Submariners worldwide are a special breed, rarely understood by mere mortals and never understood by skimmers. Submariners of all nations understand this and show respect to each other, knowing the hardship and danger that each has faced to achieve membership to that elite club to which they belong.
The Association's aims and goals are:
•To keep alive the unique "esprit de corps" of the Submarine Service;
•To establish and maintain a charitable trust, being a welfare foundation;
•To assist one another as occasion may require and to encourage social activities;
•To liaise with kindred organisations, both nationally and internationally; and,
•To educate members about their entitlements and provide access to Department of Veterans' Affairs advocates
The Association maintains a close relationship with several overseas Submariners' Associations.
Membership is open to all submariners, regardless of the navy in which they served.
I received the message below from VADM Matt Tripovich AO, CSC after he reached out for assistance in locating Oxley’s Bell.
Thankyou David. I received the following text yesterday from Rick Wakeman who posted there original appeal in the DVA magazine which triggered me to help. Would you please let your members know and pass his appreciation on to anyone who was involved.
Just to let you know I have just received the Photos requested and they are great and passed onto him, I would like to thank all involved.
Well done to all that helped.
David Strangward, AM
National President SAA
Commander GLENME SM John O’Neill - Bio
COMMANDER JOHN GRAHAM O’NEILL OAM RAN (RTD)
John (JG) O’Neill was born in North Kensington South Australia on the 9th of October 1941 and he was educated at the Cavendish Road High School in Brisbane before he enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy for twelve years as a Naval Apprentice on the 4th of January 1957. He was a member of the second intake of apprentices into HMAS Nirimba and after his initial six months training, he was rated as an Engine Room Artificer Apprentice (Fitter and Turner).
Nirimba was to be John’s home for the next four years and after he graduated in December 1960, he posted to the frigate HMAS Queenborough as an ERA 5th Class to commence the sea phase of his training. He would remain in Queenborough until March 1963 when the ship went into reserve at Williamstown Dockyard. Queenborough made annual South East Asian deployments on each of the three years John served on her. He was promoted to ERA 4th class (Petty Officer) in November 1962.
On leaving Queenborough John posted to the former aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney until in late 1963 he volunteered for and was selected to undertake submarine training in the United Kingdom. He undertook his initial training at HMS Dolphin before completing the sea phase of his training on HMS Cachalot and being awarded his submarine qualification. He was promoted to ERA 1st Class (CPO) in November 1964 and he was awarded his Marine Engineering Charge Certificate in March 1967, all whilst serving in the UK. In June 1967 he was commissioned as a Special Duties Marine Engineering Sub-Lieutenant.
Throughout the remainder of 1967 and in 1968, John completed his post commissioning courses and the submarine technical officers’ training course in the UK before finally returning to Australia in late 1968 after an absence of five years. Within weeks he was back at sea in HMAS Sydney where he would serve for twelve months, during which time the ship made three trips to Vietnam. On the 20th of April 1970 he assumed the duties of the Marine Engineering Officer of HMAS Ovens, then under the command of the late LCDR, later Captain, Barry Nobes RAN. John’s posting to Ovens was clearly a successful one as he was allowed to transfer to the General List of Officers and was posted to the staff of the General Overseer and Superintendent of Inspection in Sydney as an acting Lieutenant Commander. He was confirmed in rank in June 1977 before returning to the UK on the staff of the Australian Naval Representative United Kingdom in September of that year.
John returned to Australia in 1979 to HMAS Platypus and he was promoted to Commander in December 1979. I had the pleasure of having him chair both my CPOMTP’s promotion board and later my Marine Engineering Charge Certificate board and found him to be a fair but thorough examiner. The completion of this posting would see John return to sea as the Commander Engineer of the fleet oiler HMAS Supply under the command of his fellow submariner Captain, Later Vice Admiral Ian MacDougal, RAN.
In June 1982 John’s career had travelled full circle when he posted back to his alma mater, the navy’s apprentice school HMAS Nirimba. By the middle of the decade he had resigned from the RAN and had entered the civilian workforce.
His discharge would not see the end of his contribution to the RAN and indeed to the submarine service. He was the first Integrated Logistic Support Manager for the Australian Submarine Corporation, and it was largely through his efforts that the COLLINS’ class submarine became the first RAN unit to be fully supported by computerised logistic systems. He argued that the Apple system should be adopted over IBM as he recognised it was more sailor friendly and it would significantly reduce training time and be more readily accepted.
Later in life John was the Managing Director of Mercadier Consulting Pty Ltd who managed the design and installation of the flight deck landing aids on the LPAs HMAS Manoora and Kanimbla during their reconstruction in Newcastle in the late 1990s. At the time I was the Engineer Officer of Manoora, and John and I had to work closely together on the final acceptance of the equipment into service. The work was always done in good humour, sometimes late at night, but followed by a beer and a warm handshake. He later worked for the Department of Defence for almost five years on Project SEA 1442 – Maritime Communications Project.
John’s interests were varied, in 2013 he became an author, publishing a novel, Kafira, a story full of “tragedy, unrequited love, international suspense and driving ambition to defeat the grab for world domination”. For many years he was active as a volunteer and fundraiser and he was recognised in the 2010 Australia Day’s Honours List with the award of the Order of Australia Medal for “For service to the community through a range of youth and service organisations, and to Technical Aid to the Disabled ACT”.
Commander John Graham O’Neill OAM RAN (Rtd) passed away in Melbourne on the 30th of January 2023, he was 81 years old.
Vale John O’Neil – Pioneer naval apprentice, submariner, engineer, visionary, author and advocate for the disabled.
Commander GLENME SM John O’Neill
I have just been advised that that Commander GLENME SM John O’Neill passed away this morning in Melbourne.
I have no further details, but will advise when I do.
Tony Vine, our VP, is working on a bio of John’s career, and it will be posted shortly. I do know John worked in ASC after leaving the Navy so I am sure many of the SA members would remember him.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
David Strangward, AM
National President SAA
Dedication of SM Plaque
The SA Branch recently used a DVA grant to design and manufacture a plaque dedicated to those who have served in Australian submarines.
This plaque will be sited in the Repatriation General Hospital Chapel, Daws Road, Daw Park.
The plaque will be dedicated by the (ex-Submarine Sailor) Rt Rev’d Keith Dalby, Anglican Bishop of the Murray at a ceremony in the Chapel at 11:00 on Sunday 19 February 2023.
Light refreshments will be provided in an adjacent function room on completion of the dedication.
It is important that the Association has a good turnout for this ceremony.
Please notify Ken Grierson firstname.lastname@example.org by 20 January 2023 if you (and your partner) intend to attend this ceremony.
If you have already indicated that you intend to attend, do not respond to this email.
Dress will be business formal with medals. (This usually means lounge suit with medals but may include jacket and tie with medals.)
David Strangward, AM
SAA National President
Memorial Service for Terry Gowling - 2 February 2023
There will be a memorial service for Terry Gowling at the St Helens RSL at 1130 on Thursday, 2 February 2023. Elaine and the family would love to see any SAA members who can attend and share memories of Terry.
President SAA Tasmania Branch Inc.
From the President SAA
I have asked the SAA Webmaster to suspend posting the Grot until further notice while the Executive review the future format of this medium to better align with the Communications Management Plan that the committee took for and action to staff after the last AGM. This plan is currently being reviewed by the respective State Presidents prior to wider release
The web site will continue and I will ensure that any news/messages etc are posted on the site as well as the Facebook page that Pod runs for the time being. We will also pass information through the respective Secretaries of each state branch.
I ask for your patience as we work through the management of our social media forums to ensure that the Association is protected from any possible legal action as well as being respectful of all our members .
David Strangward, AM
SAA National President.
Contact Detail Update
You will all be aware of the recent changes to our executive. As you know, we now have Dave Strangward as President and Tony Vine as Vice President. If you need to contact them here are their details. Please note these are personal email addresses, so be sure to respect their privacy and limit the correspondence to only that which is necessary.
Dave Strangward SAA President- Phone, email
Tony Vine, SAA Vice President - Phone, email
- © Submarines Association Australia 2020
Thankyou to our sponsors
Proud Supporters of the Australian Submarine Community