- A.N. Other
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Supply I, HMAS Quickmatch, HMAS Melbourne II, HMAS Stalwart II, HMAS Australia II
- December 1999 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
REAR ADMIRAL GEOFFREY VERNON GLADSTONE AO, DSC & Bar, RAN (Ret.)
On Wednesday, 15 September a full naval funeral was held in the Naval Chapel, Garden Island, for a former Royal Australian Naval Fleet Commander. Rear Admiral G.V. Gladstone, AO, DSC & Bar. No naval officer could have been more deserving of the honour accorded to him.
Geoffrey Gladstone joined the RAN College from Western Australia in 1935. He was made a Cadet Captain and he was awarded his Colours for cricket. He was a good batsman and a splendid wicket-keeper. Geoffrey captained the RAN College First XI on numerous occasions. At his graduation from the Naval College he was awarded the King’s Medal for outstanding leadership qualities and gentlemanly behaviour.
Geoffrey Gladstone served in the North and South Atlantic as a midshipman in HMS Sussex. After completing his courses for Lieutenant he spent some time in HMAS Australia operating in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
In September 1942, as a young lieutenant he was one of the officers who commissioned HMAS Quickmatch. Geoffrey Gladstone was awarded his first Distinguished Service Cross for meritorious service in connection with the attack upon the Japanese Naval Base at Sabang in Sumatra. His second Distinguished Service Cross was awarded for gallantry during the Korean ‘War.
He had a long and distinguished naval career being promoted to Commander in 1954 and to Captain in 1961.
As a Captain he commanded three large ships: HMAS Supply, HMAS Stalwart and the aircraft carrier, HMAS Melbourne.
Geoffrey Gladstone was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1967. His first appointment was Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff. From the post of DCNS Admiral Gladstone was appointed to command the RAN Fleet. While commanding the Fleet, the aircraft carrier Melbourne wore his Flag during the Combined Fleets Review at Spithead, Portsmouth, England, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
After his retirement from the Navy Admiral Gladstone joined the French airline company UTA. Because of his considerable charm and tact, he got along especially well with the French.
During his later years, Admiral Gladstone suffered bouts of serious ill health, but his fortitude, indomitable spirit and sense of humour were an inspiration to all who knew him.
Rear Admiral Geoffrey Vernon Gladstone is survived by his wife Charmian, their two sons, Guy and Kay, and two grandchildren. As Admiral Gladstone’s casket – borne by RAN sailors and escorted by eight pall bearing admirals, passed through the aisle of the chapel a farewell violin solo was played by Ivan Gladstone. Ivan is Admiral Gladstone’s twelve-year-old grandson.
A fitting final salute for a very brave man.
This Obituary for Admiral Gladstone was written by Captain N.H.S. White, RAN (Ret.) on the 23rd September, 1999 and added to on the 27th September at the request of Mr John Marsh of the Sydney Morning Herald.