Written by ahq_admin

9 November 2017

The Saga of the Munga’s Badge… that is Warramunga to the uninitiated…

It was November 1942.  The Japanese were still on the advance and it was imperative that the new destroyer ‘Warramunga’ was commissioned and finish the working up period so as she could be put into the thick of things.  Everything had been thought of except that she was given no badge, an oversight perhaps but the ship was ready in all other respects.

Commander Dechaineux noticed the omission and during the early part of 1943 he ran a competition among the crew to see if one of them could come up with a design and moto.  Petty Officer Hugh Anderson, (my Dad) 

Petty Officer Hugh Anderson

a very talented artist, won the competition and Able Seaman Arthur Paul thought up the winning motto ‘Courage in Difficulties’.  Petty Officer Anderson carved out the design in timber and for their combined efforts the prize . . .  a dozen bottles of good old Aussie beer.

Now the ship had a badge. While alongside the US Navy destroyer tender ‘Dobbin’ doing a boiler clean, Petty Officer Anderson took the timber badge to the artificers and with usual efficiency the Americans cast up two badges for him in gun metal.  The timber badge was presented to Commander Dechaineux and as far as the crew were concerned, the badge was now official.  However, regretfully and due to an oversight, Commander Dechaineux omitted to advised Navy Office in Melbourne of the badge. 

The Old and the New 

To make a long story short there was a lot of controversy for many decades about the design for the Warramunga.  Finally the Warramunga Association took the matter in hand and over several years tried to convince the authorities that the original Anderson design should be used if ever another ship was built and carried the Warramunga name.
In March 1987, the association’s secretary and another member of the committee, went to Canberra with an appointment to see the Chairman of the Ship’s Names and Badges Committee and try and thrash out a solution.  Finally in May 1987 a letter was received from the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Mike Hudson, advising the association that the 1943 Anderson designed badge was approved as the official design.  It would be redrawn to fit into the current shaped badge design now in common use by all ships of the RAN.

This is a photo of Ted Plummer MBE, senior elder of the Warramunga Tribe, being presented with ship’s badge and photo of HMAS Warramunga by Sam Whytea, secretary of the Warramunga Veterans Association (NSW Branch) at the Civic Centre, Tennant Creek on the 12th August 1987.

I have copied this information from a photocopy in my father’s memorabilia I treasure.  I am not sure when it was written but I do remember my parents joy when finally Dad’s design was made official.

The original timber carving of the badge cannot be traced.  Enquiries by his son, Commodore Peter Dechaineux have been unsuccessful (at the time of the original article being written, some years ago).   Of the two gun metal castings made on the ‘Dobbin’ one is now on display in the custody of the Belmore RSL Club, Sydney.  The other is held or was held by the Gunner (T) Malcolm McDonald who lives/d in Victoria. 

Dad passed away 11 years ago.  He would be so proud to know of my involvement with Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags. To know I am making a quilt and bag for a member of the current crew, I am sure he would be totally delighted.  ‘Warramunga’ was his favourite ship and Commander Dechaineux was his favourite commander.  He also served on ‘HMAS Sydney’ training ship for the Australian fleet 1937 and ‘HMAS Hobart’ while she was in the Mediterranean and headed up the antiaircraft recognition team in Melbourne.

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane.  It has been an honour to put this article together.

HMAS Warramunga’s Christmas Card – PO Hugh Anderson (front)
HMAS Warramunga’s Christmas Card 1943 (Back)

The following photos are of CMDR Dechaineux on deck and other on board drawings by PO Hugh Anderson.



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  1. kiwikid

    Thank you for sharing Susan, it is great to read, and good to know the badge situation is sorted.

  2. Nanna Ray

    What a talented artist your father was Susan. Thank you for sharing this information.🤗🤗

  3. Unknown

    Lovely sentiment and fascinating story – thank you for sharing


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