Famous Officers Of The R.A.N



It is seldom realised that John Dumaresq was the first Australian born officer to command H.M. Australian Fleet.

A grandson of William John Dumaresq who came to Australia in 1825, John Dumaresq was born in Sydney in 1873 but moved to England at the age of two. When 13 he entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and soon after passing out specialised in torpedoes.

The scientific aspect greatly interested him and he invented and had introduced some of the most important instruments connected with fire control - the best known being the Dumaresq, by which the rate of movement of enemy ships is determined.

During the early part of World War I, Captain Dumaresq had command of several ships, notably H.M.S. SHANNON in the Battle of Jutland. Then to gain experience of light cruisers he was appointed to H.M.A.S. SYDNEY for nearly two years.During this period he designed and had fitted in that ship the first revolving platform for catapulting aircraft.

In command of H.M.S. REPULSE he took part in the Battle of Heligoland in November, 1917. In 1919, as Commodore (First Class) he was appointed in command of H.M. Australian Fleet. Promoted to Rear-Admiral in 1921, he retained command until April, 1922. He died in the Philippines on 22nd July, 1922.



Sir John Collins was the first graduate of the Royal Australian Naval College to become First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff.

John Augustine Collins, born at Deloraine, Tasnmania, in 1899, was among the first entrants to the College in 1913. Passing out in 1917 while World War I was still in progress, he was sent to England as a Midshipman to serve with the Grand Fleet.

Specialising in gunnery, he won the Egerton Memorial Prize in 1923 for the highest marks in practical gunnery. Various appointments in Australia followed and at the outbreak of World War IL Captain Collins was Assistant Chief of Staff and Director of Naval Intelligence. Late in 1939 he assumed command of H.M.A.S. SYDNEY and won fame by sinking BARTOLOMEO COLLEONI in the Mediterranean and, later, the destroyer ESPERO.

Having taken part in many engagements, including the Battle of Calabria, Captain Collins was awarded the C.B. for outstanding ability. The post of Chief of Staff to Commander-in-Chief. China was followed by a term as Commodore Commanding the British Far East Squadron when Queen Wilhelmina conferred on him a Knighthood of the Order of Orange Nassau. In 1943 he took command of SHROPSHIRE and later, as Commodore (1st Class) he was appointed in command of the R.A.N. Squadron and a U.S. Task Force.

Severely wounded at Leyte in AUSTRALIA he was, after recovery, again in command of the Squadron in SHROPSHIRE. 1947 saw him attending the Imperial Defence College and at the beginning of 1948, as Rear-Admiral Collins he became First Naval Member and Chief of Naval Staff. Thus he achieved two firsts - the first graduate of the R.A.N.C. to have command of the Squadron and also the first graduate to become First Naval Member. Promoted to Vice-Admiral in 1950, he was Knighted by the Queen in 1951.



In a sadly brief career in World War II, Hector MacDonald Laws Waller won for himself undying fame as an outstandingly courageous and brilliant Naval Officer.

Born in Victoria in April, 1900, he entered the newly-founded RAN. College in 1914. Quickly he established himself as a most promising potential officer and leader, becoming in turn cadet-captain and chief cadet-captain.

At the College he gained his colours for Rugby, and at passing out was awarded the King's Medal. In 1918, as a Midshipman, he was appointed to his first ship, H.M.S. AGINCOURT. As Lieutenant Wailer he became "Year" Officer at the College in 1923, and in 1925 he completed his "dagger" signal course.

Promoted to Commander in 1934 he was serving in H.M.S. RESOURCE and then in H.M.S. BRAZEN, in command, in the Mediterranean during the Spanish Civil War. From 1934 to 1936 he was Commander of the College and at the outbreak of World War II he was appointed to command H.M.A.S. STUART as Commander (D) of the "Scrap Iron" Flotilla.

In 1940 he was promoted to Captain (D) of the Tenth Destroyer Flotilla and played an outstandingly brilliant part in Mediterranean operations. A D.S.O. in September, 1940, for "courageous enterprise and devotion to duty" was followed by a Mention in Despatches for work with the inshore squadron co-operating with the Army in Cyrenaica. and another for good service in Greek waters. The Battle of Matapan brought a Bar to his D.S.O.

In October, 1941, he took command of H.M.A.S. PERTH and was lost with his ship when the Atjs-tralian cruiser was sunk in a battle against an overwhelming Japanese force on 1st March, 1942. A third Mention in Despatches was awarded posthumously.




Sustained bravery in the face of the most extreme danger made Leon Verdi Goldsworthy the most highly decorated man in the Royal Australian Navy. His exploits in World War II make an epic of courage.

Born at Broken Hill on 19th January, 1909, he was educated at Kapunda High School, Adelaide School of Mines and Adelaide University.

At the outbreak of the Second World War he was in business in Western Australia, and after being rejected for the Navy volunteered in turn for the Air Force and the Army.

Fortunately, the Navy asked him to re-apply, and a few months later he arrived in England as an Acting Sub-Lieutenant.

Completing his basic training, Goldsworthy volunteered for the Rendering Mines Safe section and, despite his slight 8-stone, he quickly became recognised as one of the most skilful, patient, daring and courageous experts in this most dangerous field.

With him on this hazardous work that saved so many lives (and which claimed the lives of so many R.M.S. men) were other gallant Australians, notably Lieutenant H. R. Syme, G.C., G.M. and Bar, and Lieutenant-Commander J. S. Mould, G.C., G.M.

In April, 1944, Lieutenant Goldsworthy was awarded the George Medal. A Mention in Despatches followed in August of the same year, and then in September he was decorated with the George Cross and promoted to Lieutenant-Commander.

A Distinguished Service Cross was awarded in January, 1945, and in his new operational sphere in the Pacific he gave invalu-able training to his counterparts in the United States Navy. Here, particularly at Balikpapan and Corregidor, he enhanced his reputation for skill, daring and outstanding devotion to duty.

He was on his way back to the U.K. by air when the war ended, and he attended the Victory Naval Review at Spithead.



Captain Walker 's Second Escort Group (R.N.) of Anti-submarine Frigates justly earned their fame as a deadly and greatly feared submarine killer group, and an Australian Naval Officer, Lieut. Commander S. Darling, was perhaps the Group's most skilful hunter of the skulking U-boats.

Born in Bellerive, Tasmania, in 1907, Stanley Darling was educated at Hutchins School and at the University of Tasmania, graduating as a Bachelor of Engineering in 1929. His Naval career began in 1921 when he became an R.A.N.R. Cadet.

On the outbreak of war in September, 1939, he was mobilised in Sydney and under-went an anti-submarine course at H.M.A.S. RUSHCUTTER. In August, 1940, Lieut. Cdr. Darling went to England on loan to the Royal Navy. Here he served in command of anti-submarine vessels varying from trawlers to frigates -on convoy escort and A/S patrols in most areas of the Atlantic, including Gibraltar, the Faroes, coastal waters. the Caribbean Sea and West Africa.

In command of H.M.S. LOCH KILLIN, one of the first of a new class of frigate equtpped with a new A/S weapon he joined the Second Escort Group in June, 1944, on A/S patrol in the South Western Approaches and the English Chan-nel in support of the Normandy landings. In this phase LOCH KILLIN detected and sank two U-boats and assisted in the sinking of two others in a single patrol. LOCH KILLIN was again successful in locating and sinking a U-boat in the English Channel in April, 1945. Promoted in the same year, Commander Darling took H.M.S. LOCH LOMOND to South East Asian waters and operated there until the surrender of Japan.

On returning to Australia he resumed training in the R.A.N.R. and was promoted Captain in 1953. Awarded the O.B.E. in 1960, he retired in 1961, completing a distinguished Naval career extending over 40 years.


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