- Lind, L.J.
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- December 1990 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
There were a number of milestones in the development of the Society but none were as important as our publishing programme. Not only did it achieve one of our major aims, to bring naval history to the attention of the Australian public, it also gave us financial stability. The Naval Historical Society of Australia is unique in voluntary organisations in that it has never experienced financial problems. We were fortunate that the Committee in 1971 had the foresight and courage to embark on the programme.
Man o-War Steps Memorial
With the completion of the Sydney Opera House the century old fleet landing, Man-o-War Steps would cease to exist. In 1971 the original landing had been demolished to provide the eastern court and the Committee decided to take action to ensure that this important feature of the Navy presence in Sydney would not be forgotten. Letters were forwarded to both the Sydney City Council and the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales proposing they place a suitable plaque to mark the site. The Maritime Services Board agreed to the suggestion and the Society provided the appropriate wording. Members of the Society were invited to the official unveiling of the plaque in 1972. (Strange to relate a second plaque was placed in the vicinity of the site by a navalmen’s group some years later.)
There were a number of significant changes to the composition of the Committee at the 1971 Annual General Meeting. Those voted to office were: President – L.J. Lind, Vice Presidents – Commander G. Knox, RAN (Ret.) and Gavin Cashman, Secretary – Lieutenant R. Atwill, DSM, RN (Ret.), Treasurer – Alan Payne and Committee – Lieutenant Commander W.O.C. Roberts, DSC, RAN, Lieutenant Commander Peter Churchill, RN (Ret), Messrs Terry Mitchell, William Martin and Arthur McEwen.
The venue for Society meetings was changed to Royal Naval House (Johnny’s), in Grosvenor Street in November. Johnny’s proved a popular meeting place not only for the nostalgia of its surroundings but for the bar facilities available in the meeting area. It should be added a standing rule was passed that the bar should close when the meeting commenced – it re-opened at the closure.
1972 – More publishing & Memorial to BPF
1972 saw the stepping up of our book publishing programme. Three new titles were published in the year – ‘N Class’, L.J. Lind and M.A. Payne; ‘HMAS CANBERRA’, M.A. Payne and ‘HMAS SYDNEY 1913-1928’, L.J. Lind and C.E. Daw. ‘N Class’ and ‘HMAS CANBERRA’ were large books, both in excess of 130 pages.
All sold well and ‘HMAS CANBERRA’ was exceptionally well received in the United States. Alan Payne was delighted when the United States Naval Institute commissioned him to write a paper on the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Savo Island. The article appeared later that year.
Our publication sales were no longer restricted to members. Sales were made in this period to five booksellers in Australia, one each in the United States and Germany and two in Great Britain.
1972 marked the memorial to the British Pacific Fleet set up at the Main Gates of Naval Base Headquarters at Potts Point. The British Pacific Fleet, the largest to visit Australia, was indeed a ‘forgotten fleet’ in the 1970s. At some time in 1971 I had a long talk with Rear Admiral G.S. Moore, CBE about his reception of Admiral Fraser at Naval Base Headquarters in 1944. It was this conversation which germinated the idea of a memorial to the BPF.
I raised the subject with the Committee and it was enthusiastically received. In retrospect, this was not surprising, observing three committeemen were ex Royal Navy. The next step was gauging the interest of the Royal Navy in the project and I passed the idea on to Commander Tom Ferrers-Walker, RN in the UK. Tom had been secretary to Admiral Fraser in the BPF days.
The British Pacific Fleet made an important contribution to Australian Naval history. Australian ships and a large number of RAN personnel served in it from its inception to its disbandment. Although overshadowed by the operations of American Fleets in the Pacific its contribution to final victory was considerable.
The response from Commander Ferrers-Walker was tremendous. He arranged through the Royal Navy the presentation of the tread plate, dolphins and crest of HMS DUKE OF YORK for embodiment in the memorial.