Why should Harbour Defence Motor Launch 1321 be saved?
by Tracy Geddes
There was a opportunity to purchase the ex-warship Harbour Defence Motor Launch -1321. The ship was advertised as 'full of history's of times long past', and as 'A chance to become custodians of a legacy of the ill fated (at times) Z Force Commandos.'
The Z Force were a band of courageous men that fought in the most gruelling conditions, men who gave their lives so that you and I might have a future in this land, our Australia.
This roller coaster ride took us (Geddes' family) to Gove Peninsula in the top end of Australia.
I recall the excitement as the plane circled. Which little dot down there was our warship?
We had invested $140,000 in purchasing the ship and an inheritance meant we had over $160,000 in funds to spend on bringing the boat back to it's WWII shape and take it back to its birthplace off Battery Point in Hobart, Tasmania.
The ship was not at all as described (in the sales advertisement). The HDML-1321 needed a lot of work on the engines and it took all our funds to make it ready to sail.
Through perseverance and dogged determination we had it ready to motor to Darwin (home to the Geddes family), all the while our funds were rapidly dwindling. In spite of this I became more and more attached to the wonderful story of the HDML-1321 and its colourful history of the motley crew who against all odds delivered men to behind enemy lines to observe and report and who delivered hope to the men and women whose job it was to protect this country from the threat of total annihilation.
As every obstacle took more of our funds I gained a dogged determination that this ship, this living legacy, would survive.
We made Darwin. By now it became apparent that sheer determination was not enough. I tried to gain interest (in the restoration of HMDL 1321) but was not able to convince anyone to help.
What followed was a desperate effort to make the ship ready to sell with the express desire that it would be restored and eventually find its rightful place in a a museum.
We had a brief window of hope (that HDML 1321 may be saved) when the federal police became involved in foiling a plot to use the ship for unlawful practices. We had the hope that after the event the federal police might pass the ship on to an authority with the wherewithal to restore it.
This fell through but with a good outcome for the police, thank goodness!
As every hope of saving this piece of history was slipping through our fingers, a last minute sale could have saved the ship. An offer of $25,000 was an assurance that the 1321 would be saved, but that was a thwarted by its devastating sinking (19 Oct 2016).
This ship was my chance to save an important part of history, my love of things past. The crew who inhabited this wooden ship may be gone, if it is lost then my desire to save it for future generations will be lost also.
We deserve to know what happened way back in 1944 with this ship and its missions to save our forefathers.
That we can touch the hull, see the portholes they looked out of, and in some small way connect across the years, their sacrifices were not in vain!
That is my wish, my desire, my hope!
PS: Not only did the sinking dash my hopes of saving her but it also meant that the harbour authorities will make a demand of us that all salvage costs are borne by us, this is impossible, we have few assets, no equity in our house, and are facing bankruptcy and losing everything.
Good buy and good luck HDML 1321.
|img src: Flikr also view at AWM|
If we can raise the funds to lift this old ship out of the harbour so the cost does not have to be borne by Geddes family it will save not only the HDML 1321 but also save Ms Geddes from bankruptcy and keep her dreams alive by giving this ship a second chance to be restored.
I have not met Ms Geddes however she is not alone in her dreams of saving this ship, my father-in-law, Bro Palmer, is the son of the 1321's captain, Lt Ambrose Ernest Palmer, better known as Ernie.
Bro has also been involved in the efforts to restore her and is running the funding campaign. Since Wednesday when the HDML 1321 sunk many people have been working day and night to find a way to rescue this important piece of our heritage before it is too late and she just becomes a pile of salvage scrap.
How You Can Help #SaveHDML1321You can help us to save her by donating the cost of your next coffee to the Save 1321 - Our Military Heritage gofundme campaign and by getting the word out there simply by sharing on your favourite social media platforms - just click the share buttons down below.
Comments and likes on any posts and articles help too.
Stay appraised of updates on the Save HDML 1321 Fundraiser, Save HDML 1321 Facebook Page or by using the hashtag #SaveHDML1321
Learn more about the adventures of HDML 1321 and her men in the novel The Guns of Machu.
An inspection of the sunken boat was done this morning, the Member for Darwin, Luke Gosling, and an ABC film crew were taken out by Rex Mitchell a local businessman with equipment that could raise the ship.
Update: Tuesday 25 October 2016
They met up with Tracy Geddes who was interviewed for a second time by Dijana Damjanovic.
This interview along with one with Luke Gosling will apparently be aired on the ABC tomorrow night.
Wednesday 26 October 2016
The Darwin Port Authorities have only given until the 6th November 2016 to rescue 1321. That means she could be in the scrap yard by Remembrance Day on the 11th November.
News Articles:Royal Australian Navy: HDML 1321
The New Daily: Uncertain future for sunken WWII boat in Darwin
ABC NEWS :
- World War II boat HDML 1321 sinks off Darwin; owners ordered to remove at own expense
- Future remains uncertain for sunken WWII boat in Darwin Harbour
- TV Feature (no longer available)
NT NEWS: We must save historic boat
MFAME:World War II Boat HDML 1321 Sinks Off Darwin
NichiGoPress: 第二次世界大戦中のボート､ダーウィン港で沈没 (Boat during the Second World War, sank in Darwin harbor) (in Japanese)
E-News: History Sunk
HDML 1321 | MV Rushcutter | Darwin Harbour