HMAS Dechaineux is named after CAPT Emile Dechaineux, the Commanding Officer of HMAS Australia (II) during the latter stages of World War II.
On the morning of 21 October 1944, Australia (II) was part of a bombardment force supporting the Allied landing at Leyte in the Central Philippines. During the battle, a Japanese Dive-Bomber was engaged and hit by HMAS Australia (II) and HMAS Shropshire. At first, the aircraft appeared to fly away from the ships, but it subsequently turned and dived into Australia (II), hitting the foremast and causing a large explosion and intense fuel fire. CAPT Dechaineux died of wounds received in the attack and was subsequently awarded the Legion of Merit (Degree of Officer) by the United States Government.
Submarine Dechaineux was launched in Adelaide by CAPT Dechaineux’s widow, Mrs Mary Purbrick on Thursday, 12 March 1998.
HMAS Dechaineux commissioned at Fleet Base-West on Friday, 23 February 2001 along with the fifth Collins Class submarine, HMAS Sheean. The guests included The Hon Peter REITH MP (Minister for Defence), His Excellency Lt Gen John SANDERSON AC (the Governor of Western Australia), The Hon Kim BEAZELY MP (The Federal Minister for Brand) and the Hon Richard COURT MLA (Premier of WA). The Commissioning Lady was once again, CAPT Dechaineux’s widow, Mrs Mary PURBRICK.
The ceremony was also attended by other members of CAPT Dechaineux’s family, including his brother, sister, daughter and grandson.
Since commissioning, HMAS Dechaineux has successfully conducted a range of activities throughout the region in support of Australian Defence Force exercises, operations and the government’s strategic directives. Motto: “FEARLESS AND FEROCIOUS”
Captain Dechaineux was renowned for fairness and compassion towards his men and for his bravery and dedication. He was born and raised in Tasmania; these two themes suggested the motto “Fearless Friend – Ferocious Foe” however this was too long and shorted to the current motto