It is with great sadness that the Australasian Hydrographic Society wishes to advise members an all hydrographers that Commander Ron Whitmore RAN (Rtd) passed away 11 November 2015. He was a stalwart of the Society who supported and promoted hydrography at every opportunity.
Ron joined the Royal Navy (RN) in 1940 as a 15 year-old and saw service in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans as an Air Artificer. He transferred to the Executive Branch in 1948-49 to initially train as a pilot but then transferred to Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in 1950 as a Seaman Officer. He transferred to the Hydrographic Survey Branch in 1954 to begin an illustrious career as a hydrographic surveyor.
He served on a number of RAN and RN survey vessels including: HMA Ships WARREGO, BARCOO, WARREEN, PALUMA, BARCOO, WARREGO and MORESBY, and HM Ships OWEN, SHACKLETON and PRESIDENT. During his career, he spent many months surveying around Australia and Papua New Guinea, the east coast of Africa, the west coasts of England and Scotland and around Malaysia. He was promoted to LCDR in 1957.
During his career, he commanded HMA Ships PALUMA, BARCOO and MORESBY; he was also the commissioning Executive Officer of HMAS MORESBY.
In early 1965, he was loaned for two years general service with the Royal Malaysian Navy returning to Australia in early 1967 to join the Hydrographic Office as the Tides Officer. He was promoted to Commander in June 1968 and subsequently became the Australian Hydrographer later that year.
Before his retirement from the RAN in 1975, he served as the Deputy Hydrographer.
Ron always maintained a professional interest in hydrography. He formulated and taught a syllabus in Hydrography and Law of the Sea at the UNSW and for many years was the sole lecturer in these subjects. He consulted and was a great pioneering senior facilitator for meetings in Australia that heralded the use of electronic navigation systems. He was a founding member of the Australian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (now the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel) and was a founding member of the Society in which he played a very active role, as well as the International Federation of Hydrographic Societies.
Ron was a dear father, grandfather, friend, boss, colleague and fierce supporter of all he loved and cherished.
The Australasian Hydrographic Society passes on its collective sincerest condolences to Ron’s family.
Vale Ron Whitmore.