The Corvette Veterans Club was first formed in April 1979, by Bob McGavin, who placed an enquiry in the Royal Navy Tribune, for any men who worked during, and on the boat of the HMAS Whyalla Corvette in Australia to contact him. To Bob’s surprise, there were numerous responses to his enquiry. Bob got in contact with a number of ex-crewmen from HMAS Whyalla and crewmen from other Corvettes, including HMAS Castlemaine.
Bob decided to hold a reunion at the Corvette Veterans Club and was overwhelmed by an attendance of over 50 ex-crew members. Today the Corvette Veterans Club has over 500 members in Australia, and another 30 located across the world.
The club meets quarterly with several other social and fundraising events held throughout the year. Reunions are held every second year and shared between states. Details are circulated to every member in a regular newsletter (every 3 months – quarterly).
Full membership of the club is open to all who served in the Flower Class Corvettes, and other Class Corvettes. Club membership is also open to the relatives of full members.
The club strives to keep alive the memory of those who fought and sailed on WWII Corvettes and educate its members and others about WWII Corvette history.
The Bathurst class corvettes were a class of general purpose vessels produced in Australia during World War II. Originally classified as minesweepers, but widely referred to as corvettes, the Bathurst class vessels fulfilled a broad anti-submarine, anti-mine, and convoy escort role.
Sixty Bathurst class corvettes were built in eight Australian shipyards to an Australian design. 36 were constructed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), while 20 were built on British Admiralty orders but manned and commissioned by the RAN, and 4 served in the Royal Indian Navy. Three more were ordered for construction in India, but were cancelled. Although designed for the anti- submarine and anti-mine role, the Bathursts operated as “maids-of-all-work” during the war; serving as troop and supply transports, supporting amphibious landings, providing air defence for convoys and disabled ships, participating in shore bombardments, and undertaking hydrographic surveys.
Three ships were lost during the war—one to Japanese air attack and two to collisions with friendly merchant ships—while a fourth struck a friendly mine while sweeping the Great Barrier Reef in 1947 and sank.