RAN 16th MSS – Timeline History

List of notable dates and events in the life and service of the 16th
Minesweeping Squadron.

If anyone has any dates or
comments to add, please contact us.The dates listed are used with kind permission of the Naval Historical Society, who’s website and
archives can be found at:

18 July 1962: The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS HAWK, (CMDR D. A. Ross, RAN), was commissioned. HAWK, (as HMS GAMSTON, renamed SOMERLEYTON), was laid down in Richards Ironworks Ltd, Lowestoft, England, in June 1953, and
launched on 17 September 1955. She was purchased for the RAN in 1962

19 July 1962: The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS GULL, (LEUT A. L. Beaumont, RAN), was commissioned. GULL, (as HMS SWANSTON), was laid down in J. S. Doig Ltd, Grimsby, England, in August 1953, and launched on 1 July 1954. In 1962 she was purchased for the RAN.

21 August 1962: The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS CURLEW, (LEUT B. J. G. Dunn, RAN), was commissioned. CURLEW was laid down in Montrose Shipyard Ltd, Scotland, in April 1953, and launched on 6 October 1953. She was purchased for the RAN IN 1962.

30th August 1962: The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS TEAL, (LEUT M. B. Rayment,
RAN), was commissioned. TEAL, (as HMS JACKTON), was laid down in Philip &
Son Ltd, Dartmouth, England, in January 1953, and launched on 28 February
1955. She was purchased for the RAN IN 1962

7 September 1962: The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS IBIS, (LCDR J.G. Stacey, RAN), was commissioned. IBIS, (as HMS SINGLETON), was laid down in Montrose Shipyard Ltd, Scotland, in October 1953, and launched on 18 November 1955.

11 September 1962: The Bird, (ex-RN Ton), class minesweeper HMAS SNIPE, (LEUT P. H. James, RAN), was commissioned. SNIPE, (as HMS ALCASTON), was laid down in John I
Thornycroft & Co Ltd, Southampton, England, in July 1951, and launched on 5 January 1953.

5 December 1962: HMAS WATERHEN, (shore establishment in Sydney), was commissioned.

16 December 1962: Australia promised naval support in the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation crisis.

1 May 1964: The Minister for the Navy, Mr. F. C. Chaney, announced the dispatch of the HMAS Ships HAWK and GULL, (minesweepers), to Singapore, for operations during the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation.

13 December 1964: HMAS TEAL, (minesweeper), intercepted two Indonesian sampans off Borneo. The sampans opened fire, and TEAL retaliated, killing three of the crew. LEUT K. Murray, RAN, TEAL’s captain, was awarded the DSC for gallantry in the action. This was the only gallantry award to an RAN officer in the Indonesian-Malaysian confrontation.

24 December 1964: LEUT K. Murray, RAN, of HMAS TEAL, (minesweeper), was awarded the DSC for conspicuous service in Malaysian waters, during the Indonesian-Malayan

24 March 1965: ASLT J. M. Hutchinson, RAN, (a Fleet Air Arm pilot from HMAS MELBOURNE), was killed when his aircraft crashed in the Malacca Straits. He was the only RAN casualty for Confrontation, (the low level insurgency conflict between Malaysia and Indonesia during 1964-66)

29 March 1966: HMAS HAWK, (Ton class minesweeper), berthed at Semporna, (Malay State of Sabah), for rest and recreation leave during her patrols associated with
Confrontation. Later that day one of her crew returned on board drunk, and took one of the ships 9mm Owen sub machine guns, and started to fire it indiscriminately around the ship. Over 300 rounds were fired causing some damage to the ship, but fortunately no one was hit. The sailor was eventually subdued, and later medically discharged from the RAN.

1 December 1965: The Australian Naval Board approved ‘Australia’ shoulder insignia as standard uniform for the RAN.

11 August 1966: Confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia officially ceased. Several RAN units, including destroyer escorts, and the Ton class minesweepers, had been involved in the confrontation, mainly conducting anti-infiltration patrols off
Singapore, and Sabah/Sarawak in East Malaysia.

7 November 1966: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II gave Royal Consent to the new Australian White Ensign.

23 December 1966: The Prime Minister, Mr Harold Holt, announced to Parliament that the new Australian White Ensign was formally approved

1 March 1967:
The Australian White Ensign was hoisted in all ships and establishments of the RAN. The British White Ensign had been used by the RAN since 1913.

September 2004:
First RAN1thMSS Reunion held in Yamba, NSW, Australia.

31 March 2006: RAN 16th Minesweeping Squadron plaque dedication held at the Australian War Museum, Canberra, ACT, for recognition to peacekeeping service during the Indonesian-Malaysian conflict.

1 July 2006: RAN16th MSS Memorial and Plaque laying at HMNZS Philomel, New Zealand.

August 2006: RAN16thMSS Memorial Plaque and Dedication at Bundamba Memorial, QLD.

1 August 2008: Second RAN16thMSS Reunion held in Noosa and Tewantin, QLD.

4 September 2012: Permission Granted by VA Griggs, RAN to the RAN 16th Minesweeping Squadron Reunion and Social Club  sole access and use  of the new 16th Minesweeping Squadron Crest to represent the Minesweeping Squadron, as voted for by the Squadron members back in 2009.

14 September 2012: Third RAN16thMSS Reunion held in Twin Towns, Tweed Head, QLD.

26 September 2014: Fourth RAN16thNSS Reunion held in Twin Towns, Tweed Head, QLD.

14 July 2016: The Inauguration of the Australian Mine Warfare Team 16, Sydney, NSW.

4 November 2016: Fifth RAN16thMSS Reunion held in Twin Towns, Tweed Head QLD.