various N Class ships. Chief Gunner's Mate Len Weber, a very fine chap, was the CPO in charge of the draft.

Noting that I was a bank clerk he grabbed me as the typist. I began to realise then that I should have joined as a Writer! It didn't do me any harm. I did a typing job for the French Captain, who had a piano in his cabin. A very decent man he gave me a dozen bottles of beer for my trouble. As I did not drink in those days, it was a bonus for my mess mates! An incident, many would say a very small incident, turned me against the system whereby barely youths at the tender age of 13 years were taken VETERANS' CLAIMS. H.I.M.MacFARLANE, AM, - SERVICE IN AUSTRALIAN FORCES.

from their homes and confined in a Middys' College. It must take years for them to mature to become like normal citizens. About a dozen Midshipmen were taking passage en route to Great Britain for further training. They were put into watches on the bridge. As I went to the Captain's cabin abaft the bridge, which opened right on to it, one of the "snottys as they were called by more senior officers, PO [who afterwards became a Rear Admiral] said to me in a very sharp and condescending tone Remove your cap, sailor, before you enter the Captain's cabin OP. I suppose he would have put me in the Jimmy's Report had I answered as he deserved! He was just so superior. On the other hand I have served under thorough gentlemen. Just to mention two, Sir David Stevenson [twice] he was Jimmy when I joined and came back later as Navigating Officer. The other was a very fine man. l was his gunnery jack's writer, until a qualified AB arrived, when "Buster" made me the postman. First ashore and last aboard! Thanks to Buster Crabb I finished up with VG/Supr on my papers. Years afterwards at a Presbyterian Church Parade Admiral Buchanan told me that Buster Crabb was the smartest officer ever to serve under him.

HMAS NAPIER - 24 August 1942 to 24 October 1945 Dec & Jan 42 [HMS "Assegai Gunnery school at Pietennaritzburg and a flat bottom Gunboat with an W' gun in Durban to qualify for Gun Layer 3rd Class] When my good friend Alan Mole [a permanent serviceman] was made Leading Seaman, I found myself detailed as the Captain's Cabin Hand! A great appointment. As the only child of elderly parents, I had never dobeyed my own clothes - never mind anybody else's! Alan Mole took me in hand and eased me into the job. After I had been looking after Arnold for about a month, a funny thing happened when we dropped the pick in Cochin. Arnold came down from the bridge and was getting ready to go ashore. "Napier" was really a Captain Ds ship, Fuel tanks were sacrificed to make room for the Captain's digs. The white bands and black top were painted out of the funnel and we became the Commodore's ship. We had two Commodores Cdre Stephen Harry Tolson Arliss, who was formerly Captain "D" and a real bastard; and Cdre A. L. Poland, DSO, DSO*, RN -[afterwards Vice Admiral] who was nature's gentleman. Getting back to the story, Arnold buzzed for me and when I went in he put two 10 Rupee notes on the bunk and said There you are, Tarz, [he called me "Tarzan after.


–  –  –

said I, "its as simple as this. If there weren't a war on I would not be cleaning your shoes" [my mind went back to the bridge of the transport when Midshipman Doyle tried to give me a lesson in manners!] After that, Arnold never raised his voice to me [I was one of the very few] and I got on with him very well indeed. When he finally left the ship to go with the Yanks he said.- How would you like to come with me, Tarz? " I'll see the Drafting Commander at FND, and fix it up " he said I never saw Arnold Green again. Gerry Featherstone, the Schoolmaster, told me that Arnold had told him that he had never been looked after as well as when old Tarz was looking after him!

HMAS QUALITY - 25 October 1945 to 22 January 1946 HMAS RUSHCUTTER - 23 January 1946 to 21 February 1946 Operational service in the destroyer, HMAS "Napier".

These details indicate the different operational areas in which "Napier" " steamed during the time that Hector MacFarlane was a member of the ship's company. They also provide evidence of the frequent changes in temperature and climate that were experienced.

From 19 May 1941 until 23 August 1942: in and around Australia.

From 24 August 1942 to December 1942: from the South Atlantic Ocean to 45 degrees South then to Mombasa in the Indian Ocean about 5 degrees below the Equator. Goodness knows how many times "Napier" crossed the VETERANS’ CLAIMS. H.I.M.MacFARLANE, AM, - SERVICE IN AUSTRALIAN FORCES.

Line. Subsequently on several sea voyages in merchant ships the former able seaman never had to join those passengers crossing the line for the first time who had an appointment with King Neptune.

From December 1942 to May 1943: from the Equator in Indian Ocean to the South Atlantic to Bouvet Island about 52 degrees South and back to the Equator escorting troops for the Middle East from off Freetown just North of the Equator round the Cape of Good Hope to the Red Sea.

June 1943 from Equator to Capetown about 35 degrees South and back up North to the Equator.

July 1943 to Trincomalee in Sri Lanka which is about 9 degrees North December 1943 to Aden and then to the Persian Gulf about the hottest place on earth: inoculated against half a dozen tropical diseases because of health problems that could be encountered.

January 1944 to March 1944 based on Karachi about 28 degrees north and working with troops training for the Burma Campaign. In the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf again.

April 1944 escorting US Carrier "Saratoga" for air strikes against Sumatra.

May 1944 to July 1944: Exmouth Gulf, WA. still escorting "Saratoga" in air strikes on Sumatra and the Dutch East Indies.

August to Sept 1944: Williamstown, Victoria, for a refit and badly needed recreational leave.

October 1944: Rejoined British Eastern Fleet at Trincomalee. From 39 degrees south to 9 degrees north.

October 1944: Madras then Chittagong at the northern extremity of the Bay of Bengal. very hot.: preparation for participation in the Burma campaign. We had what we thought would be a happy change from tinned food when a load of rabbits came aboard. Within hours the whole ship's company, including the ship's cat, were rolling around the deck for a couple of days from food poisoning. 1 haven't knowingly eaten rabbit since!

November to January 1995: Burma campaign. Fought down Burma coast under Admiral Mountbatten and Admiral Martin, who had the distinction of having risen to Flag Rank in the Royal Navy from Boy Second Class. At high tide we ferried troops as close inshore as our fairly shallow draft would allow. We remained until the next high tide broadside on in the mud to provide fire power for the troops. We were a sitting target for air strikes by Japanese. Fortunately they were rotten shots and couldn't score direct hits. Our anti-aircraft gunners caused them a bit of bother. Japanese ammunition was out of date. Although we could have touched some near misses, they dropped into the mud without going off. Had they exploded they would have blown our side out.

Christmas 1994 saw us at Cox's Bazaar, near Chittagong at the northern extremity of the Bay of Bengal.

Our Captain [H.J.Buchanan] visited all the mess decks to wish us all a happy Christmas so far from home. As he started to walk aft the ships company joined in three cheers for the Captain. "Buck" as we called him had tears in his eyes.

January and February 1945: fought down Burma coast to and captured(?) Akyab. It was absolutely deserted.

There wasn't even a stray dog in the place. It had been well bombarded from the sea and bombed from the air.

It was in a mess and was quite eerie.

Late February 1945: left Eastern Fleet to return to Australia. We nearly turned turtle in the Great Australian Bight ["Nizam" had a similar experience about the same time while steaming west]. Two of my mess mates were lost over the side. But for a stroke of luck [or the good Lord looking after his unworthy servant], 1 would have gone with them. 1 still sometimes wake up in middle of the night thinking about the loss of my cobbers and about my own narrow escape! At the time we were screening an RN Carrier, whose Captain had been in subs during WWl. As a result he was going full speed. Fuel having been used up, and in a nasty following sea, "Napier" was "corkscrewing" badly. Captain H. J. Buchanan signalled the Carrier to the effect that we were in danger of capsizing at the speed we were going. As it happened the Carrier Captain replied that he would proceed alone but before that message reached us the worst very nearly happened. We lurched dangerously, shipped water in the boiler room and then came to a halt. The Captain ordered all hands to their mess decks for a roll call. Two of my mates from my mess were missing. We spent the rest of the day searching but without result. All we found was a sand shoe. Our Captain, a very fine man [Captain - later Rear Admiral - H.J.Buchananj was visibly affected. One could see that he held himself responsible. As soon as we berthed at Williamstown he got the Chaplain down and a memorial ' service was held.

March 1945: refit Williamstown and leave. Late March sailed to Sydney.


1 April 1945: Sydney to Manus Island escorting carriers for British Pacific Fleet. 35 degrees south to tropics.

April to July 1945: operations against Japanese occupied Islands escorting carriers and cruisers for bombing and bombardments.

9 July 1945 left Manus for the north: joined British Pacific Fleet Task Force 57 under Vice Admiral Sir Bemard Rawlings in HMS "King George V Off Japanese Coast and close to the coast when the atomic bombs were dropped. At sea 49 days without touching land until 27 August when "Napier" anchored in Sagami Wan [Tokyo Bay] before the Surrender was signed. "Napier" had sailed 17008 nautical miles with steam on engines constantly for 1176 hrs. This was a record unlikely to be broken. The longest time at sea without touching land for any destroyer! From early July we were under constant Kamikaze attack. When they landed on RN Carriers they were swept over the stem with sea water and long brooms. Destroyers [us sometimes] put screws over them to destroy any remaining unexploded bombs. It was a horrifying experience. On Sunday 7 September 1945 the Japanese surrendered unconditionally in USS "Missouri". We then occupied Yokosuka Naval Base. We returned to Australia at the end of September 1945. Our crew transferred to HMAS "Quality" at Williamstown. We brought her up to Sydney safely where we remained until discharged from Active Service on 21 February 1946.

One of my prized possessions is a certificate signed by Captain H.J.Buchanan and Vice Admiral H.B.Rawlings of Task Force 37, British Pacific Fleet, that Able Seaman Hector MacFarlane, Official number S/5592, participated in the initial entry of the US and British fleets into Tokyo Bay before the surrender was signed.4

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