Alan Leonard FROST

FROST, Alan Leonard

Service Number: 37677
Enlisted: 8 November 1943
Last Rank: Able Seaman
Last Unit: HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore)
Born: Mile End, South Australia, 20 April 1926
Home Town: Brighton, Holdfast Bay, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Press operator
Died: Natural causes, Brighton, South Australia, 17 January 1993, aged 66 years
Cemetery: St Judes Cemetery, Brighton, South Australia
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World War 2 Service

8 Nov 1943: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Cerberus (Shore), Adelaide, South Australia
8 Nov 1943: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677
4 Apr 1944: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Australia (II) D84 - WW2
14 Feb 1945: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, HMAS Rushcutter (Shore), 14/2/1945 to 6/3/1945
7 Mar 1945: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Ordinary Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Australia (II) D84 - WW2
20 Apr 1945: Promoted Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Australia (II) D84 - WW2
2 Jul 1946: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore), 2/7/1946 to 22/7/1946
22 Jul 1946: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore)

Non Warlike Service

13 Aug 1949: Enlisted Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Cerberus (Shore), 13/8/1949 to 11/1/1950
12 Jan 1950: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Penguin (IV) 1939-1940/HMAS Brisbane 1940-1942/HMAS Moreton (I) 1942-1994 (Depot), 12/1/1950 to 7/7/1950

Korean War Service

8 Jul 1950: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Bataan
11 Jul 1950: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677
19 Oct 1951: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Lonsdale (Depot / Base), 19/10/1951 to 26/4/1952
27 Apr 1952: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Penguin (IV) 1939-1940/HMAS Brisbane 1940-1942/HMAS Moreton (I) 1942-1994 (Depot), 27/4/1952 to 26/7/1953

Non Warlike Service

27 Jul 1953: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Australia (II) D84 - WW2
22 Jan 1954: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Penguin (IV) 1939-1940/HMAS Brisbane 1940-1942/HMAS Moreton (I) 1942-1994 (Depot), 22/1/1954 to 19/3/1954
20 Mar 1954: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Australia (II) D84 - WW2
28 Jul 1954: Involvement Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Hawkesbury
3 Apr 1955: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore), 3/4/1955 to 28/6/1955
29 Jun 1955: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Lonsdale (Depot / Base), 29/6/1955 to 1/7/1955
2 Jul 1955: Transferred Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore), 2/7/1955 to 8/9/1955
8 Sep 1955: Discharged Royal Australian Navy, Able Seaman, SN 37677, HMAS Torrens (Depot) / HMAS Encounter (Shore)

Help us honour Alan Leonard Frost's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Sue Smith

Alan Leonard Frost was born on the 20th April 1926 at Mile End, South Australia, the eldest son and middle child of Leonard and Selina Frost.  He had an older sister, Gwendoline, and a younger brother, Colin.  He spent his childhood growing up living at 7 Frederick Street, Clarence Park, a suburb of Adelaide and after completing his schooling became a press operator.

On the 8th November 1943, at the age of 17 years and 6 months, Alan enlisted for WW2 in the Royal Australian Navy at Adelaide.  His rank was Ordinary Seaman 2 and his service number 37677.  He was described as being 5ft 6ins tall with a fresh complexion, brown hair and blue eyes and his religion as Church of Christ.

After enlisting Alan proceeded to HMAS Cerberus, the naval training base at Melbourne, Victoria.  He remained here till early April 1944 then he joined the ship’s crew of the Heavy Cruiser HMAS Australia (2) which along with, HMAS Shropshire, HMAS Warramunga and HMAS Arunta, were attached to the US 7th Fleet in the Pacific.  The Australia (2) was affectionately known as “Aussie” to her crew.

While serving on Australia (2) Alan was involved in action in the Pacific, in particular the Battle of Leyte Gulf.  This particular battle is generally considered to be the largest naval battle of WW2, possibly the largest naval battle in history.  It was fought in the waters near the Philippine Islands and it was the first battle in which the Japanese carried out organised kamikaze attacks. 

At 6.05am on the 21st October 1944, Australia (2) was the first to be attacked by a Japanese kamikaze plane.  She sustained serious damage as well as the loss of 30 men, including the Commanding Officer of the ship, Captain Dechaineux.  Commodore Collins and a further 64 personnel were injured.  Australia (2) was escorted by HMAS Warramunga (1) to Manus Island and then to Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides for repairs.

By the 5th January 1945 HMAS Australia (2) was back in action in the Lingayen Gulf covering the allied invasion of Luzon Island.  Here she was subjected to repeated suicide attacks, this time there was no doubt of the Kamikaze nature of the Japanese planes.  Australia (2) was hit on 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th January, losing 3 officers and 41 other personnel killed and 1 officer and 68 other personnel wounded.  This was the ship’s last action in World War 2.  Alan spent a month at the naval base HMAS Rushcutter, near Sydney, N.S.W., while the ship underwent repairs.  Rushcutter was a depot, radar and anti-submarine training school.

On the 20th April 1945, Alan celebrated his 19th birthday and his promotion to Able Seaman on board Australia (2), then the ship sailed for the United Kingdom via the United States on the 24th May 1945 for a major refit, arriving at Plymouth on the 1st July.  She was still in the United Kingdom at the end of the war on the 2nd September 1945 when the Japanese surrendered to the Allies on board the ship USS Missouri in Tokoyo Bay.  After a somewhat leisurely voyage home via the Cape of Good Hope, Australia (2) arrived at Fremantle on the 25th January 1946 and at Sydney on the 16th February where she paid off into Reserve.

On the 2nd July 1946 Alan proceeded to the naval base HMAS Torrens at Port Adelaide, South Australia, and 20 days later, was demobilised.  Later that year on the 7th December, 20year old Alan married 19year old Joyce Webster of Brighton at St Jude’s Church.  Over the ensuing years they became parents to 7 children, Michael, Peter, Gay, Coleen, Alan, David and Julie.

A newspaper article in the Adelaide Advertiser records that on the 9th January 1947, his father’s 53rd birthday, Alan had a motorcycle accident.  He collided with a car and received lacerations to his foot and abrasions.  He was taken by ambulance to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, treated and released.  He was living at 20 Arundel Road, Brighton at the time.  A month later he was fined 10/- for an unregistered motorcycle, £20 for an uninsured motorcycle and 10/- for court costs.

On the 13th August 1949 Alan re-enlisted in the Navy at Adelaide, South Australia, with the rank of Able Seaman and his service number still being 37677.  This was just 2 months before his second son was born.  His occupation listed on his service record was a baker.  He proceeded to the naval training base, HMAS Cerberus, at Melbourne, Victoria, and remained there till 11th January 1950 when he proceeded to the naval training base HMAS Penquin located at Balmoral on the shore of Sydney Harbour, N.SW.   He remained there till the 8th July when he joined the ship’s crew on the Tribal Class Destroyer HMAS Bataan, 2 days after she had transferred to the United States Escort Group for escort duties in the Korean Straits.

On the 13th July 1950 the ship joined Task Force 90 for the amphibious landing of the United Nations Forces at Pohang Dong.  It was here that she was involved in her first hostile operational patrol in the Korean War.

During the month of August 1950 the ship and its crew transported the Australian Prime Minister, Robert Menzies to Kure, Japan, to inspect the troops there.  In September the ship was involved in intensive bombardments then in early October she was detached to Sasebo, Japan, having completed 7 weeks of patrols and steaming 11,473 miles.  Later that month she resumed patrols on the west coast of Korea.

On the 4th December 1950 the 6 patrol destroyers, Bataan being one of them, were ordered to assemble in preparation for the evacuation of Chinnampo.  Later that night as they negotiated the hazardous passage through the narrow channel, 2 ships ran aground.  The evacuation was completed on the 5th December then the Bataan proceeded to Inchon, South Korea.  On the 29th December the Bataan was relieved, marking the close of 6 months arduous service in the Far East.  It was followed by port visits to Kure, Yokosuka, Hong Kong and Sasebo.

At Sasebo on the 21st February 1951, Bataan met her namesake, the United States light carrier USS Bataan, which had been operating in Korean waters for several weeks.  The following day the HMAS Bataan began a patrol of the west coast which continued until March 1951 and was carried out under arctic conditions.  It consisted mainly of patrols inshore between Inchon and Chinnampo.  Later that month the two Bataan’s operated as a happy team till the Australian destroyer was relieved.

The Bataan’s final patrol after 11months service with the United Nations began on the 10th May 1951 then on the 29th May, the Bataan departed Hong Kong for home waters.  She returned to Sydney on the 14th June 1951 where she underwent a refit and trials which occupied the remainder of 1951.  Alan served on the Bataan till the 18th October 1951. 

He then proceeded to the naval base HMAS Lonsdale, a RAN training facility at Port Melbourne, Victoria.  While there he was joined by his younger brother, Colin, on the 30th October.  Colin remained there till the 16th November and Alan stayed till the end of April 1952 then proceeded to the naval base HMAS Penquin at Sydney, N.S.W. where he remained until late July 1953. 

On the 27th July 1953, Alan once again joined the ship’s crew of HMAS Australia (2) where his brother was also serving as a stoker crew member. HMAS Australia (2) escorted the boat of Queen Elizabeth II into Sydney Harbour on February 3rd 1954 then in early May that year she took the Governor General, Lord & Lady Slim on a visit to the Great Barrier Reef.  During that voyage on 6th May, she fired the last of her 8inch guns off the Queensland coast.  It was the last time any cruiser in the British and Commonwealth Navies, perhaps the world, fired the 8-inch gun, the traditional heavy cruiser weapon. The ship then visited Brisbane for last time and left there on 24th May 1954.                                       

Alan and his brother Colin served together on the Australia (2) until the end of May 1954 when Colin left the ship.  Alan remained serving on Australia (2) until the end of July 1954 when he was transferred to the River Class Frigate HMAS Hawkesbury (1) which spent the winter months that year in the Sydney area. 

In August 1954 the Hawkesbury (1) arrived in Darwin to begin a period on patrol in the Arafura and Timor Seas, policing Japanese Pearling Fleet operations.  In mid-September Alan, as a crew member of the Hawkesbury, once again transported the Australian Prime Minister, Robert Menzies, and his family, for a visit to the Japanese Pearling Fleet lying off Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory, north west of Darwin in the Tiwi Islands.

In late September the Hawkesbury (1) arrived in Port Moresby, New Guinea to commence a further series of patrols.  Its tour of duty ended in December 1954 when she returned to Sydney for a refit and to prepare for paying off.  She was paid off in February 1955 after having steamed 52,000 miles during her second commission.

Alan served on the Hawkesbury (1) until early April 1955 then proceeded to the naval base HMAS Torrens at Adelaide, S.A.  He was there for just over 2 months then he proceeded to the naval base HMAS Lonsdale in Melbourne, Victoria.  In early July Alan returned to HMAS Torrens in Adelaide where he was discharged on the 8th September 1955 ending 6 years of service in the RAN.  His Official Number was PA4532.

Alan’s mother passed away in 1961 aged 69 and his father died in 1975 aged 81, having served in both World Wars.  Both were buried in the Centennial Park Cemetery in Adelaide, South Australia.

While still living at Brighton, South Australia, and having just celebrated 47 years of marriage with Joyce, Alan died on the 17th January 1993 aged 66.  His memorial headstone can be found in the Brighton (St Jude) Cemetery, Brighton, South Australia, L-RA15.  Joyce survived him and when she passed away on the 24th May 2012 aged 85 she was also interred at the Brighton (St Jude) Cemetery.  Alan’s brother Colin passed away at Katoomba N.S.W. in 1996 also aged 66.

The HMAS Hawkesbury (1) was not again brought into commission.  After being declared for disposal early in 1961, she was sold to the Tolo Mining and Smelting Co Ltd of Hong Kong on the 21st September 1961.  She was later resold to a Japanese firm, Amakasu Sangyo Kisen Co Ltd, but remained at her Navy mooring until the 7th September 1962.  During that month the Hawkesbury left Sydney under tow, bound for the Far East to be broken up.

The HMAS Bataan carried out two tours in UN deployment off Korea and was nominated for conversion to an anti-submarine escort destroyer in 1952.  She was deployed in her new role for exercises with RNZN ships and multi-national exercises with ships of SEATO in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea.  Paid-off into Reserve in 1960 she was placed on the Disposal List in 1962 and sold to a Japanese ship-breaker for demolition in February 1963 and later that year finally taken in tow to the breakers.

The HMAS Australia (2) was deployed for 3 months in the far eastern waters between September and November 1947 then spent the next 3 and a half years in home waters paying a goodwill visit to New Zealand in March 1948 and New Guinea in 1949.  She spent the last five years of her active commission as a training cruiser, visiting New Zealand on three occasions with the Australian Squadron, from the 24th February to the 31st March 1950, mid-September to the 6th October 1952, and a brief visit in 1953.  In August 1950, she was engaged in a mercy mission to the Australian Antarctic base at Heard Island.  In May 1951 the Governor of New South Wales, Lieutenant General Sir John Northcott, was embarked for Jubilee celebrations at Lord Howe Island then in July that same year the ship paid a brief visit to New Caledonia.  During 1952 Australia (2) visited New Guinea, New Britain and the Solomon Islands, dropping a wreath at Savo Island to commemorate the sinking of her sister ship Canberra on the 9th August 1942.  She remained in commission until the 31st August 1954 when she was paid-off and placed on the Disposal List.  Sold to BISCO in January 1955 for demolition by T. W. Ward, the ship was towed to the breaker’s yard at Barrow where she arrived on 5th July 1955.  From the time of her commissioning on April 24, 1928 to being paid off on August 31, 1954, she had steamed 476,300 miles, and served longer than any ship in the RAN, and in WWII had served on all the globe's oceans.

A memorial stained glass window to the HMAS Australia (2) and all those who served in her and those who perished, can be found in the Anglican Chapel at the naval base HMAS Cerberus in Melbourne, Victoria.

There is also a road named after the HMAS Australia in the Adelaide suburb of Henley Beach South.  On the corner of that road and Henley Beach Road there is a ship shaped memorial representing HMAS Australia (2).  It pays honour to the 87 crew members lost during WW2 as well as all those who served in her.  The memorial was unveiled in May 2011.

While memorials with specific individual names are not easy to find, there are many naval memorials that pay honour to the ships involved in service during the wars and in general, to the men that served in them and especially to those who were lost.  One such memorial can be found in the parklands adjacent to Sir Edwin Smith Avenue, Adelaide, South Australia and it’s called the Naval Memorial Garden.  It was unveiled on the 8th April 1995 and features an anchor mounted on a granite slab surrounded by 32 bronze plaques which commemorate ships and services in the Royal Australian Navy, including the 3 ships that Alan served in.  Surrounding the monuments are garden beds of “Courage” roses resembling the shape of an anchor.  The garden and its monuments stand as a reminder of the sacrifices of both men and ships in the Australian Navy.

Alan Leonard Frost was awarded these medals:


Naval General Service Medal

Defence Medal

British War Medal  

Pacific Star


Australian Active Service Medal 1945-1975                         (Service from 1 July 1950 – 27 July 1953)

Korea Medal

United Nations Korea Medal


Sue Smith November 2016