All vessels of the Hollywood Fleet, provided service in aid of the war effort.  Both Lolita and Leilani reached the north coast of New Guinea with Leilani reaching Morotai in north-east Indonesia.  One served on the south-west coast of New Guinea, and at least one served in Darwin during the Japanese bombing raids before she was later joined by two others which conducted various patrol duties along the Arnhem Land Coast.  The remainder continued to protect the ports of Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla.


It is a significant loss, that the commander’s Reports of Proceedings (277) and the ships logs for each vessel have not survived.  If they had, we would know more of their wartime actions including the service of the commanders and crews, and their stories could be properly told.  


The following information for each of the vessels of the Hollywood Fleet, has been compiled from the very few records and newspaper accounts that have survived.  Unfortunately, the records held by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) and National Australian Archives (NAA) are very incomplete and much of the naval history of the Fleet appears to have been lost forever – unless there are undisclosed records still to be released.  


By laboriously working through the National Library online newspaper collection, war time logs for the ports of Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin and Madang, reports from other HMAS ships, and the few Records of Proceedings that are held in the AWM, the following information for each vessel has been pieced together.  


Dates for requisition and commissioning have been gathered from the Sydney Log, (278) the Navy Lists (279) and from the files that are available for each vessel.


Despite my searches, I am sure there is further information to be discovered and added to their stories.


For six of the vessels; Kiara, Leilani, Miramar, Toomeree, Winbah and Yarroma, their histories simply peter out.  What happened to these vessels?  Have any survived?  Perhaps someone knows something of them!  It would be terrific to complete their stories.


In addition, whilst the Navy Lists provide the names for the commanders of each vessel throughout their navy service, there is no such list to identify the sailors who served on each throughout the war.  

However, it may one day be possible to prepare crew lists.  


Each sailor was required to be paid a salary, and those payments were made through the shore station to which each vessel was always assigned.  The payments were always recorded in the shore station’s ‘Ships Ledgers’, together with the names of each sailor and their vessel.  It is conceivable that by trawling through the Ledgers, accurate crew lists could be compiled.  But, there are hundreds of these voluminous accounting ledgers, many which have never been examined and are yet to be released by the National Archives for public access.


Whilst I contemplate the enormity of that task, I will continue my search for the missing Reports of Proceedings, War Diaries and Logs for each vessel, and will continue to collect additional stories and information regarding the vessels.  Please contact me if you have any further information to add to these histories.  Your assistance will be welcomed.


Commissioned ships of the Royal Australian Navy or vessels of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol

It appears to some authors, interested observers and members of the Naval community, that
Lolita and her fellow vessels of the ‘Hollywood Fleet’, were vessels of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP) and were often referred to as ‘just one of the Napies’. (280)  This is incorrect, as each of the thirteen vessels of the Hollywood Fleet were owned by the Commonwealth of Australia and commissioned as His Majesty’s Australian Ships of the Royal Australian Navy as Channel Patrol Boats (CPBs).  Unlike the Hollywood Fleet vessels (and other requisitioned and purchased vessels), NAP vessels were owned by private individuals or companies.

During 1944 as the threat of war activities in Australian waters were significantly reducing, the Hollywood Fleet vessels were crewed partially or entirely by NAP personnel, despite the vessels remaining in Commonwealth ownership as commissioned vessels of the RAN.  Some of the Hollywood Fleet vessels were transferred to the NAP.

By 1945, the remaining vessels of the Hollywood Fleet were transferred to the newly formed Coastal Craft Section, and were once again commanded by Sub-Lieutenants or Lieutenants of the RANR or RANVR.

For further information, see: Appendices – Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP)

277 Commanders of all commissioned naval ships and establishments are required to submit, at least every quarter or more often, Reports of Proceedings for the previous period.  The reports are addressed to the Naval Board and proceed to the Board via the chain of command so as to ensure all necessary commanders are informed of the activities of each ship.  Other than a single file for a limited period towards the end of 1944 and 1945, none of the earlier reports (if they were submitted) for each of the vessels of the Hollywood fleet have been identified as being held, either within the National Archives or with the Australian War Memorial.  Further enquiries have been initiated with the Navy in the hope the reports may still exist and have not yet been passed to Archives for safe keeping and made accessible to the public.  The loss of these Reports, if they were submitted, not only for the vessels of the Hollywood Fleet, but for all other vessels and establishments would be a significant loss regarding our proper understanding of the role and activities of the ships and men who served.

278 NAA: AWM78, 418/1: Sydney Log

279 http://www.navy.gov.au/media-room/publications/navy-list

280 For example see the Navy Daily published on 2 June 2017, ‘Nations combine to remember losses in Sydney Harbour’ regarding the 75th commemoration of the ‘Battle for Sydney’ which refers to ‘Navy auxiliary patrol craft’.