VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Death Notices, Obituaries, Remembrances of Departed Shipmates
SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 2:59 am

Daughter Nicola, her brother Michael. See SMH today for death notice. Provides full details and an email contact to register 1100 GI Fri 31 January.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:13 am

See SMH death notices yesterday Saturday 25 January. Full details of memorial service and terms of G I access needing visitor registration by an email.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:12 pm

Vice Admiral David Willoughby Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd (1928-2020)


The war was over. The 1942 intake of cadet midshipmen to the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC) “passed out” from Flinders Naval Depot on 1 September, 1945. The next day, the victorious allies concluded the terms of an unconditional surrender from the defeated imperial forces of Japan at a ceremony marking the end of hostilities, in USS Missouri at Tokyo Bay, at which General Douglas MacArthur presided. The graduating class were later considered as authentic veterans of World War II.

While the sounds of loud cheering, relief and sadness were voiced throughout Australia, it may have attracted a muted response from the new officers who would now join the fleet. Having trained to serve, the chalice was withdrawn from them denying them the opportunity to actively participate in combat. They need not have worried unduly as other wars would beckon them throughout their long naval careers.

David Leach was a member of that notable cohort. Born at Subiaco on 17 July, 1928 he entered the RANC on 28 January, 1942. He gave his religion as Church of England and his address at Nedlands. As the son of a WWI veteran, he was given a special category cadetship, as was Pat Burnett, whose father was lost in the sinking of HMAS Sydney the year before. The younger Leach was educated at Nedlands State School and briefly at Perth Modern School. One of his class mates, Bill Rourke, was the other West Australian entrant of that year. Their school had distinguished alumni, over a span of years, including: Bob Hawke, Billy Snedden, John Stone and Paul Hasluck. Rolfe Harris, was also an alumnus, but he is now very undistinguished.

What is moral courage? David Leach evinced it at an early age. His headmaster prevented him from taking the naval college entry examination. Not to be outdone, the young aspirant took a sick day off to undergo it, passing successfully being placed third in the order of merit. The statistics are revealing. Some 234 students were eligible to apply, of whom 25 % were rejected on medical grounds. Of the 38 selected, some would be withdrawn from training during their course.

This cadet midshipman suffered the tyranny of distance for Perth was on the other side of the continent which only added to his isolation and home sickness. Travel coast to coast was long and arduous. The young teenager recalled making 17 single journeys by rail, mostly on troop trains, across the Nullarbor. These hot and dusty trips took upwards of four days. To compound that misery, he was often brutally punished. For minor infractions, he was given six on his backside, applied by senior cadets with a gym shoe. That in-house ill-discipline by bullies was an institutional sickness itself. If they beat the cream out of him then he rose above those unsupervised clots who administered it in a juvenile environment. He survived. For he was made chief cadet-captain and was awarded the King’s Medal on passing out. A tall man of strong physique he actively participated in sports gaining colours in rugby, swimming and rowing. David maintained that fitness throughout his long career and once played in a Victorian rugby side when he was a lieutenant. He also golfed.

At the outset, this is an obituary, not the obituary. For that, it avoids the need to catalogue every ship and depot he served in or the professional education he underwent, at home or abroad. It is enough to merely summarise them and the same applies to each and every promotion up the command tree. While that path is of obvious interest to the naval community, any overly detailed time chart with its milestones on his sea roads travelled services complete oblivion. Obligatory press releases will chart that pilgrim’s progress. His service life informs the public record.

David joined the British Pacific Fleet with some others of his year and their first ship was HMS Newfoundland where they served together in 1947. Their deployment took them to the East Indies, among other regions. There was a mishap at sea and the ship’s unpopular executive officer was dashed against a sea wall and he was severely injured. The commanding officer later gravely informed the crew that the commander had succumbed to fatal injuries. At the news, many of the ship’s company cheered it. They were predominantly “hostilities only” sailors and their abiding ambition was to become civilians on return home. David Leach was on the bridge to witness the reaction. He surmised that the event was instructive, informing him on the need for good man management and the importance of morale on board.

More adventures awaited the young gentlemen. They were unhappy in Newfoundland, their journal entries reflected it, and they later spent a month in HMS Glory. While some could have easily been placed on quarterly report, it was not proceeded with, after all, they were only young, and such intercession might have dented their confidence and impacted on their development and performance. Of the six, some were assessed as lazy, unenthusiastic and slovenly. Not David Leach. Four midshipmen were despatched on a week’s cruise from Singapore up the West coast of Malaya in an ML flotilla. They took OOW manoeuvres, boat handling, anchoring, navigation and piloting, etc. They were favourably reported on; however, there was one misadventure. One boy earned Schadenfreude. He ate the commanding officer’s breakfast in error. Scorn travelled fast throughout the fleet!

This is an interim and thus provisional obituary, being part one, as part two will surely follow. Why is this so? Vice Admiral Leach does not invite a hurried story so it should be necessarily truncated to allow more time for reflection. His funeral is scheduled for next Friday 31st January at Garden Island Chapel. How many cubits make David’s statue? A tall, handsome, athletic, mature, confident, modest and intelligent man, he was an exemplar, for his distinguished and honourable career towered over us all. At his service on Friday, think of David Leach and the effect of his inspired leadership within and without of the RAN. He deserves more than being dismissed in a press report. Whilst this may appear unusual, he was an unusual man, the likes of whom sadly we shall never see again, but his legacy will continue to motivate naval people, from the past, the present and in any unrealised glorious future. Official tributes will be the release of an oath. Honour him. Part two follows.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:47 pm

My parts two & three can wait until another time as other separate obituaries are now also under consideration and will be authorised later elsewhere.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:16 pm

Being considered for publication in several major metropolitan newspapers.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:20 pm

His brother John in Perth survives him - perhaps with another, Peter? To compare and contrast the DDG gun line captains in Doyle, Leach and Burnside is invidious as each were their own man with a distinct command style. After all, that should be left to the 1, 000 or so in Perth's three VN tours.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:09 pm

There were four sons, so assume John & Peter survive their two brothers who have since died. David and another brother. Authorised obituary in hand.

Haydn
Posts: 14
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:08 am
Real Full Name: Haydn Smith
Rank and Rate/Category: WOCOX
Enlistment Date: 12 Mar 1960
Date of Discharge: 12 Mar 1980
Ships and Depots Served: Sydney, Melbourne. Stuart, Moresby x 2, IMCE Holsworthy, RSO Townsville, Cerberus, Penguin, Leeuwin, Stirling

Re: VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by Haydn » Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:42 am

Congadulations Micheal your Obigatory on VADM D Leach appreared in the West Australian today. Well written sand a fine tribute.

SLSU1966
Posts: 370
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2018 12:47 pm
Real Full Name: Michael Fogarty
Rank and Rate/Category: LEUT
Enlistment Date: 28 Feb 1966
Date of Discharge: 12 May 1972
Ships and Depots Served: Cerberus, Duchess, Melbourne, Kuttabul, FHQ, Harman

VADM D W Leach, AC, CBE, LVO, RAN, Rtd.

Post by SLSU1966 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:16 am

VMT positive feedback Haydn. The City of Perth and WA itself would have been proud of their namesake ship and followed its exploits closely, surely during the VN war. Presume they got a freedom of the city entry march to salute their citizens and be duly honoured themselves for the pride of the city they represented. I suspect the fleet program would have tasked port visits (Fremantle) as appropriate. D W L was respected and admired by all.

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