In my article The Strategic Balance in the Asia — Pacific region: Naval Aspects (JANI Aug 86). I neglected to give Professor Lee Ngoc of the SOSC due credit for his contribution. The article was in fact based on a joint paper which I delivered to a conference at Sydney University earlier this year. Professor Lee contributed the sections on Japan and China together with the very interesting introduction to the South-East Asian region.
Page 10 - November 86. Journal ol Hie Australian Naval Instilule
COMMODORE VERNON PARKER
INAUGURAL PRESIDENT AUSTRALIAN NAVAL INSTITUTE
Vernon Parker retired from the Navy at his own request after thirty eight years service which had begun as a Cadet Midshipman in January 1940. He had come from Norseman, a small goldmining town in West Australia. His years at the Naval College had already begun to show the tenacity, drive and gregarious good humour which were to characterise so much of his life.
In World War II Vernon served in Royal Navy ships in the North Atlantic; his first ship was the County Class cruiser. HMS Berwick. It was a long way from Norseman to Russia and back, and all before his twentieth birthday. After the war he served in destroyers on Occupation duty in Japan, and. in GPV 960. engaged in Post-war mineclearances in the Solomons. A career-long association with training began with his posting to the Training Squadron operating out of Hann's Inlet at Flinders Naval Depot, and later at the JRTE, HMAS Leeuwin, at Fremantle soon after the introduction of the Junior Recruit entry
As First Lieutenant of HMAS Queenborough in 1958 Vernon had the difficult and unhappy duty of relieving his captain in command when the latter had suffered a stroke at sea.
Shortly after his promotion to Commander he was selected for Indonesian language training and posted to Djakarta as the Australian Naval Attache. As an Acting Captain during the Iwo difficult years of Indonesia's Confrontation of Malaysia in 1964 and 65. Vernon's work was valued very highly by his Ambassador, and his more perceptive civilian colleagues: one of whom commented that Vernon's political sensitivity raised his performance head and shoulders above that of his colleagues.
Reverting to Commander on his return to Australia in the mid-60s, Vernon served as Executive Officer in both HMAS Sydney and HMAS Melbourne before being promoted to Post Captain In that rank he commanded both HMAS Supply and HMAS Creswell. and. together with Commander Banjo' Paterson. was assigned to survey naval training systems world-wide, and to propose significant reforms to the entire naval training system It was a huge undertaking and remains a lasting tribute to his professional abilities While commanding the RAN College Vernon proposed and saw instituted important improvements in the training of Junior Officers. At that time he was also coping with the private tragedy of the knowledge that his first wife, Joan, was suffenng from terminal cancer.
Vernon's last postings were at Navy Office as DNRC and. very appropriately, as DGNTE. as a Commodore It was dunng what were to be his last three years in the Navy that his vision lor a Naval Society came to fruition, and he became the first President of the Australian Naval Institute at its formal birth in July 1975. His brief account of How it all Began' in the first issue of this Journal makes fairly light of the difficulties and frustrations, both official and unofficial, put in the way of Vernon and his Steering Committee Nor does his modest report mention some of the important and subtle means by which he rallied support for the idea of the Institute, the "Confirmed Captains" and Commodores' (Luncheon) Club for one. an organisation which subsequently took on a life of its own.
After leaving the Navy. Vernon went to Melbourne to live and to found his own small but successful marine business, conducting marine surveys, providing and laying moonngs, buoys, navigation aids and ships fittings. Vernon made a habit of being successful at whatever he undertook He sold the company only two years ago and retired to a small country property in Victoria Like many sailors he was also attracted to tarmmg with its similanties to seagoing through exposure to the whims of unpredictable nature as part of the price ol a feeling of independence and freedom; an occupation calling for personal qualities of resilience and self-reliance which Vernon had in full measure
Soon after his 601h birthday this year Vernon began to experience some minor discomfort, but it did not seem significant after so many years of good health. It was a great shock then that the serious nature of his illness was diagnosed only weeks before his death. Mercifully he was spared a lingering illness
Vernon's sixty years were all too short and yet. if the quality of a life is far more important that the quantity, it has to be acknowledged that Vernon had quality in full because he contributed so much He lived his allotted span to the hill, always exuberant, bubbling over with ideas and enthusiasm He leaves enduring monuments to his vision and energy, in the form of the Australian Naval Institute and the naval training system He never counted the cost of his devotion to the Navy, a devotion which went far beyond the call of duty Brenda. his wife, his daughters. Sharon and Joanne, his son, Scott, his mother. Constance, and his sister. Eve. have imperishable memories and sources of great pride to sustain them in their loss. And all of us who had the joy ot knowing Vernon have warm memories of a life well lived.
November '86. Journal of the Australian Naval Institute — Page 11
THE NAVAL REVIEW
Following the publication of the 10th anniversary issue of the ANI Journal in May 1985. the editor of the English Naval Review offered very noteworthy praise of the Journal's editors, the overall standard of contributions and high quality of production. After commenting on the contents of the issue, the editor. Rear Admiral Richard Hill concluded;
"One could go on and indeed back through the previous issues to find any number of worthwhile things in this lively, distinguished Journal. Congratulations, then, to the ANI on its tenth anniversary and. from its more sober-sided counterpart on this side of the world, best wishes for all the decades to come.'
As the representative of the Naval Review in Australia it is fitting that I renew the spirit of these words in this RAN 75lh anniversary year. But I would also like to go further and offer a return tribute as an ANI member in bringing to the attention of Institute members the value of the Naval Review to anyone with an interest in naval affairs, particularly relating to the predominant force in the Commonwealth
The Review came into existence as a consequence of the founding in October 1912 of a Naval Society by eight officers to ... promote the advancement and spreading within the service of knowledge relevant to the higher aspects of the naval profession.' Nearly 75 years later the Review continues to express this charter in its pages full of high quality professional contributions relating to naval affairs.
The Naval Review opens with an informative and incisive editorial Articles often focus on problems in the RN and occasionally on strategies for their solution, pressing issues in international maritime affairs, historical pieces, comments on merchant service and navalcivil liaison Following the articles is the correspondence section the size and scope of which would tend to embarrass many ANI contributors. II is not unusual for the Review to include fifteen articles of correspondence relating to matters raised in previous issues of the journal. Pulling up the rear is the Review' section consisting of comments and criticism covering other professional journals, recent book releases and the re-issue of more aged texts.
The Naval Review has a broad outlook which encompasses the most common areas of interest for ANI members. A subscription is therefore encouraged as a worthwhile investment of 10 pounds sterling (five pounds for sub-lieutenants and below) for four issues and the time needed to contribute to the Review or at least to ponder its pages. Enquiries can be addressed to either the Editor; Rear Admiral JR. Hill or the Secretary:
Cornhill House Captain C.H.H. Owen RN
The Hangers 32 West Street
Southampton S03 1EF West Sussex P019 1QS
UNITED KINGDOMUNITED KINGDOM
Pago 12 - November 66. Journal ol Ihe Auslralian Naval Institute