While serving within the Royal Australian Navy as a Signals Officer, Captain Hector MacDonald Laws Waller served with distinction aboard several warships of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Navy during both the First World War and the Second World War. Having graduated from the fledgling Royal Australian Naval College during the First World War, his posting would be to the Royal Navy Battleship HMS Agincourt, and would predominately perform escort duties for the duration of the war.

HMS Agincourt

As a career sailor, he would progress through the ranks until he was in command of the 19th Destroyer Division at the start of the Second World War. He would be in direct command two vessels during the Second World war, the Destroyer HMAS Stuart where he led the ‘Scrap Iron Flotilla’ and the Cruiser HMAS Perth.

HMAS Stuart
HMAS Stuart

He would go down with the HMAS Perth when it was sunk during the one-sided Battle of Sunda Strait alongside 356 fellow personnel of the HMAS Perth.

HMAS Perth

This podcast episode is by Ross Manuel from the excellent I Was Only Doing My Job: Australian Military History podcast. This podcast series tells the stories of Australia’s Military History through the individual stories of those who served; where they grew up, what they did, and invariably what happened to them. Ross is working with History Guild to ensure these stories reach a wide audience.

Listen to the Podcast Episode

Articles you may also like

The Benghazi Handicap and the Siege of Tobruk

The Benghazi handicap is the name Australian soldiers gave to their race to stay ahead of the German Afrika Korps in Libya, 1941. They won the race, but the reward was just to be besieged in the city of Tobruk for 241 days, the longest siege in British military history. In this article, we use the words of veterans themselves to describe these events, and how the Rats of Tobruk experienced the siege.

Read More

Scrap Iron Flotilla: The Royal Australian Navy at its Best

To the Axis Powers, the Australian flotilla that fought in the Mediterranean during the Second World War appeared to be no threat. Anyone looking at the old, small and slow destroyer group would think the same. Soon, however, the Axis and the rest of the world would learn just how formidable it was. The ‘Scrap […]

Read More
Copyright Info

The text of this article was commissioned by History Guild as part of our work to improve historical literacy. If you would like to reproduce it please get in touch via this form.

Tell me about New Quizzes and Articles

Get your weekly fill of History Articles and Quizzes

We won't share your contact details with anyone else.