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As it Happened

The following lists some of the significant events in Australia’s submarine history. Whilst not comprehensive it is a useful guide for those who are interested.

Our research is ongoing


1st January 1969 Formation of First Australian Submarine Squadron

15th January 1943 Lieutenant Kenneth Hudspeth was appointed Commanding Officer of HMS X-10.

10th January 1969 End of Royal Navy submarine presence in Australia.

31st January 1998 Commissioning of HMAS Farncombe


14th February 1929 HMAS Oxley (I) and HMAS Otway (I) arrived in Sydney

17th February 1994 De-Commissioning of HMAS Otway (II) and Re-dedication of HMAS Onslow

23rd February 2001 Commissioning of HMAS Dechaineux and Commissioning of HMAS Sheean

28th February 1914 Commissioning of HMA submarines AE1 and AE2 at Portsmouth, England


1st March 1967 Australian White Ensign raised on all ships and establishments of the RAN.

4th March 1987 Jolly Roger flown on HMAS Ovens after firing an armed Mark 48 torpedo to sink HMAS Colac.

8th March 1991 Vice Admiral Ian MacDougall appointed Chief of Naval Staff.

17th March 1993 Opening of STSC at HMAS Stirling trained more than 1100 submariners.

27th March 1967 Commissioning of HMAS Oxley.

29th March 2003 Commissioning of HMAS Rankin (Black Knight)


1st April 1928 Commissioning of HMAS OTWAY (1)

8th April 1963 First group of Australians leave to undertake Oberon class submarine training in UK

14th April 1944 Lt M H Shean RANVR awarded DSO for actions when in Command of midget submarine X24 in Norway

18th April 1969 Commissioning of HMAS Ovens

23rd April 1968 Commissioning of HMAS Otway

25th April 1990 75th Anniversary of the Landings at Gallipoli on 25th April 1915.

30th April 1915 AE2 Scuttled in the Sea of Marmara


5th May 1990 Crew of HMAS Oxley had an audience with the Pope.

14th May 1999 De-Commissioning of HMAS Platypus

15th-May 1945 Lieutenant William Euan Littlejohn assumed command of HMS Vox operating out of Sydney.

21 st May 2015 MV Stoker launched. Named after AE2 Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Henry Hugh Gordon Dacre Stoker.

22nd May 1942 Lieutenant William Euan Littlejohn posted to HMS P221 (later HMS Shakespeare).

27th May 1971 Admiralty Board approval to name Submarine 05 Orion and to adopt the badge, motto, and battle honours of    HMS ORION.


6th June 1944 Lt K R Hudspeth RANVR CO Midget sub X20 awarded DSO.

6th to 9th June 1997 Holbrook Celebrations, Dedication of HMAS OTWAY.

10th June 2005 HMAS Rankin awarded Gloucester Cup.

15th June 1977 Commissioning of HMAS Orion.

30th June 1999 Rachel Irving became Australia’s first female submariner when she was awarded her ‘Dolphins’.


10th July 1999 Commissioning of HMAS Waller.

26th July 1926 Lieutenant Norman Shaw was appointed in command of HMS H27. First Australian to command a submarine.

25th July 1966 Naval Board approved the introduction of a distinctive badge for wearing by qualified RAN submarine personnel.

27th July 1996 Commissioning of HMAS Collins.

28th July 1978 Commissioning of HMAS Stirling.

31st July 1945 Lt M H Shean RANVR awarded bar to DSO and Sub-Lieutenant Kenneth Briggs the DSC for Operation Sabre


18th August 1967 Commissioning of HMAS PLATYPUS. Commanding Officer, CMDR WL Owen, RAN and Transfer of 4th Submarine Squadron from RN to RAN.

18th August 1967 Arrival of HMAS OXLEY in Sydney.

18th August 2017 Dedication of a submariners’ memorial at the HMAS Platypus site to honour the 3 submariners who died while serving as members of the Australian submarine force.


10th September 1939 1st Submarine loss in WWII HM submarine Oxley was sunk by error by HM submarine Triton.

14th September 1914 HMA submarine AE1 Lost with all hands.

22nd September 1943 Lieutenant Kenneth Hudspeth commanded X-10 during the attack on the Tirpitz in Kaa Fjord, Norway.

30th September 1919 Lieutenants F E Getting, Norman H Shaw, and six other Australian Officers posted to J Class submarines as Trainees.


3rd October 1996 De-Commissioning HMAS Orion.

7th October 1968 HMAS Otway arrived in Sydney.

8th October 1971 HMAS Otway rescued crew of ONE AND ALL.

14th October 1968 HMAS Oxley first Australian submarine to take part in fleet entry into Sydney Harbour.


7th November 1993 K13 memorial Carlingford Ceremonial divisions.

11th November 1977 HMAS Orion was the first Australian ‘man of war’ to visit a German port.

13th November 1977 Officers and Crew of HMAS Orion attended the Official Remembrance Ceremony at Bremen War Cemetery.

21st November 2019 SWHT Honour Wall, Brisbane Official Unveiling.

23rd November 1980 K13 memorial Carlingford Ceremonial divisions


3rd December 1963 2nd group of Australians leave by plane to undertake Oberon class submarine training in UK.

3rd December 1975 New submarine Otama was launched by Princess Anne.

15th December 1979 HMAS Otama arrived in Australia following a delivery voyage visiting Denmark, Florida, and Mexico.

15th December 2000 De-commissioning of HMAS Otama.

22nd December 1969 Commissioning of HMAS Onslow.

31st December 1914 AE2 departed Albany under tow from transport Berrima