Sir Richard Peek 30.7.1914 - 28.8.2010
Commonwealth Navy - R.A.N. Centenary
1901 - 2001
Navy Foundation Day "Creswell Oration"
of Leyte Gulf Oct 1944 - the biggest Naval battle in history.
20th September 2001, Inaugural
Creswell Oration Address by Commodore Jim Dickson MBE AM RAN Ret'd.
ASPECTS OF ANZAC by late CDRE Dacre Smyth AO RAN Ret'd
Naval Heritage Museum.
- Royal Australian Navy: Retirement Age
Australian Naval Reserve
Navy Cadets (previously Naval Reserve Cadets up to 31 March 2001)
Scheme Reviews 1996 & 2000 and early 2001 implementation.
Awards and Decorations - Defence Force
Forces Day 2000 Report by
CDRE Habersberger RANR
Division current events report.
dog survived first kamikaze strike' RICHARD INNES PEEK, KBE, CB,
DSC FORMER RAN CHIEF 30-7-1914 TO 28-8-2010
By GEOFFREY EVANS a and ROGER de LISLE (Melbourne Age Newspaper
p20 Wed 8 Sept 2010)
Sir Richard Peek, who was badly injured in a Japanese, kamikaze
attack on his ship, in the Pacific in world-war II before going
on to the top post in the Royal Australian Navy in November 1970,
has died of kidney failure in hospital in Canberra, aged 96.
Peek, who earlier served briefly on the Royal Navy battleship
Revenge in the Atlantic, also served on HMAS Hobart for more than
two years in. the Mediterranean. as well as in a south-east Asian
waters and the Pacific, taking part in the battle of the Coral
Sea. But it was later while serving as the squadron gunnery officer
on HMAS Australia on October 21, 1944, that he came close to death;
the cruiser was the first Allied ship to be hammered when the
Japanese unleased their first ever kamikaze attack during the
Battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. Peek was on the bridge
of HMAS Australia, standing near the Captain, Emile Dechaineux,
when the Japanese pilot's aircraft struck. Dechaineux and 30 of
his men were killed and 56 wounded, including Peek, who was badly
burned. Peek was made an officer in the Order of the British Empire
(OBE) and was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).
At the end of the war he led the RAN contingent in the victory
march though London.
Born, in Tamworth, and educated at Penrith, he entered the RAN
College at Jervis Bay as a cadet midshipman in 1928 and was given
the nickname "Peter" when he was a midshipman on HMAS Canberra.
During his distinguished career, Peek served, in all of the RAN's
key, appointments, retiring as First Naval Member and Chief of
Naval Staff in 1973. After four years at the navy college, he
completed his initial training with the Royal Navy; Peek was awarded
five first class certificates in his sub-lieutenant exams in 1934-35
- in seamanship, academic subjects, gunnery, torpedo and navigation
- before returning to Australia to join HMAS Canberra in January
1936. Promotion to Lieutenant followed. Peek returned to Britain
in 1938 for further study and service with the RN before joining
HMS Revenge, which was part of the British home fleet. He returned
to Australia to spend 1940 at the gunnery school at HMAS Cerberus
on the Mornington Peninsula. In May 1941 he joined HMAS Hobart,
followed by promotion to Lieutenant Commander and his fateful
posting on HMAS Australia.
After the war and further land duties, he returned to Britain
in 1946 and successfully completed courses at the RN's staff college;
the following year he attended the Joint Services Staff' College.
Back home he enjoyed further sea-postings and promotions that
took him from HMAS Australia through HMAS Shoalhaven, and successive
commands on the destroyers Bataan and Tobruk. The latter included
operational service in the Korean War, for which he was awarded
the American Legion of Merit. Shore postings followed from mid-1952
as Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel in Melbourne, when he reached
the rank of Captain.
In June 1958 he again captained HMAS Tobruk and commanded a destroyer
squadron as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve during the
Another exchange posting followed with the British Admiralty for
two years and he simultaneously completed the 1961 course at the
Imperial Defence College. During the next eight years, senior
appointments followed in rapid succession back in Australia, including
command of both the RAN's aircraft carriers, Sydney and Melbourne,
until he was promoted to Vice-Admiral and appointed Chief of Naval
As navy chief, Peek was required to develop changes in defence
brought about by the Whitlam government's decision to abolish
the separate departments of the navy, army and air force and integrate
the armed forces into a single Department of Defence:
He expressed concern at the time about the lack of funds available
to replace the; navy's ageing escort forces. His disquiet became
known and attracted media attention in 1974 when the Navy League
published an article on the subject in its journal, The Navy.
Peek was twice honoured while Chief of the Navy; he became a Companion
of the Bath (CB) in 1971, and Knight Commander of the Order of
the British Empire (KBE) in 1972.
After he retired, he joined the Navy League's Advisory Council
and never hesitated to express his conviction that an effective
navy was absolutely essential to Australia's continued wellbeing.
He also backed the general well-being of sailors.
Peek became a pastoralist with a substantial property near Cooma,
and enjoyed gardening. He was predeceased by his first wife, Margaret,
and his second wife, Lady Catherine, and is survived by his son
Matthew and daughters Jane and Rachel.
Commander Geoffrey Evans is a Past President of the Navy League
of Australia. Roger de Lisle is a former lecturer in journalism
at Melbourne University.,
LEAGUE OF AUSTRALIA - 2000"
League branches were established in Tasmania in 1900, in Victoria
July 1915 and NSW in Nov 1918. The 'Australian' Navy League Sea
Cadet Corps was introduced into Australia by the new NSW Branch
in the post World War 1 period (April 1920) as a civilian parallel
to the Defence Department - Navy's own Australian Navy Cadet scheme
that dated from 1st July 1907. Victoria had community Boys Naval
Brigades (BNB) pioneered by Warrant Officer Robert Kearns from
1901, that were not subject to the Naval Discipline Act. This
he did whilst appointed Senior Officer of HMAS Childers
based at Williamtown Naval Depot, after his return from duty in
China where he served as part of the Victorian NSW contingent
under CAPT Frederick Tickell CMG CNF in restoring peace resulting
from the Boxer Uprising.
Kearns was supported by Cameron and they raised several private
BNB units attached to Churches etc in the Melbourne and country
areas before Defence commenced its own ANC on 1st July 1907. These
units were absorbed by compulsory military training from 1911.
It was not until 1920 that the Navy League in NSW formed another
community based Sea Cadet organisation, the Navy League Sea Cadet
Corps (NLSCC), which ran in parallel with the defence ANCadets.
The League's Cadet Units developed rapidly in New South Wales
from 1920, and were supported by very influential and enthusiastic
volunteers. It expanded back into Victoria by the late 1920s and
in all States over the next 50 years, reaching totals of 2500
cadets by 1970.
The Navy League's work centred mainly on establishing youth Sea
Cadet training groups to encourage Australian youth in their interests
in the sea.
The Branches of the Navy League in Australia combinned to form
a separate Australian Company under the Companies Act, entitled
Navy League of Australia in 1950-1954 period.
1st January 1950 the Government re-established their own ANCadets
as RANR Cadets. The former ANC had ceased training in 1939 with
the onset of World War 2.
in 1945 the Royal Australian Naval Reserve (RANR), was disbanded
and it was reactivated on 1st January 1950.
The new Navy League of Australia renamed their 1920-1950 Navy
League Sea Cadet Corps' (NLSCC) as the Australian Sea Cadet Corps
(ASCC) as the League negotiated with the RAN and formed a new
'Australian Sea Cadet Council' jointly with the RAN's Director
of Naval Reserves and Cadets as its Chairman.
By 1973, by mutual arrangement with the Australian Commonwealth
Naval Board, more than 2000 Navy League Australian Sea Cadet Corps
personnel merged with the Navy's 300 RANR Sea Cadets into a new
body, the Naval Reserve Cadets (NRC). This body from this time
came under the direct sponsorship and management of the Royal
The Navy League Branches and Divisions continued supporting NRC
Units and took an active interest in the Naval Reserve Cadet training.
In 2000 the centenary of the NLA was celebrated in Launceston.
In April 2001 the RAN renamed its NRC to return it to the original
Australian Naval Cadets (ANC) name as part of the overall government
sponsorship of the three services Navy, Army and Air Force cadets.
This was followed
by substantially improved financial support from Government although
much of the finance appeared to be siphoned off for administration
as Cadet Units were still struggling for practical support for
their training and camp expenditures which outside organisations,
such as the Naval Association and the Navy League, were approached
The Federal President had commented that -
interests of the Navy League are wide ranging. They cover almost
anything to do with maritime affairs.
"Each year one Navy Cadet unit is chosen as the best unit
in Australia. The judging process involves inspection of units
throughout the nation. The prize for being judged as best unit
is the award of the Navy League Efficiency Trophy by Chief of
"In addition to awards recognising the work of units there
are in a number of States prizes for individual cadets.
"The League has a long, historic connection with the Cadets.
Indeed from 1920 to 1973 the League, with some assistance from
Navy (after 1950), ran and funded what was then known as the Australian
Sea Cadet Corp. Since the Navy took over the primary responsibility
in 1973 the League has retained an active interest in the welfare
of the cadets.
"It has regularly brought to the attention of Navy issues
"It has also over the last thirty years provided financial
support amounting to several million dollars to Cadet Units.
"Whenever appropriate the League gives its support to the
preservation of our naval heritage."
By Graham Harris; Federal President Navy League of Australia