Australia: Journey Down Memory Lane for Naval College Class of 1953/55

Journey Down the Memory Lane for Naval College Class of 1953-55

The Naval College Class of 1953/55 took a journey down memory lane when they held their 60th Anniversary reunion at HMAS Stirling on Wednesday, 15 May 2013.

Travelling from all parts of Australia, the 40 visitors who consisted of retired members, their partners and widows of former 1953 class members relished the opportunity to spend a day back onboard a Navy base.

Escorted through the Submarine Training Systems Centre, they met and spoke with Training Authority Submarines, Commander Matthew Hoffman about ‘Today’s Navy’ and in particular submarine capabilities.

Navy Domestic Engagement Regional Coordinator and escort for the day Chief Petty Officer Maritime Logistics – Steward Toni Ralph said it was a delight to accompany the visitors around the base and act as a guide during their windscreen tour of HMAS Stirling.

 “It’s not every day you get an opportunity to meet Commodore Peter Dechaineux, the son of Captain Emile Dechaineux,” said CPO Ralph.

“I enjoyed the opportunity to listen to their stories of times gone by, the contributions they made to the Navy and at Stirling whilst they were serving,” she said.

Highlights of the reunion included a short visit to the Fleet Base West Naval Museum where the ‘old’ became the ‘familiar’, and to the Submarine Escape Training Facility where they were able to conduct a walk through of the Escape Tower.

A visit to the Torpedo Maintenance Facility and the RAN School of Survivability and Ship Safety ensured the visitors were brought up to date on a variety of Navy aspects.

Current serving Officers and Senior Sailors joined the visitors in the Sir James Stirling Mess for lunch where stories of camaraderie still relevant in today’s Navy were shared.

Commander Les Renfrey, RAN Retired said it was the sense of nostalgia and the memories of mateship that he enjoyed most from the visit.

Commodore Peter Dechaineux, RAN Retired recalled memories of his time as Commanding Officer HMAS Creswell, recognising the position as the finest of his career. On visiting HMAS Stirling, he acknowledged relationships and people as the best aspect.

 “Re-establishing the connection with the Collins Class submarines and meeting current serving members of the RAN have been the highlight of the day,” he said.

Press Release, May 21, 2013