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.



Rick Wakeman has advised that Mal Shorter had requested no funeral, however a celebration of his life will be held at the Kwinana Golf club, Kwinana WA on the 10th of March between the hours of 1300 to 1700, all are welcome.

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of CPOEWSM Brendon “BJ” Smith on the 10th of February in New Zealand.
Brendon was born in Tasmania, and he enlisted in the RAN in 1984 at the age of 20. He served three engagements in the navy totally 29 years over a period of 36 years, most of it in the submarine service. Amongst the many highlights of his career were serving as the Chief of the Boat in HMAS Sheean and on the Submarine Sea Training Group.
On his final discharge in 2020, Brendon moved to New Zealand with his wife Michelle. His funeral was held at Wanganui New Zealand on the 15th of February, and he will be taken home to Tasmania to lay with family.
Rest easy sailor your battles are over.
If you're in crisis or feeling unsafe, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Tony Vine
National Vice President

The RAN submarine community is poorer today with the passing of Richard “Benny” Hill at his property at Bredbo, just north of Cooma.
The contribution that Benny made to the RAN through his work in the SEF workshop, and at sea on submarines on patrols, was of the highest order. He was an intelligent, innovative, and determined technician who had a way to get things done… sometimes it was better not to ask him exactly how.
On leaving the navy, Benny took up truffle farming on a property near Bredbo just north of Cooma in NSW. In true Benny style, he was successful in his new career, and he even got into cahoots with a gin maker and produced a truffle flavoured gin.
On behalf of the Submarines Association of Australia, I would like to pass on my condolences to Benny’s wife Barb, his extended family and his many friends.
Rest easy Benny, your watch is done.
Funeral details will be passed when known.

Tony Vine
National Vice President

Announcement - Veterans Legislative Framework

16 February 2023


Today, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, the Hon. Matt Keogh, announced the Government will be undertaking consultation on the proposed pathway to simplify the veterans’ legislative framework.

The consultation is the next step in the Government’s commitment to respond to Recommendation 1 of the Interim Report delivered by the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide in August last year. The Interim Report found that the complexity of the veterans’ system is adversely affecting the mental health of veterans.

The Pathway for consultation anticipates:
• New claims under existing schemes will cease after a transition period, from which point all new veteran claims will be dealt with under an improved Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) as the sole ongoing Act. The MRCA currently services the majority of claims.
• All benefits under existing schemes will continue unaffected, with only new claims or claims relating to deteriorated conditions to instead be covered by the single ongoing Act.
• The impact for those whose service commenced after 1 July 2004 will be limited.

As this may impact future claims, we encourage you to provide feedback on the proposed pathway regardless of whether you have had experience of the claims process. Submissions can be made through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) consultation webpage or by emailing All submissions are requested by 12 May 2023.

The consultation process will inform the way forward for the Government to simplify veterans’ legislation. The Government is committed to a thorough and considered process which will deliver a better future for veterans and their families. Information about the consultation process can be found on the DVA website.

DVA has developed a booklet outlining the need for reform and to provide you further details about the proposal.

We continue to encourage you to share your experiences with the Royal Commission. The more the Royal Commission understands about the ADF, and the people within it, the better they can conduct their enquiry.

The Royal Commission hearings may raise issues that are personally challenging for some in our Defence community. Should you or your family require support, Defence has a range of services available.

Thank you
Greg Moriarty
Secretary General
Department of Defence

Angus J Campbell, AO, DSC
Chief of the Defence Force

Expression of Interest SM4 and RAN Submariners Re-Union 02/07/2023

Gentlemen (and Ladies)
It was proposed at our MGM on Wed 8th,that a reunion be held a little later in the year, to celebrate our now defunct SM4 and all members who in some way were part of it.
This would include ALL RN Submariners, (veteran and recent) and RAN Submariners who did their training/part three in the UK for the "O" boats and those who either served or were employed in British boats during this time.
Tentative venue is the Brighton le Sands RSL which is 5 mins from the airport and 5 mins from the station. (adjacent to the Bright Novotel Hotel). Tentative date SATURDAY 1st JULY. Dinner etc and (accommodation can be arranged if required) cost TBA .
We will need to know numbers of interested members as soon as possible to make the necessary bookings.
This will be one of our last major events and what a fantastic opportunity to all get together as our Submarine Family.

Names and whether accompanied (ladies, partners etc) to me as soon as possible please
emailTony Maddock or
Mobile 0408 459 692.

Best Regards
RN Dolphins         

Once again we have lost a member of our submarine community. Laurie Reeves has advised that Peter (Magilla) Walsh crossed the bar today at his home in St Helens Tasmania, after suffering a heart attack. Peter had not been well for some time.
Peter was a 1973 vintage Sailstruc apprentice and was a member of the High Power community.
On behalf of the Submarines Association of Australia I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Peter's family and friends.
Funeral details will be posted when they become available.

Rest easy Peter your watch is done.

Tony Vine
National Vice President

It is with great sadness that I report the news from the West that our submariner brother Mal Shorter has lost his long battle with cancer. On behalf of the Submarines Association of Australia I would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Mal’s family and friends.
Funeral details will be posted when they become available.
Rest easy Mal, your watch is done.
Tony Vine
National Vice President

Announcement from our President

SAA Members

This message is to inform all that I will be stepping back for a period of time to attend to a medical issue. During this period, and to ensure the SAA continues to tick along, our VP has agreed to stand in and undertake the roles and responsibilities of the President position until I am back on deck. Please forward any issue/queries through your state branches or contact Tony.

Thanks for your understanding

David Strangward, AM
National SAA President

Oxley Bell

SAA Members
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.

Hi Matt,
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.


Yours aye,

Matt Tripovich

Well done to all that helped.

David Strangward, AM
National President SAA

Commander GLENME SM John O’Neill - Bio


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.

Tony Vine

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 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

Hi all,

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.


David Byrne
President SAA Tasmania Branch Inc.

From the President SAA

SAA Members,

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