Surviving veterans from one RFA tanker could be honoured for their service in the Second World War.  RFA Bishopdale, a Dale class tanker, was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy in 1941, and took part in the fierce fighting for the Philippines at the latter end of the war.

 

Bishopdale_August_1943

RFA Bishopdale in 1943

 

Bishopdale was launched on the 31st March 1937 and spent the beginning of the war on the North Atlantic convoy routes, before being lent to the Royal Australian Navy at the end of 1941.  The ship arrived in Sydney in April 1942 and served with the Australian fleet until October 1945, during which time she survived two brushes with disaster.  On the 5th August 1942 the ship survived striking a mine in Noumea harbour as she was sailing to Brisbane, this disaster put her out of the war until February 1943.

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Surviving veterans from one RFA tanker could be honoured for their service in the Second World War.  RFA Bishopdale, a Dale class tanker was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy in 1941, and took part in the fierce fighting for the Philippines at the latter end of the war.

 

Bishopdale_August_1943

RFA Bishopdale in 1943

 

Bishopdale was launched on the 31st March 1937 and spent the beginning of the war on the North Atlantic convoy routes, before being lent to the Royal Australian Navy at the end of 1941.  The ship arrived in Sydney in April 1942 and served with the Australian fleet until October 1945, during which time she survived two brushes with disaster.  On the 5 August 1942 the ship survived striking a mine in Noumea harbour as she was sailing to Brisbane, this disaster put her out of the war until February 1943.

 

  

During the Philippines campaign, the ship was at anchor in San Pedro Bay; Leyte Gulf when she was hit by a ‘Val’ dive bomber which exploded over one of her tanks, the attack resulted in the deaths of three of her crew and extensive damage to the ship, she was out of action for months.

 

On the 21st February 2009 a plaque was unveiled in Lingayen town, Pangasinan, Philippines to record the contribution made by the Royal Australian Navy during the war, amongst the ships listed is the name HMAS Bishopdale.

 

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Philippines Liberation Medal

 

News has now been released that members of the armed forces who helped to liberate the Philippines will now be eligible for award of the Philippine Liberation Medal.  This medal is a military award of the Republic of the Philippines that was awarded to any serviceman from either the Philippines or allied armed forces, who participated in the liberation of the Philippines between 17October 1944 and the 2 September 1945.

 

To qualify for the medal, veterans need to have served in the Philippines for at least 30 days during the above dates, or must have participated in one of the following actions:

 

  1. Participation in the initial landings at Leyte and the adjoining Islands from the 7 October to the 20 October 1944. 

 2.     Participation in any engagement with Japanese Forces during the Philippines Liberation Campaign between 17 October 1944 and 2 September 1945

 

Those eligible from the Royal Australian Navy are part of a list of ships identified by the Returned and Services League, and Bishopdale’s name is part of the list.  If there are any surviving members of Bishopdale’s crew who would like to apply for this medal, they are asked to contact the Returned and Services League in Australia in the first instance to obtain an application form, or for those living outside Australia, please contact the Editor of the RFA Historical Society who will be only too happy to forward an application form and the contact details of where it needs to be sent.

Copyright © 2008 – 2017 Christopher J White

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