"LIL JOHN"
NAVAL AUXILIARY PATROL VESSEL
COMMANDEERED BY THE RAN
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

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"Lil John", a 37 foot Sharpie speed cruiser (Beam 10ft 6ins, Draught 2ft 9ins), was originally built in about 1940 by Sir John Beals Chandler and his sons. It was commandeered by the military during WWII and was assigned to the Naval Auxiliary Patrol NAP in Brisbane.

 


Photo AWM, Accession No. 301902

"HMAS Lil John" in Brisbane on 15 March 1944

 

The Brisbane Flotilla NAP Duty Roster for March 1942 showed the following entry for "Lil-John":-

Date Boat and No. Skipper Crew Reserve Boat
Tues 17 Mar 42 "Lil-John" (34) A.G. Mellers & F.B. Chandler F.E. Todd, A.R. Duncan, W.S. Howitt, E.A. Dolby, D.E.A. Perry "Minerva" (22)

On 18 July 1942, six NAP vessels of the Brisbane Squadron were requisitioned by the Navy for full-time Channel Patrol duties within Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River as follows:-

Boonooroo (531)
Jane (532)
Summit (534)
Maringo (505)
Lil-John
Omar

    Note:- Another record shows that "Lil-John" was requisitioned by the Navy on 27 July 1942.

The following other vessels joined them by the end of July 1942:-

Amorray (503)
Oenone (504)
Apache (506)
Daydream (509)
Tonga (533)

The Summit (534), Tonga (533) Lil-John, and Omar were transferred from August 1942 to the RAN Station No. 5 at Toorbul, which was the Naval Wing of the Amphibious Training Centre at Toorbul Point. It was probably at this time that the boat became "HMAS Lil-John". It was transferred to USAFIA (United States Armed Forces in Australia) in April 1943 and was returned shortly afterwards.

"HMAS Lil-John" was apparently fitted with a 20mm anti-aircraft gun on her bow and dual depth chargers on either side of her stern during WWII.

"Lil-John" was purchased in June 1944 by an unknown person and sold again by Auction on 16 March 1946. Sir John Chandler had desperately wanted to buy the boat back following the war but due to a timing technicality he was unable to do so. There is a transcript in Naval Archives of his emotional efforts to repurchase his beloved boat.

The Sale by Auction for "Lil-John" (Lot 5) and a number of other Motor Boats & Landing Craft was organised by Isles Love & Co. Pty. Limited and was held at 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon, 16 March 1946 at the Naval Auxiliary Transport Section area, Old Commonwealth Quarantine Station, Colmslie, Brisbane. The Auction was under instructions from the Commonwealth Disposals Commission, the Department of the Navy.

 

LOT 5 - "LILJOHN"," 37ft. x 10ft. x 2ft 6in. with Glassed Wheelhouse, Toilet
and Basin, 2 Bunks, Galley with Kitchen-Kool Petrol Stove and Oven, and Ice Chest,
Powered with 6-cyl. Gray Petrol Marine Engine, with Dual Ignition.

 


Photo:- Chris Fung

The former NAP Patrol vessel "Lil John" in 2018

 

REFERENCES

"The Naval Auxiliary Patrol (N.A.P.), Queensland Squadron 1941 - 1944)"
by D.W. Spethman and R.G. Miller

"Royal Asutralian Navy A - Z - Ships, Aircraft and Shore Establishments"
by J.H. Straczek

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Chris Fung for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 15 January 2019

This page last updated 16 January 2019