About This Unit
HMAS Torrens (Depot)- 1940-1964 / HMAS Encounter 1964-94 - Port Adelaide
When World War II began the depot was officially commissioned as HMAS “Cerberus IV” on 13th September, 1939. This continued a confusing pattern of naming multiple installations with the one appellation. HMAS Penguin / Brisbane / Moreton being another example.
On 1st August, 1940 the depot was recommissioned as HMAS “Torrens”. It was essentially a personnel and basic training depot. Large number of Naval personnel therefore passed through the Depot, particularly upon enlistment and then on discharge at the end of the war.
Among other functions, it provided an 'RMS' team. Rendering Mines Safe being their primary task.
On 14th July 1941, two sailors from the “Torrens” RMS were killed while detonating a mine on the shore at Beachport, between Robe and Mt. Gambier, most probably laid by the German minelayer 'Pinguin'.
It is believed these were the first naval personnel of WWII killed on Australian soil as a result of enemy action. After the war, “Torrens” returned to its peacetime roles of providing a naval presence in South Australia, assisting visiting ships and reserve training. On 1st March, 1965 the depot underwent another name change and was recommissioned as HMAS “Encounter”, which itself was de-commissioned in 1994.
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