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Armidale: class name for Australia's new patrol boats.



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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon. Robert Hill Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

 

29 Nov 2002 MIN 696/02

MEDIA RELEASE

Armidale: class name for Australia’s new patrol boats

Australia’s new patrol boats will be known as the Armidale class, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.

Senator Hill made the announcement to coincide with 60th commemoration events of the sinking of the original HMAS Armidale.

"There has been strong community support to continue the Armidale name and its proud links to the Royal Australian Navy," Senator Hill said.

"The Government has agreed to the recommendation of the Chief of Navy and it is a great honour to announce the Armidale class for the replacement patrol project, given the proud history and heroic feats of the original Armidale corvette."

Armidale (1) was a Bathurst Class corvette with a crew of 149. Her initial service was as an escort vessel protecting Australian coastal and mainland to New Guinea convoys.

She was sunk by enemy action on 1 December 1942 during operations off Betano, south coast of Timor. Of the 49 survivors, only five are still alive today.

Armidale is also significant for the heroic actions of Ordinary Seaman Edward "Teddy" Sheean who, while wounded and after "abandon ship" had been ordered, returned to the 20mm gun and strapped himself to the weapon.

He destroyed a Japanese aircraft before going down with the ship, still firing. The Collins Class submarine is named in memory of his heroic efforts.

The first of the Royal Australian Navy’s Armidale Class replacement patrol boats is to be delivered during the second half of 2004, consistent with the Government’s 2000 Defence White Paper commitments.

Tenders for the new patrol boats are currently being evaluated by Defence. The new fleet will replace the current fleet of 15 Fremantle Class Patrol Boats and will provide the Royal Australian Navy with a more capable, modern and reliable vessel for protecting Australia’s coastline.

Special commemorative functions will be held this weekend in Armidale.

 

MEDIA NOTE: Stills of the original HMAS Armidale and Teddy Sheean are available at www.minister.defence.gov.au/media/armidale

 

Background information on the original HMAS Armidale is available at

www.awm.gov.au/cruelsea/background.htm

Media contacts:

Minister’s office: Sascha Meldrum 08 8237 7920 or 0409 034 241

Department: Andy Anderson 02 6265 2913 or 0419 621 753

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