VADM Sir Richard Peek 30.7.1914 - 28.8.2010

Australian Commonwealth Navy - R.A.N. Centenary 1901 - 2001

Australian Navy Foundation Day "Creswell Oration"

Battle of Leyte Gulf Oct 1944 - the biggest Naval battle in history.

Friday 20th September 2001, Inaugural Creswell Oration Address by Commodore Jim Dickson MBE AM RAN Ret'd.


National Naval Heritage Museum.
League Centenary 2000
Defence Committee
Defence - Royal Australian Navy: Retirement Age
Royal Australian Naval Reserve
Australian Navy Cadets (previously Naval Reserve Cadets up to 31 March 2001)
Cadet Scheme Reviews 1996 & 2000 and early 2001 implementation.
Awards and Decorations - Defence Force Reserves Awards

Reserve Forces Day 2000 Report by CDRE Habersberger RANR

Victorian Division current events report.

'Sea 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)

VICE-ADMIRAL 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 Malayan Emergency.
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 Staff.
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.,


Navy 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.
On 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.
Also 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 Australian Navy.
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 for support.

The Federal President had commented that -

"the 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 Navy.
"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 concerning cadets.
"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











































































Advisory Council President's Page Officers & Directors Naval & Maritime Links 'The Navy' Magazine Resolutions & Statements Navy League Awards mail us at : Sitemap Back to Main Menu Officers & Directors Branches Navy Cadet Corps Evnets Events Resolutions & Statements