Purfylle: Will the WWII Ship HDML 1321 Be Destroyed Days Before Remembrance Day?

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Will the WWII Ship HDML 1321 Be Destroyed Days Before Remembrance Day?


There are just a four days left before Darwin Port send salvage teams in to lift the HDML 1321 from the bottom of the harbour where she sank at her mooring during the night of the 19th October. 


She will then be scrapped to recover cost unless funds can be raised for a private salvage team.


Last we heard a request for an extension of time to raise funds for private salvage was being submitted to the Port. We are all eager to know what the status is in regards to the historic ship HDML 1321.

The situation is precarious at best for her right now as negotiations with Darwin Port for an extension of time continue to remain unresolved.

The current deadline to have the HDML1321 privately lifted from the water is 6 November 2016, just 5 days before Remembrance Day.


Luke Gosling Australian Politician and retired Commando has taken a personal interest in the vessel, putting on his wetsuit and inspecting her in person as reported by The New Daily.

The Royal Australian Navy have responded to the ship's plight by making the history of HDML 1321 available to us all.

Informal portrait of PA/2957 Telegraphist Ronald James Reynolds (left) and Leading Seaman Clayton at Coast Watcher Camp Alexhafen, New Guinea, just prior to the ill fated raid on Muschu Island, off the coast of New Guinea, on 11 April 1945.
Informal portrait of PA/2957 Telegraphist Ronald James Reynolds (left) and Leading Seaman Clayton at Coast Watcher Camp Alexhafen, New Guinea, just prior to the ill fated raid on Muschu Island, off the coast of New Guinea, on 11 April 1945.

The Returned & Services League of Australia WA Branch Incorporated have also added their voice to sharing the situation HDML 1321 finds herself in.

Even the Japanese have taken an interest.

Informal portrait of Officer Cook Namma Will Will from Mussau Island and Engineer Petty Officer R Swan (possibly S/4450 Roy Allen Swan) on board Motor Launch (ML) 1321, used by Z Special Unit.
Informal portrait of Officer Cook Namma Will Will from Mussau Island and Engineer Petty Officer R Swan (possibly S/4450 Roy Allen Swan) on board Motor Launch (ML) 1321, used by Z Special Unit.

HDML 1321 is clearly an important part of Australian History so why is Darwin Port remaining so inflexible in regards to the time frame to remove her? 


The Port is responsible for maintaining a safe harbour by ensuring shipwrecks are removed in a timely manner, nor can the Port be expected to foot the bill to remove the ship, however surely a little leeway in adherence to the usual time frames of removal would be considered gracious and good PR in this instance?


"The situation is becoming somewhat tense with the Darwin Port Administration not seeming to comprehend the historical significance of this vessel.
We are attempting to get the message through to the Chinese owned Landbridge Group, (who now leases the Port of Darwin)  however we seem to be striking cultural obstacles. We will continue pressing them until they understand.
We have a plan to put forward to them once we get approval from the owners. This would involve our fund paying for salvage fees until the debt is cleared, provided the vessel is quickly raised and secured on land in a safe area. This would involve extended credit and a certain amount of trust on Landbridge's behalf.

THE AIM of the HDML1321 FUND
Our aim is to purchase, restore to wartime condition and donate the vessel for display at a maritime or war museum.
This vessel is the first Harbour Defence Motor Launch (HDML) built in Australia and the last existing example in the country.  Of all the HDMLs to serve in the Australian navy during WW2, it is arguably the one with the most outstanding record.
1321 played an important role with the Coastwatchers and "Z" Special Commando units in New Guinea waters during WW 2, including participation in Operation Copper in April 1945, where only one Z Special Commando survived out of eight men inserted onto Muschu Island off Wewak New Guinea.
This project will be conducted in a number of stages. Stage 1 ($50K - estimate has been revised after a dive inspection) is to raise the vessel from Darwin Harbor where it sank on the 19th October, and place it on dry land where it can be inspected and a work plan and cost estimate  created for Stage 2 - the restoration to WW2 fit as a dry land display.
Once raised, hopefully a permanent home for the vessel can be found...candidates include Hobart City where the ship was built, the Australian War Memorial,  the Sydney Maritime Museum and the Darwin War Museum. Offers are being made to this organisations - the ship to be donated, fully restored and delivered at no charge.
I believe it is important that this vital part of our history is preserved."
Bro Palmer
 
excerpt from Save1321 GoFundMe campaign

The HDML 1321 was used to transport Z Special Forces Commandos for Operation Copper. 


Below Sapper Mick Dennis pays his respects to fallen Z Special Forces Soldiers.

'Today was marvellous. I must appreciate everything the Army did. Their service was great, their actions were perfect, it was a wonderful send off for two of the greatest boys you'd ever meet."  Sapper Mick Dennis was the sole survivor of Operation Copper.
LEST WE FORGET

The need to start the fundraiser to have the ship lifted from the harbour was sudden and there was no time for planning a campaign. As such the ship's owner, Tracy Geddes, and the Palmer family are very pleased with the very generous donations received from the public within such a short time frame. It is their hope that some more substantial donations can be secured from organisations that have demonstrated an interest in saving the vessel and we will keep you informed as progress is made.

How you can help: 
Tweet | Like | Donate use hashtag #saveHDML1321

3 comments:

  1. hopefully we can get over the line

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  2. Money runs the world, and it makes me sick in situations like this. I've been reading more and more about the history of HDML1321, and how important she is/was. I especially enjoyed the story of the cannons from the P39 - it reminds me of the adventures of my friend who was a WW2 veteran. We owe it to her crew to save her.

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  3. Oh, Stella, you and the Geddes family have invested so much time, and heart, and them-money! I sure y'all can pull off a miracle, and save her!

    ReplyDelete