HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

3 September 2015

The War comes to Jervis Bay -1942


In 1942 Japanese submarines hunted the sea lanes off the south east Australian coast in an attempt to disrupt coastal trade.
In just over 24 hours three vessels were sunk on the south coast,  two near Jervis Bay, one near Tathra.

This is the story about one of those ships,  the  SS Coastal Farmer.

The Coastal Farmer was a USA built iron screw steam ship,  3290 tons, 324ft x 46.2ft x 25.2.

She left Brisbane heading for Melbourne in February 1942,  the Coastal Farmer was passing Jervis Bay when she was torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-11, the torpedo’s wake was spotted by the Coastal Farmers lookouts just before the torpedo struck amidships, she was then struck again by a second,  the captain ordered everyone to abandon ship,  the Coastal Farmer sunk within 20 minutes,  one man was killed.  The submarine  surfaced and played a searchlight over the survivors without molesting them.

The radio operator was unable to get a distress signal away because of the damage to the radio equipment,  the next day the survivors were  spotted by a plane and were picked up by an RAAF Crash Boat and landed at Jervis Bay, at 0200 on July 21, 1942.
The Coastal Farmer  is noted as being a part of the Pensacola Convoy landing the supplies and troops intended for the Philippines in Darwin,  after being diverted on the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The ship became even more notable being the first of only three ships successfully running the Japanese blockade into the Philippines.

Ref: http://home.comcast.net/~cshortridge/MERSHIPHIS/AMERSHIPL/SS_Coast_Farmer.pdf


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