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Post by Admin on Wed 08 Sep 2010, 10:35

Below is a QUOTE from the AGE News Paper re "Sea dog survived first kamikaze strike "

This is a link to the article in the News Paper

AGE Article

Sea dog survived first kamikaze strike
September 8, 2010
30-7-1914 - 28-8-2010
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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 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 1956 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 well-being. 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 RMIT University.

Number of posts : 350
Age : 78
Location : Brisbane
Registration date : 2008-01-10

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