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Australia Acquires British Warship

  • October 25th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

choules-warship.jpgThe Australian government has taken over ownership of a former British amphibious warfare ship, Largs Bay, as first replacement  for the flotilla of support vessels now passing out of service.

The ship is to be re-named HMAS Choules, in honour of the late, former Chief Petty Officer Claude Choules, who died in Perth last May, at 110 – thought to have been the last survivor of World War 1.

claude_choules.jpgMr Choules, born in England, served in both World wars; in the Royal Navy, and after 1932, in Australia, the RAN.

The ship was one of four Bay Class vessels commissioned by the Royal Navy, and was sold to Australia for A$100-million, effective from 20.10.11, under current  British government austerity measure – through a program called the Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Designated in Britain as a Landing Ship Dock, it is 16160-tonnes, capable of carrying 24 tanks or 150 trucks.

In five years of service to date, Largs Bay played a leading role assisting with the earthquake emergency in Haiti early in 2010.

After modifications for tropical conditions and construction of a helicopter hanger it is due to go into service with Australia at the end of the year.

Addition of the Choules will plug an embarrassing gap in the auxiliary fleet, with two ships, the Manoora and Kanimbla out of service, leaving only the smaller, and also deteriorating Tobruk.

None of those ships was seaworthy for deployment to assist with cyclone relief off Queensland last February.

Later HMAS Choules will be accompanied by two larger ships built in Spain, the Canberra and Adelaide.

canberra-ship.jpgThe amphibious warfare vessels at 20000 tonnes will each be capable of carrying 1000 troops with helicopters and vehicles.

The first, HMAS Canberra, was launched on 17.2.11; after sea trials it will sail to Australia for fitting out for its military role.

See EUAustralia Online, “Australian warship launch in Spain”, 18.2.11.

Point of history: Of several purchases from the Royal Navy for Australia, one that nearly happened, but did not, was that of the aircraft carrier Invincible. In 1982, set to be transferred to Australia, but suddenly needed for the Falklands War, it was held onto – the Fraser government in Canberra agreeing to withdraw from the deal.


Reuters, London, “Last war combat vet …”, 5.5.11., (25.10.11).

Wikipedia, SF, “RFA Largs Bay” (L3006),, (25.10.11).

Pictures   Wikipedia – HMAS Choules, namesake Claude Choules, HMAS Canberra design.