The following real estate and motor vehicle advertisements from The Sydney Morning Herald 13, 23, 30 January 1940 will give readers an opportunity to understand the value of the vessels that were being requisitioned by the Navy, to form the Hollywood Fleet;




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The following short summary has been compiled from a document authored by a ‘Mr Norman’, dated 30 September 1946, held by the Australian War Memorial – AWM69, 23/14 – Naval Auxiliary Patrol: Its origin, development and activities.  Mr Norman lists a series of ‘Navy Office Files’ on which he relied to prepare his document.


Additional information has been included from a document authored by former Lieutenant RANR Richard E Breydon, Commander of HMAS Silver Cloud and the Hollywood Fleet at the time of the Battle of Sydney Harbour.  The Document is titled ‘Events leading up to formation of C.C. [Coastal Command] Section’ and was prepared for the Naval Board.  His document was forwarded to Hermon Gill on 10 November 1946 with an instruction, that if there was ‘nothing of interest’, it should be destroyed.  It was not destroyed and can be found in NAA: AWM69, 85/27.


According to the abovementioned documents, the first organization, the Volunteer Coastal Patrol (VCP) was founded in March 1938 and at that time consisted of ‘patriotically’ minded yachtsmen so that in the event of a national emergency, their services would be of value to the defence authorities.  Upon the outbreak of war, the VCP received a substantial influx of recruits.


In the first nine months of the war, the VCP was looked upon by the Military (Eastern Command) as a useful adjunct to their service.  The Patrol was highly regarded by General Sturdee of the GOC Eastern Command and Brigadier Murray, where it is said, they did their utmost to obtain recognition for the patrol.


In June 1940 on the entry of Italy into the war, the NSW Police who had been entrusted with the task of securing Sydney Harbour, approached the VCP for assistance.  As a result, the VCP was recognized by the NSW government.


At the time, a smaller organization, the National Emergency Service Yachtsmen’s Auxiliary (NESYA) was formed in Sydney.


A VCP unit was also established in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria in 1941.  By August 1942, the Victorian Patrol had over 100 vessels ranging from 60 foot auxiliary yachts to 20 foot open motor boats.


By May 1941, the Sydney based VCP had a membership of approximately 400, with local skippers being appointed at harbours and river inlets along the whole NSW coastline.  Tentative arrangements for the further expansion of the VCP had been made at 22 ports in Victoria and one in Queensland.


Each night a number of vessels were detailed for patrol duty.  A commissioned sailor accompanied each vessel.  Members wore a Patrol uniform of a blue shirt, grey pants and a white yachting cap with the patrol’s badge.


In May 1941, Scrivener of the NESYA proposed to Rear Admiral Muirhead-Gould, the formation of the Naval Auxiliary Service (NAS).  The proposal was presented to the Navy Minister, W M Hughes who supported the proposal in principle.  On 17 June 1941, the formation of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP) was approved in principle by the Naval Board.  The Board’s Minute includes, ‘The object of the organization is to provide an Auxiliary Patrol to utilise the resources of private owners of yachts, launches, fishing vessels and other types of suitable vessels at various points around the coastline of Australia for defence purposes.’  The Board also accepted liability for death and injury of members on duty on various terms, but no liability would be accepted for damage to boats on service.


On 7 August, Scrivener was appointed State ‘Skipper’ in NSW by Muirhead-Gould.  At the same time, Minister Hughes called for applicants to contact the designated recruiting officers.


A controversy erupted between the new organization and the members of the VCP and NESYA, where members felt their contributions were ignored and felt resentment to the new NAP.  After significant negative newspaper stories, the controversy mellowed and the NAP expanded.


Norman’s document indicates that in April 1942, the NAP was ‘transferred to the RANVR’ and was thereafter known as the RANVR(P) or RANVR(NAP) with the same uniforms and rank badges of the RANVR being worn with personnel being under the naval regulation.  The Newcastle newspaper (514) reported on 17 April 1942 that an amending regulation was issued by the Minister for the Navy, Mr Makin to implement the change.


By October 1942, the total strength of the NAP had increased to over 3,000 members with 662 vessels.  Throughout the period of the NAP, the Navy requisitioned, purchased and commissioned many NAP vessels into the Navy, including HMAS Marynong on which John Miller Blunt served.


On 27 March 1944, the Naval Board issued directions that ‘General Service Personnel’ were to be withdrawn as early as possible from Miramar, Yarroma and Winbah and replaced with RANVR(NAP) crews.  They also directed the same for other Channel Patrol Boats remaining after ‘meeting the requirements for 2 CPB’s for New Guinea’.  This was at a time when the possibility of enemy action against harbour installations and ships, along the Australian coastline, had significantly diminished.  The Board also directed that CPB’s and NAP craft ‘as can be manned with available NAP personnel are to be retained in commission’ and that any vessels that could not be so manned, were to be ‘paid off into reserve’.  The Board recognized that such changes would curtail patrol activities.


From June 1944, the NAP was reduced to a minimum.  Many of the boats that had been purchased by the Navy for duties were re-sold as being no longer required for naval purposes.


In August 1944, all security patrols were abolished, and the services of NAP personnel were used only to fill unexpected vacancies in the crews of the ‘night duty NAP boats’.


In September 1944, the Coastal Craft Section (CCS) came into operation to embrace all coastal craft then in commission, vessels classified as ‘seagoing’ for operational purposes and vessels manned from ‘FND’.  Former NAP vessels that had been taken over and commissioned by the Navy were included, along with the Channel Patrol Boats of the Hollywood Fleet and other Channel Patrol Boats that remained in service at that time.  The formation of the CCS was promulgated by Chief of Naval Office (CNO) with a ‘list showing the names of the vessels included in the Section’ appended to the CNO.  Unfortunately that list has not been found.


Command of the CCS was under the Staff Officer (Coastal Craft) (SOCC) at the Navy Office, with further SOCC’s at each relevant port.  The functions carried out by SOCC and staff included; the general administration of all Coastal Craft (CC), operation of CC and the appointment of all officers of CC vessels and all other matters involving Coastal Craft.


The Section operated for more than a year.


By 28 February 1945, the CCS had command over; 33 Fairmile Motor Launches (MLs), 28 Harbour Defence Motor Launches (HDMLs), 20 Air Sea Rescue vessels (ASRs), 75 Motor Patrol Boats (including Channel Patrol Boats and NAP vessels), 8 Service Reconnaissance Department Craft and 41 other miscellaneous vessels. (515)


On 17 July 1945, Rear-Admiral G D Moore, then the Flag Officer in Charge Sydney praised the work of the NAP and read a letter from the Commander-in-Chief of the British Fleet, Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser thanking the patrol for their services.  


The above is not a definitive history of the VCP, NESYA and NAP, and solely relies on the two papers by Norman and Breydon without reference to original sources.  


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Each midget submarine was numbered on the hull below the conning tower.


Photograph of Midget 21 after being lifted from Taylors Bay and placed on Clark Island. (516)


On 6 June 1942, Muirhead-Gould confirmed to the Naval Board that the midget submarine caught in the boom net had been identified as ‘Fourteen’. (517)


Accordingly, Muirhead-Gould in his final report of 16 July 1942, referred to both of these midget submarines as ‘Midget No. 21’ and Midget No. 14’.  As the third submarine had disappeared from the harbour and was not found, Muirhead-Gould was unaware of its number and referred to it as ‘Midget A’. (518)


The same nomenclature were used by Hermon Gill in his 1968 official account. (519)


Despite receiving the ‘official’ Japanese account of the submarine attack on Sydney Harbour (520) in 1953 via the Department of External Affairs, which may have provided a different nomenclature, Gill continued to use the nomenclature adopted by Muirhead-Gould.


However, a copy of a Japanese account of the Battle titled ‘Attack of Sydney harbour by Special Submarine Boats (Midget Submarine) (521) contained in the Carruther’s Collection at Sea Power Centre – Australia, uses the numbering of the mother submarines – I-22, I-24, I-27 and in describing the attack, refers to ‘Matsuo Boat’, ‘Chuma Boat’ and ‘Ban Boat’.

Carruthers in his 1982 and 2006 (522) accounts use a combination of commander’s names and mother submarine numbers whilst referring to ‘Midget A’ and ‘Midget 21’ on the Loop signature charts.


After describing the ‘naming and numbering’ of the midget submarines as ‘endlessly confusing’, and providing an account of the confusion, Grose in 2007 (523) confirmed for the purposes of his account, ‘the midgets will be identified by the manes of their commanders:  Chuman’s midget (M-27 or Ha-14 or M-14 or I-27); Matsu’s midget (M-22 or Ha-21 or M-21 or I-22 or Midget ‘B’): and ban’s midget (M-28 or Ha-24 or I-24 or Midget ‘A’)’ and finishes with a ‘Whew!’.


Despite the nomenclature used by Muirhead-Gould’s final report, and Gill’s ‘official account’ (published by the Australian War Memorial), the Australian War Memorial’s current display of the midget submarine perpetuates the confusion by referring to M27 instead of Midget 14, and M22 instead of Midget 21.


The issue of the nomenclature was an issue in 2013 before the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal. (524)  The Decision at paragraph 11 considered the issue:


The various archival references, Australian War Memorial documents and other sources use different nomenclature for each of the three midget submarines.  For the purposes of this review, table 1 lists the nomenclature.  To avoid confusion, the Tribunal uses the term ‘Midget 14’ (Sub C) to further describe the submarine at the centre of CWO Anderson’s action.


A reference was cited to the AWM Australia-Japan Research Project. (525)  The referenced website remains active however the embeded links are inoperative.  It is unclear what information from the source, if any, assisted the Tribunal.  However, it is noted a quoted reference to the attack, used the terms ‘Chuman’s vessel’ and ‘Matsuo’s vessel’.


The following table was included in the Tribunal Decision;



Throughout the decision, the Tribunal used ‘Midget 14’ and ‘Midget 21’.  In addition for the third submarine the tribunal included ‘Midget 24 (referred to in older documents as Midget A)’.


Given each of the midget submarines 14 and 21 were named on the hull as 14 and 21, it is entirely appropriate to use those numbers, otherwise we may as well abandon the names given to any vessel, and simply refer to them by the commanders name – ‘Walker’s vessel’ instead of Lolita, followed by ‘Small’s vessel’ and ‘Anderson’s vessel’ instead of HMAS Lolita.


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


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‘On the night of 31 May 1942, three Japanese midget submarines entered Sydney Harbour intending to attack Allied warships.  They had been launched from a fleet of 5 large I-Class submarines lying about 12 kilometres off the coast.  Previously a float plane from one of the submarines had made a reconnaissance flight over the harbour.


A partially completed anti-torpedo boom defence net stretched across the harbour from a point below here, at Georges Head (top of photograph), to Green Point.  The first submarine into the harbour, Midget 14, launched from I-27, became entangled in the boom net.  It was detected but before it could be attacked, Lieutenant Chuma Kenshi and Petty Officer Omori Takeshi set off their craft’s demolition charges, killing themselves.


A second submarine, Midget A (from I-24), crewed by Sub-Lieutenant Ban Katsuhisa and Petty Officer Ashibe Mamoru, evaded the boom net and fired all its torpedoes at the cruiser USS Chicago.  Both missed, but one sank the barracks ship HMAS Kuttabul, with the loss of 21 naval ratings.  Midget A and its crew have never been found.


A third submarine, Midget 21 (from I-22), crewed by Sub-Lieutenant Matsuo Leiu and Petty Officer Tsuzuku Masao, was destroyed by depth-charges in Taylors bay before it could fire its torpedoes.  Both men shot themselves.


When the midget submarines failed to return, the “mother” submarines shelled Newcastle and the eastern suburbs of Sydney in the early hours of Monday 8 June, before beginning to sink shipping off the east coast of Australia.


The bodies of four Japanese submariners were recovered and given a funeral with full naval honours.  Their ashes were returned to japan shortly afterwards.


A composite midget submarine, comprising sections of the two craft salvaged, is now on display at the Australian war Memorial in Canberra.


Erected by Mosman RSL, Mosman Historical Society, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and NP & WS 19 January, 2006.’


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F - HMAS LOLITA – List of Commanding Officers


Warrant officerHERBERT S ANDERSON, RANR(S)Appointed 22 November 1941
Sub-LieutenantNORMAN K COX, RANVRAppointed 1 October 1942
LieutenantREGINALD T ANDREW, RANVRAppointed 17 November 1942
Sub-LieutenantKEITH A ROSS, RANVRAppointed 1 May 1944
LieutenantJ TRIM, RANRAppointed 21 January 1945


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Following is a list of commissioned Channel Patrol Boats that served in the Royal Australian Navy as at 29 February 1944.  The list has been extracted from a document authored by ‘Mr Norman’ titled ‘Ships that have served in the Royal Australian Navy – From its inception in October 1911 to September, 1949’. (526)  The document is dated 8 November 1949.  


The accuracy of the list has not been verified.


The thirteen vessels of the Hollywood Fleet are highlighted.


HMAS Arcadia

HMAS Coongoola

HMAS Cygnus

HMAS Esmeralda


HMAS Grelka

HMAS John Hardy

HMAS Kiara


HMAS Kwato

HMAS Leilani

HMAS Lolita

HMAS Lucy Star

HMAS Lysander


HMAS Marlean

HMAS Martindale

HMAS Moreton

HMAS Miramar


HMAS Morya

HMAS Nepean

HMAS Nereus

HMAS Sagittas

HMAS San Michele

HMAS Seamist

HMAS Silver Cloud

HMAS Steady Hour

HMAS Toomeree

HMAS West Wind

HMAS Winbah

HMAS Yarroma

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Source - NAA: MP138/1, 603/246/6400: Lolita – Sinking due to explosion in engine room 13/6/45., p.53 to 57



514 Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate, Friday 17 April 1942, p.3

515 NAA: AWM188, 62: Ships that have served in the Royal Australian Navy., Research by Mr Norman - Completed 8 November 1949.

516 Photograph from Podcast – ‘S1E1 - Midget Submarines - The Attack On Sydney Harbour being an Analysis by expert panel of the 1942 Japanese Midget Submarine Attack on Sydney Harbour. Convenor Professor Tom Frame with panel Vice Admiral Peter Jones, Rear Admiral Peter Briggs and Dr David Stevens’.  Source of photograph not cited.  Viewable on Youtube.

517 NAA: B6121, 162K, p.155

518 NAA:MP1049/5, 2026/21/79, p.23 to 40

519 Gill, Hermon., Royal Australian Navy 1942-1945, Vol. 2, p.64 to 74

520 NAA: AWM69, 88/3.,  Note only one page remains in the file.  The remainder of the document is missing.  

521 Japanese account of the Battle titled ‘Attack of Sydney harbour by Special Submarine Boats (Midget Submarine)’.  This is a translation of ‘Chapter 6’ of an un-named document.  The source is not cited.

522 Carruthers, Steven L., Australia Under Siege: Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942, First Edition, Solus Books., 1982.,  Carruthers, Steven L., Japanese Submarine Raiders 1942, 2nd Edition, Casper Publications Pty Ltd., 2006

523 Grose, Peter., A very Rude Awakening – The night the Japanese Midget Submarines came to Sydney Harbour, Allen and Unwin., 2007

524 Report of the Review of a Decision by the Department of Defence regarding recognition for Commissioned Warrant Officer Herbert Spencer Anderson (Deceased)


526 NAA: AWM188, 62: Ships that have served in the Royal Australian Navy., Research by Mr Norman - Completed 8 November 1949.