RAN STATION 307
NAVAL RECOGNITION PERSONNEL AND TUBES CREW
FORT TOMAREE, NELSON BAY, NSW
DURING WW2

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RAN Station 307 comprising Naval Recognition Personnel was located at Fort Tomaree on Tomaree Head on the southern peninsula of Port Stephens, NSW near Nelson Bay. Two fixed torpedo tubes were installed as part of RAN 307 on a purpose built jetty on the beach below Tomaree Battery as a last ditch defence against enemy shipping in case they were not destroyed by the large guns of Tomaree Battery.

The RAN had a number of seawards defences in the general area including minefield observation systems, anti-torpedo nets, an Indicator Loop System, hydrophones and torpedo tubes. The Port War Signal Station at Nelson Head was mostly in control of these RAN installations. RAN mine and loop control posts were also located at the western end of Shoal Bay Beach and on Nelson Head. Port Stephens also had an Indicator Loop System.

Presumably the Naval Recognition Personnel at RAN 307 were involved in identification of shipping in the area. The Tubes Crew looked after the two fixed torpedo tubes.

No 20 Radar Station RAAF (early warning radar) was also located at the top of the hill on Tomaree Head. The Radar Site provided electricity to the area (415v 11kw) primarily to power the rotating radar antenna. Power was however also transformed for the use of the military installations in the area such as RAN 307.

An attack on a suspected Japanese submarine took place on 26 February 1943 about 42 nautical miles off Port Stephens. It was located using HF/DF intelligence. The identification was graded A2, and Eastern Area Headquarters dispatched an ASV-equipped Lockheed Hudson within two hours to locate the suspected enemy submarine. After 3 hours of searching the Hudson detected a possible enemy submarine on the surface, approximately 20 nautical miles from the originally advised position. The Hudson dropped four bombs on the suspected enemy submarine but due to poor visibility they were not able to confirm whether they had scored a hit. It was later discovered that the transmissions leading to this fix were most likely misidentified. Japanese submarine I-21 which they thought may had been in the area had in fact returned to base three days earlier. There were no other suspected enemy submarines in the area. Was it a submarine or was it a whale or something else?

 

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