Mick Rudkins - Minesweeping
Colac was easy going to the other ship because it was a smaller ship and you got away with things you wouldn't get away on the other ships. But it was a hard life, small ships. We done convoy work, now and again mine laying. You get three corvettes together and they'd spread out over the ocean and sort of looking for mines, you know.
The main thing was the mines we knew were up around Caloundra and them places...Down the back of the minesweeper they had big reels of wire and all that wire had the sharp edges on it and then you had kites, what they called kites, like a little ladder, and they kept the power blades below and you could set that wire to the certain depths that you wanted and if there were mines there it would rub up against the mines as it went by the side of the mines that were there and cut the wire which the mines were attached to and when they came to the surface, well you have jaegers there with rifles to fire at them and if you hit the horn it would blow up but if it only hit the mine, the round part of the mine, well it would just sink and go to the bottom.
The main part was to hit the horn, which was hard, bouncing up and down in the water, you know, like your fingers, so many on a mine but if a ship hit, the concussion of the combustion would put a hole in the ship or anybody in the water within quite a few metres of it, well, that was the end of them. Not the top of them, underneath the water.
If you, from the waist down, you'd be gone. It'd just blow you to pieces but it didn't affect the top of your body... If you hit the mine shrapnel would go everywhere but if you just put a hole in it, as I said, the mine would just gradually sink to the bottom...Mining was a pain in the arse, but you had to do it, you know, generally two or three ships together, sometimes one out.
Two or three ships together you'd cove a wide area but half the time you didn't get mines, you know. They were supposed to be there, and they weren't there. They caused a lot of bloody trouble... Sometimes, the storms, you'd see a mine floating around. Well, you'd get a rifle party, go in so far and just fire at it. The storm, they'd just break away from their mooring. Could have been one of your own mines, not German or the Japs.