In the later part of 1941 camouflage pattern trials were carried out off Sydney
under the supervision of Professor Dakin, from the
Directorate of Camouflage. The trials were conducted on the
anti-submarine vessel HMAS KYBRA which was loaned by the RAN.
As a result of these trials Prof. Dakin was given the loan of HMAS PERTH to conduct further trials and was requested to provide patterns for PERTH, CANBERRA, and AUSTRALIA.
In a letter to Garden Island from Dakin on 3rd October 1941, Dakin states that he handed over a painted model
of PERTH and one plan with instructions for the design and colors of the experimental camouflage scheme (See tables below)
letter from the Navy of 4th Oct 1941, listed the paints they would be
ordering. This list differed from Dakins. It included a Green and a Dark
Green/Grey but no Olive Green as requested . However, the letter then
went on say that the greys supplied were the Standard Navy Greys. These
would appear to be AP507A and AP507C which were in use by the RAN at
The above correspondence was made in early Oct 1941 and the camouflage painted on PERTH in mid November. During this time
Dakin either revised his early pattern colors as a
result of his tests or to fit in with what paint the Navy could supply.
For whatever reason, no green paint was used in PERTH's final pattern. ( Confirmed in conversation with Frank McGovern Nov. 2011 )
PART OF SHIP
COLOURS REQUESTED BY DAKIN - Oct 1941
COLORS ORDERED BY NAVY - Oct 1941
|Starboard Side Disruptive
|| Light Grey
|Starboard Side Disruptive
||Dark Blue Grey
|False Waves and Deck Patches
( Aust.Nat Arch.
Files C1707/P1 and Series A5954/69 Item 396/7.)
FINAL COLORS FOR 2ND PATTERN
(Confirmed by Frank McGovern, a survivor of the PERTH sinking, who was in charge of the paint locker at the time.)
last pattern was applied between 10th and 21st Nov 1941. (Ship's Log Nov 1941)
The Starboard side: Was painted in a pattern using Light Grey (507C) and Dark Grey (507A). Bow and Stern false waves
of the design was to confuse the enemy as to which way she was actually steaming.
Port side: Carried no pattern and was painted in two tones
of Dirty Blue-Grey. The two blues
were very similar in tone and look
like one color in photos.
( This blue is virtually identical with the Sea Blue worn
by the U.S.Navy in mid-1942) The deck was painted
Dark Blue. Both patterns were still worn at the time of her loss.
The Deck: Painted
in the same color as the darker blue of Port side with white patches.
The white patches were probably similar to those used on the Dec 1940
pattern to confuse the direction of the ship from the air. Whether they
were painted in the same position as those on the first camouflage is
On Nov 24th, Professor Dakin observed PERTH from the air to assess the effectiveness of this paint scheme.
He gave the opinion that ,
although the camouflage scheme was an experiment, they should remain on the ship as they are.
NOTE FOR MODELLERS
There are some publications and model instructions that show a "Dazzle Pattern" being worn on PERTH's port side as part of her second camouflage. In 2009 I raised this matter with Frank McGovern, a survivor of the PERTH sinking, who was in charge of the paint locker at the time. Here is his reply.
“You are quite right
regarding the PORT side being a blue-grey color and remained so when we
were sunk. The starboard side was painted with the angle
camouflage whilst in Sydney. As a matter of fact, I remember being in
the bosun’s chair alongside Syd Matsen painting the aft stack.
My feeling is that
the MED camouflage on the PORT side was painted over in the blue-grey
color maybe prior to applying the new camouflage which we were unable
to do due to the almost constant movement in and out of port. If you
look closely at the last photo of the Perth, you may just discern a
faint outline of the MED camouflage”
(I couldn’t identify the old camo pattern under the paint in her last photo as Frank mentioned.)
Prof.Dakin designed another “Dazzle” pattern for the Port side I
have been unable to verify. If he did it certainly wasn’t used.