Orders, Decorations & Medals - Aust. Groups

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Lot 4621    Session 16 (9:30am Friday 3rd August)    Orders, Decorations & Medals - Aust. Groups

Estimate $4,000
SOLD $3,000

GROUP OF FIVE: 1939-45 Star; Pacific Star; War Medal 1939-45 with original bronze MID; Australia Service Medal 1939-45; Royal Naval Reserve Decoration (GRI). The first two medals unnamed, J.A.Taplin. R.A.N.R.(S) on third and fourth medals, 1942 on last medal. Named medals impressed. Swing mounted, good very fine.

MID: 27/2/1945, p1130; CAG 15/3/1945, p655 - for 'Distinguished service in successful survey work'. (Service File notes that he performed 'under dangerous conditions in the Far East'). This work that spanned from New Guinea to the Philippines made possible the successful American landing on Leyte and Luzon.

James Alan Taplin, born 25Jun1909 at Sydney, NSW; Appt'd Midshipman (on probation) RANR (S) 15Aug1927; confirmed Midshipman 28Apr1928; to A/Sub Lieut 15Nov1930; to Sub Lieut 01Jan1935; to Lieut 01Nov1936; to HMAS Swan for (N) duties 02Sep1939 to 30Jul1940; HMAS Yandra 23Sep to 05Oct1940, and 15Nov1940 to 15Sep1941; HMAS Leeuwin 16Sep-19Oct1941, HMAS Yandra 20Oct1941 to 28Feb1942; to A/Lieut Cdr 31Mar1943; Asst Surveyor 3rd Class 01Sep1943; to HMAS Moresby in command (temporary); Asst Surveyor 4th Class 05Jan1944; to Lieut Cdr 01Nov1944; WWII Disch.25Mar1946 as Lieutenant Commander ex HMAS Moresby; to Retired List 25Jun1954.

While Lieut Taplin was in command of HMAS Yandra, the vessel was involved in the wide scale air and sea search following the battle off the Western Australia coast between HMAS Sydney and the German auxiliary cruiser HSK Kormoran. During the search a lifeboat was spotted from the air and HMAS Yandra was directed to it. The Yandra took it in tow and recovered 72 survivors, 2 officers, 68 ratings and 2 Chinese seamen. While at sea, some of these survivors were questioned by Lieut Taplin who then set reports of his interrogations to the District Naval Officer Western Australia. One of these interrogations was of Sub-Lieutenant Wilhelm Bunjes. This interview was of particular importance because it was the first account that Kormoran fumbled her signals, identified herself as Straat Malakka, and when ordered to hoist her secret call sign was unable to do so. It is also the only account suggesting that Kormoran had fired her port side torpedo striking Sydney after Sydney had passed astern of her.

HMAS Yandra, under command of Lieut Taplin returned to Sydney in January 1942 to conduct patrol and escort duties along the eastern seaboard. On the night of 31 May 1942 she was patrolling the entrance to Sydney Harbour when three Japanese midget submarines evaded detection and penetrated the harbour defences. There was an anti-submarine boom net stretched across the harbour to prevent attacks by submarines and when one of the Japanese midget submarines became entangled in this net the alarm was raised. At 22:37 the commander of this entangled midget submarine, Lieutenant Kenshi Chuman, realised the hopelessness of his situation and detonated scuttling charges which destroyed the vessel killing himself and Petty Officer Takeshi Omori.

With the blast reverberating around Sydney Harbour, Lieutenant Taplin was alerted to the threat and immediately altered course towards the inner harbour to investigate. After spotting a conning tower about 360 metres ahead of his ship he increased speed and pursued the midget submarine towards the eastern channel and attempted to ram it. The submarine was struck a glancing blow by the Yandra damaging the protective cage around its torpedo tubes and thus prevented it from firing any torpedoes at ships moored in the harbour. The submarine, later identified as M-21, was crewed by Lieutenant Keiu Matsuo and Petty Officer First Class Masao Tsuzuku.

After this initial attack, Taplin reversed course and next sighted the submarine about 550 metres on Yandra's starboard bow moving very slowly from left to right. Taplin immediately pressed home a depth charge attack but the result of this was inconclusive. Unfortunately, due to the closeness of her exploding depth charges, the Yandra sustained damage in this attack and was forced to withdraw from the action to effect repairs.

With comprehensive research, excerpts from publications; framed photo of HMAS Yandra and softbound book 'H.M.A.S.Yandra / A Story of a Small Naval Vessel in a Large War / Her Career in World War II', by David Stewart published April 1997.

Estimate / sale price does not include buyer's premium (currently 19.25% including GST) which is added to hammer price. All bids are executed on the understanding that the Terms & Conditions of sale have been read and accepted. For information on grading and estimates please refer to the Buying at Auction advice.

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