The second of the Royal Australian Navy warships to carry the name HMAS VENDETTA was an Australian built Daring Class Destroyer similar to the vessels of the Royal Navy’s Daring class but with modifications for Australian conditions. HMAS VENDETTA Mk 2 was commissioned at Melbourne on 26th November 1958 under the command of Capt. Ronald J Robertson, DSC,RAN.
HMAS VENDETTA MK 2 STATISTICS
|Type:||‘Daring’ Class Destroyer|
|Displacement:||2800 tons (standard)|
|Length:||388 feet 6 inches|
|Draught:||12 feet 3 inches|
|Builder:||Willamstown Naval Dockyard (Melbourne)|
|Laid Down:||4th July 1949|
|Launched:||27th October 1956 (Mrs. N Waller, widow of the late Capt. H.M.L. Waller, RAN)|
|Machinery:||English Electric geared turbines, twin screws.|
|Speed:||In excess of 30 knots|
|Armament:||6 x 4.5 inch guns (twin turrents)|
|6 x 40mm Bofors ant-aircraft guns|
|5 x 21 inch torpedo tubes (quintuple mount) – (removed in late 1960)|
|Li-mbo triple barrelled anti-submarine mortar|
|Complement:||320 personell, including 20 officers|
In November 1959, VENDETTA departed for Singapore to begin a period of service with the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve Naval Forces during which time she visited India and Ceylon.
On her return to Australia in July 1960 she underwent a refit at Williamstown Naval Dockyard. In March 1961, VENDETTA again departed for Singapore for a second tour of duty with the Strategic Reserve. She returned to Australia in October 1961 and again refitted at Williamstown Naval Dockyard.
In April 1962, the ship visited Singapore for SEATO exercises with US and other Australian warships, visiting Manila, Japan and Guam before retiring to Sydney in June 1962. For the remainder of the year she exercised in Australian and New Zealnd waters. Following a four month refit in early 1963, VENDETTA agaain sailed for South East Asian waters in July where she took part in exercises with other naval units of SEATO.
She returned to Australian waters in February 1964 and remained until June when she again visited South East Asia. VENDETTA operated with RN and RAN units and also conducted anti-Indonesian infiltration patrols in the Jason Bay – Mersing area. In December the ship returned to Sydney for a seven month refit. A further tour of duty in South East Asian waters commenced in August 1965 and lasted until March 1966. During this period VENDETTA escorted HMAS Sydney to Vietnam in August 1965.
In June 1966 VENDETTA escorted HMAS Sydney on the converted carrier’s 4th trip to Vietnam with Australian troops and equipment. In November 1966 VENDETTA played a major part in the refloating of the US submarine TIRU which had run aground on Federick Reef off the Queensland coast. VENDETTA underwent a further refit from February until August 1967 and from then until February 1968 she was involved mainly in exercises in the East Australian area.
In March 1968 the ship again deployed to South East Asian waters returning in October 1968. In early 1969 VENDETTA underwent pre-refit trials and commenced a six month refit at Cockatoo Island Dockyard in Sydney during which time both tails shafts were removed. In July VENDETTA’S post-refit trials were disrupted by a small fire in cables in the wardroom and damage to the ship’s generators.
Trials and workup continued in August. On the 25th August the Australian Coastal ship MV Noongah foundered off Smokey Cape NSW with a cargo of steel bound for Townsville in Queensland. Of the 26 crew members, 21 of them were lost at sea. VENDETTA was invloved in NOONGAH’S rescue attempt. By early Setember VENDETTA was ready for attachment to the US 7th Fleet in Vietnam waters.
On 15th September 1969 VENDETTA, under the command of Commander Eric Eugene Johnson, departed Garden Island Dockyard Sydney and received a handover from HMAS BRISBANE in Subic Bay on 26th September.
On the 2nd October 1969 VENDETTA opened fired on targets in and around Da Nang harbour and in doing so created Australian Naval history by becoming the first and only fully built Australian Daring class warship to fire her guns upon the enemy at war. During the following seven months VENDETTA carried out the role for which she was designed – naval gunfire support firings on the “gunline” off the coast of Vietnam, as well as spending well earned rest periods in Singapore, Hong Kong, Keelung and Kaoh Siung (Taiwan) and Subic Bay.
VENDETTA was relived by HMAS HOBART at Subic Bay in late March 1970 and arrived back in Sydney on 11th April 1970. In August 1970, after four months in home waters VENDETTA again sailed for deployment to the Far East Strategic Reserve. In late October 1970 VENDETTA escorted HMAS SYDNEY to Vung Tau, Vietnam then in the ensuing months visited Colombo, Bombay and Nagasaki, as well as the usual far east ports.
In April 1970 she returned to Sydney west about and during the following months the ship served in Australian and New Guinea waters. VENDETTA paid off on 29th September 1971 for a ‘half-life’ refit at Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Melbourne.During the following 18 months VENDETTA underwent a $10 million refit which included the fitting of new gun turrents and fire control systems, new aircraft warning and navigation radar plus the replacement of a major portion of the superstructure. Communications equipment was renewed and living conditions upgraded.
VENDETTA recommisioned at Williamstown Naval Dockyard on 2nd May 1973 under the command of Commander A.G.Ferris, RAN. The following ten months were taken up with shakedown, workup and local exercise periods. In February 1974 VENDETTA sailed from Sydney for a four months ANZUK deployment to Far East waters with visits to Singapore, Labuan, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Subic Bay, Sandakan and Jakarta before arrival back in Sydney in July.
The remainder of 1974 was spent in Australian – South Pacific waters. In late December 1974 VENDETTA was one of the RAN units which sailed to Darwin for relief operations in the wake of the devastation of ‘Cyclone Tracy’. On arrival back in Sydney in late January 1975 VENDETTA resumed east Australian area operations/exercises until August when the ship sailed as a member of an Indian Ocean Task Group deployment. This was cut short because of the situation in Portugese Timor which saw VENDETTA and her sister ship VAMPIRE deployed to Darwin for standby duties.
The situation had eased by mid Setember 1975 and VENDETTA rejoined the Task Group deployment with visits to Singapore and Hong Kong in September/October. On arrival back in Australian waters VENDETTA commenced a nine month refit at Willamstown Naval Dockyard in December 1975. Post refit trials and workup occupied the period September to 19th December. VENDETTA sailed back to Sydney in early January 1977 for thew ships penultimate South East Asian deployment, arriving back in Sydney in early June. This was followed by exercises in Australian and New Zealnd waters until June 1978.
VENDETTA commenced her final overseas deployment in late June 1978 with visits to Honiara, Manus Island, Subic Bay, Hong Kong, Singapore, Port Kelang, Surabaya, Penang and Christmas Island. During a Singapore visit in early November 1978 the Commanding Officer, Commander M.R. Freeman, RAN was informed that the ship would pay off in June 1979.
VENDETTA returned to Sydney via Fremantle in early December 1978. VENDETTA visited Adelaide, Fremantle, Darwin, Melbourne and Brisbane during the first half of 1979. The ship entered Port Jackson for the last time on 28th June 1979 and conducted a tour of Sydney Harbour before berthing at Garden Island Naval Dockyard.
The following three months were occupied with the removal of equipment and destoring prior to paying off from The Royal Australian Navy on 9th October 1979. In her 21 year career, HMAS VENDETTA Mk2 had travelled a distance of 670952 nautical miles.
VENDETTA remained in the ‘mothball’ fleet at Sydney until 1986 when she was sold to Ming Hsieh Steel Mill on behalf of Hodland Enterprises of Taiwan.
VENDETTA departed Sydney under tow in late 1986 for the breakers yard in Taiwan.