I am a serving member of the Royal Australian Navy, and was posted to HMAS Hobart for a period of 4 years between 1990 and 1994. Being a Signalman on the ship I was frequently required to go up and down to the flag deck (which is located at the highest level of the ship)at any time of the day or night. There were three ways to access the flag deck, one was the port or starboard ladders which were the usual every day ladder similar to one in homes throughout the country. The other was via the rear ladder which was approximately 4 metres long and on a 45 degree angle, your typical ship borne ladder. The sheer length of this ladder gave it flexibility whenever two people were using it to go up or down, however the strength of the ladder was such as the flexibility to be negligible when you were on the ladder by yourself.
During a watch at sea (at around 4 am) my supervisor sent me up to the flag deck to prepare all the ceremonial items that were required for our impending arrival in Hobart at 6 am. The sea state was rough and the ship was taking the waves on the left hand side, making for a very heavy roll. Taking this in mind, my supervisor instructed to me to use the rear ladder so I would be at a less risk of falling over the side. As previously stated the ladder flexed when there was two people on it. As I ascended the ladder this morning, it flexed as though someone were running up it, and to this day I swear someone followed me up that ladder. I had a sense of being followed and could feel something actually walk past/through me on the ladder. When I got up on to the flag deck, I could feel a real sensation of being watched, not in a pervasive or mischievous sense, but more in a supervisory, looking over your shoulder sense. I tried my best to ignore it until I went into the Signalmans Shelter which is a small compartment where the ceremonial items I had to prepare were kept. As I stood inside the shelter I "felt" someone in there with me and could hear them breathing as though they had being running or working hard.
I finished what I had to do and went down below to tell my supervisor what had happened, he did not believe me, but suggested that I talk to the Chief Coxswain who had served nearly 15 years on the ship and may know something about it.
When I explained what had happened to the Chief Coxswain he informed me of the Leading Seaman Signalman that had been killed whilst running up the back ladder to his action station when the ship had served in Vietnam. Apparently, the ship took a missile hit and a piece of shrapnel took this poor man's head clean off his shoulders.
I never felt that feeling again when I was on the ship, but several of my friends did and shared their experiences with me.
Interestingly enough HMAS Hobart was decommissioned several months ago and I was lucky enough to be posted back to her for a couple of months whilst I was waiting for my new ship to get back from Timor. I was the supervisor this time and just to test the water I sent one of the young guys on my watch up to the flag deck at 4 in the morning and told him to use the back ladder. When he came back down he said to me "There is something not right up there and I am not going back up there until daylight" although he would not elaborate any further.
Was HMAS Hobart haunted?, I believe so but not in the traditional manner of hauntings I think that there was something there but it was and is the ghost of some poor bloke just trying to do his job. Rest his soul.