Northern Territory Government

Roll of Honour

PURDON, Albert Samuel

Merchant ships
HMAS Swan, UST Mauna Loa, HMAS Warrego (left to right).

Able Seaman Albert Purdon (H1171) was born in Hobart, Tasmania, to Albert Samuel and Ethel May on 1 March 1912. He worked as a Labourer and lived at 29 Montagu Street, New Norfolk, Tasmania.

He also served in the Militia forces from 7 April 1930 to 20 April 1933, later enlisting in the Royal Australian Navy on 21 March 1940. On HMAS Cerberus, Albert Purdon qualified in gunnery and seamanship, rising from Ordinary to Able Seaman in twelve months. He then served on HMAS Perth, followed by HMAS Swan (II).

HMAS Swan (II) operated as a unit of the 20th Minesweeping Flotilla, clearing mines in Australian waters and also as a convoy escort. During the bombing of Darwin, HMAS Swan (II) was able to get under way without receiving a direct hit but she was attacked several times and damaged. Three were killed during the attack, including Purdon.

Tom Minto, 1st. Mate,  records in the Manunda Ship’s Log for 8am 20.2.42 at Darwin (entered on 23.2.1942) "The following patients having died from injuries were landed for burial at 8am 20.2.42 Signalman Breen, Leading Seaman Sault,  A.B. Purdon …

In the case of the three men from the HMAS Swan some doubt exists. They were brought off dead in a naval launch. One body was brought on board. The remaining two were wrapped together and were too heavy to carry on a stretcher. The launch driver was ordered to go away for more patients. And an attempt would be made to bring them back on board on his next return. There is no proof that he did return, and it seems probable that two other men were landed for burial in their names. This seems most likely in view of the fact that the ships motor launch definitely brought on board Captain Bates and 2nd Radio Operator Webster of the “British Motorist”, both badly injured. A search of the wards the following day by the Chief officer Mr. Woods of the British Motorist failed to locate these men, and all the patients on board had by then been identified. There are no patients on board named Bates or Webster.

Albert Purdon was twenty-nine years old when he was killed. He left behind a child, Brian John Purdon.

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