- Howland, Tony
- Biographies and personal histories, Obituaries
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 2007 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
He returned to sea as the Flag Officer Commanding HMA Fleet between April 1971 and December 1972. After a brief six months back in Navy Office as Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, he returned to HMAS Kuttabul for his final posting in the RAN as Flag Officer in Charge, East Australian Area. He retired from the RAN in February, 1975.
Upon his retirement, he was appointed Chief Project Officer for the Australian Defence Force Academy, responsible initially for arguing, and winning, the case for the Academy, and then for planning its physical shape and supervising the academic criteria. He was replaced in this role by Admiral Peter Sinclair when construction began almost eight years later.
After ADFA, Admiral Dovers undertook several charity activities, including a year as the Chairman of the Canberra Red Shield Appeal, and continued his golf. Unfortunately, towards the end of last decade his wife, Ray, contracted Alzheimer’s disease, and the Admiral committed himself full time to her care. He regards this work as his greatest achievement. Mrs Dovers died on 11 December, 2005.
Admiral Dovers is survived by his daughter, Sandra, and son, ‘Young Bill’, who, like his father, rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the RAN.
Many of us will have memories of Bill Dovers, some of which will be pleasant, some, if we performed at less than the highest standard, perhaps less so. Our respect for him as a senior officer in our service may well preclude our open expression of those memories. But I have found no better or more apt description of Bill Dovers than the words written about him by Evan Williams in a profile he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald in July, 1968:
‘Jolly as a hornpipe, hearty as an old sea shanty, Bill Dovers walks with a swaggering gait that suggest something of the boundless self-confidence, the ‘outstanding courage, skill and endurance’ that won him the DSC in the South-West Pacific towards the end of World War II. ‘He’s a down-to-earth, bluff, no-nonsense sort of chap,’ says an officer who knows him well. ‘But he has some of that old world gallantry of the gentleman officer. Never forgets to ask how your wife is. But humanitarian, too. Demands the highest standards, and makes sure he gets them.’
Vale Bill Dovers