Gavin Stirling Blackwood

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Gavin Stirling Blackwood
Blackwood Gavin Stirling.jpg
Blackwood wedding.jpg
Wedding day
Personal Information
Date of Birth 15 Mar 1920
Place of Birth Kelmscott, Western Australia
Death 18 Apr 1970
Place of Death Heidelberg, Victoria
Age at Enlistment 19 years, 5 months
Description 5'3½" (1.61m) tall ; ; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; auburn hair
Religion Presbyterian
Address 2 Central avenue, Maylands, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr William Blackwood
Military Information
Reg Number PM8527
Date of Enlistment 4 Sep 1939
Rank Petty Officer (Signals)
Ships Served On
Ship Name HMAS Manoora
Tour Dates 14 Dec 1939 ‒ 30 Jun 1942
Ship Name HMAS Kanimbla
Tour Dates 26 Jan 1943 ‒ Oct 1945
Post War Details
Fate Returned to Australia
Medals 1939-45 Star
Pacific Star
War Medal 1939-45
Australian Service Medal 1939-45

War Service

On 4 Sep 1939 enlisted and was sent to HMAS Cerberus V (the Naval Reserve Depot at Fremantle) to undertake basic training as an Ordinary Seaman. On 14 Dec 1939 he was posted to the HMAS Manoora an Armed Merchant Cruiser sent initially to patrol north Queensland waters. Following exercises in the Coral sea she sailed for Macassar in late March 1940 to prevent German ships caught in East Indies ports from breaking out and making a run for Germany. With the German invasion of Norway she also took control of a Norwegian tanker and escorted her to Darwin and then to Sydney along with three other impounded ships.

With Italy's entry into the war she was tasked with capturing the Italian liner Romolo. Although she located the ship, the Italians set fire to the ship and she was left to rescue the crew and passengers. On her return to Australia she rescued the crew of the US vessel Admiral Wiley. During his service on the Manoora he was re-rated as an Able Seaman and then as a Sig Asst. On 30 Jun 1942 Gavin's service aboard Manoora came to an end while it was undergoing a refit in Townsville and he was posted to his home port HMAS Leeuwin.

On 26 Jan 1943 Gavin joined the crew of the HMAS Kanimbla an Armed Merchant Cruiser, that in April 1943 was converted to a Landing Ship Infantry for use in the coming landing on Pacific islands, Apart from one week in June 1943 when he was seconded to HMAS Westralia, he remained a part of the Kanimbla's crew until October 1945 during which time he was rated as Stores Petty officer (Typist) and acted as Chief petty Officer for a time. During that time the Kanimbla participated in landings at Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea, Morotai, Leyte Gulf, Torokina, Luzon Island, Brunei, and Balikpapan.

Hostilities over, the Kanimbla was used to repatriate Australian troops and return Dutch civilians to the East Indies. Gavin's records in pencil are difficult to follow at this point but it appears that he left the Kanimbla in Oct 1945 and as he had changed his home port from Fremantle to Port Melbourne was based there until is discharge on 20 Jun 1946.

Post War

During 1946 married Jane Ellen Bailey (1925 - 1999) in Victoria. On 15 Mar 1950 a daughter Jane Ellen Caldwell (1950 - 2018) was born, followed by three more children.

Electoral Roll entries: 1949 Springvale road, Springvale, Victoria, clerk; 1954 "Groves", Blythe road Mount Dandenong, agent


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