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US Navy Submarine USS Growler (SS-215) operated out of Brisbane Submarine Base in southern Queensland during WW2. It was on patrol in the Solomons in early 1943. On 7 February 1943, USS Growler made a surface attack on a Japanese Naval vessel. The Japanese vessel opened fire and killed two of those on the bridge and wounded three others. The Japanese vessel then rammed the USS Growler. The Captain, Commander Howard Gilmore, who was one of the wounded, ordered the bridge to be cleared. The two other wounded men were dragged below. Commander Gilmore issued his final order "Take her down". He remained on the bridge and lost his life in order to save his boat. He was posthumously awarded the first submariner Medal of Honor.

USS Growler returned to Brisbane with the Executive Office assuming command of the submarine. USS Growler had 18 feet of its bow bent at right angles. Evans Deakins & Co. at Rocklea manufactured a new bow for USS Growler which was fitted at the South Brisbane Dry Dock.. USS Growler left the dry dock on 1 May 1943 with a nickel kangaroos painted on the new bow of the submarine. After this incident, USS Growler was known as the "Kangaroo Express". She was eventually lost in action in November 1944.


ussgrowler01.jpg (84124 bytes) ussgrowler02.jpg (102871 bytes) ussgrowler03.jpg (146223 bytes)


At the Submarine Base at New Farm, The USS Growler's main hull
is pointed towards the CSR Sugar Refinery across the Brisbane River but
her battered  bow is pointing towards Hawthorne


A new bow for USS Growler which had been
manufactured by Evans Deakins being lifted into place.


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This page first produced 10 April 2004

This page last updated 19 January 2020