Occasional Paper Series No: 2 - Nobility Down Under: How the Duchess became an Australian

The loss of HMAS Voyager after a collision with HMAS Melbourne off Jervis Bay on 10 February 1964 left 82 men dead and created a serious operational problem for the RAN. On completing her work-up, Voyager was due to return to South East Asia with HMAS Vampire for service in the Strategic Reserve. With the loss of HMAS Voyager, it seemed the best solution was to order Vendetta to accompany Vampire to the Strategic Reserve in May. HMAS Quiberon, which was to pay off, would remain in commission. She would be refitted in early June at Williamstown Naval Dockyard and relieve Vendetta at the end of the year. This action was subsequently agreed by the Naval Board. Yet, the RAN was still one destroyer short of what it needed to fulfill extant strategic demands and long-standing operational commitments. A crisis was looming.

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Professor Tom Frame
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