Lolita and the Hollywood Fleet - Book Cover

 

 

On the 22nd of November 1941, the Sydney based motor cruiser, Lolita, was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Lolita.  She was one of thirteen ‘pleasure’ cruisers requisitioned by the Navy to form its Sydney fleet of Channel Patrol Boats (CPB).  That fleet became known as the Hollywood Fleet.  Throughout the years of war in the Pacific, those Channel Patrol Boats with their crews worked to protect Australia.  Several, including HMAS Lolita, fought in the Battle of Sydney Harbour.  At least one of the fleet operated in Darwin during the Japanese bombing raids.  She was later joined by two others.  Another served on the south-west coast of New Guinea while two others reached the north coast of New Guinea with one eventually serving in Indonesia.

 

One of the vessels which served on the north coast of New Guinea was HMAS Lolita before she was destroyed by a massive explosion.  That explosion took the lives of two naval mechanics and injured others.  Three other cruisers of the Hollywood Fleet were destroyed whilst on naval service.  Another was gutted by fire whilst on patrol, but was salvaged and rebuilt and remarkably, remains afloat today along with two other vessels of the fleet.  The whereabouts of the other six, remain to be discovered.

 

This is my historical record of Lolita and HMAS Lolita, and the other motor cruisers that formed the Hollywood Fleet.  It is also the record of how Lolita and her commander and crew were written out of history, and how they and their sister ships of the Hollywood Fleet and their crews, deserve their recognition and place in Australia’s history.

 

Please feel free to pass this website on to your friends and those who have an interest in these matters.  I hope the story of these remarkable vessels and the men who served on them can be shared by a wider audience.

 

William Blunt

May 2020

 

 

     

 


NEWS UPDATES

July 2020

Vale Kenneth (Ken) Brown
Plaque for HMAS Lolita
Submission calls for Awards Inquiry



 

 

WILLIAM BLUNT

 

First published May 2020

 

Copyright © William Blunt 2020

 

The moral rights of the author have been asserted.

 

All rights reserved.  Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, research, criticism or review, without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission.  Enquires should be made to the publisher.

 

ISBN 978 0 6488420 0 2

_______________________________

 

For information regarding this publication, contact the author at

hmaslolita@gmail.com

 

Cover photo:  HMAS Lolita,

Courtesy Royal Australian Navy Sea Power Centre - Australia

_______________________________

 

 

1945 Channel Patrol Boat Lolita by Norman Louis (Dick) Willis, 1984

‘1945 Channel Patrol Boat "Lolita" leaving Madang.  "Lolita" was on boom-guard duty in SYDNEY at the time the Jap midgets attacked shipping’ 

Painting and title by Norman Louis (Dick) Willis, 1984

 

This painting is perhaps the last image of HMAS Lolita representing her on patrol out of Madang, New Guinea.  The painting is based on the cover photograph, but with a background representing the landform surrounding Madang.  Unbeknown to Dick, for her service in New Guinea, Lolita had been painted by the Navy with a black hull and yellow superstructure.  It is unknown why Dick Willis painted HMAS Lolita, and in particular in this setting, but it appears he had some connection with her.  Courtesy Willis Estate and the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum.

 

Contents

 

AUTHOR’S NOTES

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

1- INTRODUCTION

2 - LOLITA

3 - NAVY NEEDS SHIPS

4 - THE BATTLE OF SYDNEY HARBOUR

5 - POST BATTLE OPERATIONS

6 - THE LONG VOYAGE NORTH TO NEW GUINEA

7 - THE EXPLOSION

8 - THE AFTERMATH

9 - BRADLEYS HEAD

10 -     ANDERSON’S APPEAL

11 -     REG’S SUBMARINES

12 -     CORRECTING THE RECORDS

13 - WRITTEN OUT OF HISTORY

14 - AWARDS

15 - BATTLE HONOURS

16 - RECOGNITION

17 - THE HOLLYWOOD FLEET

HMAS Esmeralda (formerly Tanda)

HMAS Kiara (formerly Penelope)

HMAS Leilani (formerly Dawn)

HMAS Marlean

HMAS Miramar

HMAS Nereus

HMAS Seamist

HMAS Silver Cloud

HMAS Steady Hour

HMAS Toomeree

HMAS Winbah

HMAS Yarroma

HMAS Yarroma Postscript

APPENDICES

A - COMPARATIVE PURCHASING VALUE

B - NAVAL AUXILIARY PATROL (NAP)

C - MIDGET SUBMARINE NOMENCLATURE

D - MUIRHEAD-GOULD’S THIRD REPORT - APPENDIX VI, Recommendations for Recognition of Personnel‘

E - INFORMATION PANEL AT GEROGES HEAD

F - HMAS LOLITA – List of Commanding Officers

G - CHANNEL PATROL BOATS

H - SURVEY REPORT OF LOLITA

BIBLIOGRAPHY


Note: Photographs reflect the quality of the original photographs

 



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Updated 14 June 2020 - Chapter numbers included

Updated 8 July 2020 - News Updates included above