194I-46: Tug HMAS HEROS towed lighter MOMBAH from Sydney to Darwin, then New Guinea - RAN.
226. The former Royal Navy tugs, HMAS HEROS (ex-HMS ST ERTHE) and HMAS ST GILES served in the RAN intermittently between 1940-1946.
In Nov. 1941, HEROS was one of the ships that took part in the search for the lost HMAS SYDNEY [II] off the WA coast, and recovered the famous bullet or shrapnel-riddled carley float containing two life jackets.
Both tugs, 382 tons and 380 tons respectively, were built in Glasgow in 1919 for the Royal Navy, but with the heavy surplus of ship post WWI were sold off into private hands.
HEROS was acquired for the Sydney and Newcastle tug fleet of J. Fenwick and Co Pty Ltd, and her first connection with the RAN was as a hired target tow in 1934 and 1937. Requisitioned and commissioned into the RAN on July 3, 1941, both ships had the fo'c'sles raised to to improve their sea-keeping qualities, and HEROS, armed with a single 4-inch gun, first went back to sea as an anti-submarine patrol vessel based in Fremantle.
Reverting to a tug boat role later, in 1944 HEROS towed the coal storage lighter MOMBAH from Sydney to Darwin, and then to Port Moresby, and assisted towing the floating dock AFD18 from Darwin to Thursday Island via Manus Island.
Returned to her owners in Jan. 1946, she was broken up in Sydney in 1966.
Photo: RAN Official, it appeared in Ross Gillett's 'Australian and New Zealand Warships 1914-1945' [Doubleday Sydney, 1983] p230.