The ‘Yachties’ is a unique saga of exceptional valour displayed by Australian volunteers who served in World War II as officers with the Royal Navy.
Recruited under the Dominion Yachtsmen Scheme, their war service in the Northern Hemisphere was as diverse as it was dangerous.
Most sailed in convoy duties in the Battle of the Atlantic and some in the Arctic run to Murmansk in Russia.
A small group distinguished themselves in Rendering Mines Safe.
The majority served in Combined Operations, which included daring coastal raids, the amphibious landings in the Mediterranean and Normandy, covert operations, and mine sweeping.
Later in the war, Yachties also served in the Royal Australian Navy in South East Asia and the Pacific, contributing to victory with bravery, dash and loyalty to country and Empire.
As a group they are the most highly decorated Australian volunteers.
A saga of daring exploits by Australian Yachtsmen Scheme volunteers who served as officers in the Royal Navy and saw action in some of the most dangerous theatres of the war at sea, including the Atlantic convoys, the Artic supply run to Russia, covert operations and the Allied landings.
At home, their European war service attracted little attention and soon slipped from memory-a couple of hundred ‘Yachties’ no longer fitted the national narrative.
But the astonishing fact is that they received about 30% of the RAN’s officer awards in WWII.
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Contact Military History and Heritage Victoria about this article.