Troops of 5RAR are shown lining the flight deck of
HMAS Sydney at Woolloomooloo, Sydney Harbour, on 10 March 1970 upon
returning home from active service in South Vietnam. The Western
Australians had disembarked at Fremantle five days earlier.
HMAS Sydney, known by the troops as the "Vung Tau Ferry", was used
to transport Australian troops and equipment to and from South
Vietnam during the war between May 1965 and November 1972. She made
25 such voyages.
HMAS Sydney was a Majestic Class light aircraft carrier originally
built for the Royal Navy and launched as HMS Terrible in 1944, but
she was not completed before the end of World War II. The carrier
was sold to Australia in 1947, completed, and commissioned into the
Royal Australian Navy as HMAS Sydney in 1948.
She operated as the navy's flagship during the early part of her
career, operated in the Korean War in 1951-52 but was then placed in
reserve as surplus to requirements in the late 1950s. The Sydney was
recommissioned in 1962 and initially used for training before
becoming a troop ship in the Vietnam War from 1965. HMAS Sydney
normally transported about 450 - 500 soldiers plus equipment, heavy
weapons and vehicles on each voyage.
When 5RAR (both tours of duty) was being transported on the "Vung
Tau Ferry" her escorts were:
♦April 1966 from Australia to Vung Tau: HMAS Vampire and HMAS Yarra.
♦May-June 1966 from Australia to Vung Tau (remainder of unit):
variously HMAS Yarra, Derwent, Melbourne and Vendetta.
♦April-May 1967 from Vung Tau to Sydney: HMAS Vampire.
♦February 1969 Fremantle to Vung Tau: HMAS Derwent.
♦February-March 1970 from Vung Tau to Sydney: HMAS Yarra
HMAS Sydney was decommissioned in 1973, and was not replaced. In
1975 she was sold to a South Korean steel mill for scrapping.
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