184. After the fall of the Philippines, Fremantle became became one of the world's great submarine bases between 1942-45, and in the Pacific second only to Pearl Harbour. More than 170 submarines - USN, Royal Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy were based at the port over the period, with more than 50 there at any one time.
Making more than 460 sorties from the port they inflicted immense damage on the Japanese supply lines, and made a significant contribution to Japan's defeat.
Why Fremantle? Forced to evacuate their base in Manila, the US Navy had looked at Darwin and the Kimberleys regions of WA, but the towns of northern Australia were being subjected air attack, and the ports suffered the disadvante of a huge tidal range - and cyclones.,
In this photograph we can see the submarine tender USS PELAIS at North Wharf, surrounded by her brood, which included the subs BONEFISH, RASHER, BOWFIN, BLUEFISH, NARWHAL, TINOSA, CREVALLE and COD.
The man who took the photograph, RAN photographer Saxon Fogarty, was as interesting as the ships he photographed.
Born in Perth in 1908, Mr Fogarty joined the RAN at the age of 18, and served on HMAS AUSTRALIA [II], the destroyer VOYAGER [I], and cruiser HMAS CANBERRA [I]: but along with his interest in photography, he also had another life. Aviation.
A licensed pilot, he was eventually sent to the RAF during the war, and ended up flying reconnaissance aircraft off the King George V battleships.
After the war he returned to Australia and for a time has established a photographic studio in Fremantle in the late 1940s. But the pull of the sea must have been strong. In his 40s he joined the Merchant Marine and served on a large number of merchant vessels. And from there, he disappears from our view.
Photo: Saxon Fogarty RAN, from a collection of his works in the State Library of Western Australia the Battye Library]. The photo appears in Lew Lind's book 'The Royal Australian Navy: Historic Events Year By Year' [Reed Books, Sydney, 1982] p211, and other reference sources.