Commander Peter Hohnen

Peter Anthony Hohnen was born in Sydney, before moving with his parents to reside in Canberra.

Hohnen studied at the Australian National University, and graduated in law. After competing Articles in Canberra, he was admitted as an Attorney, Solicitor & Proctor of the NSW Supreme Court and commenced employment with then Sydney law firm, Freehill Hollingdale & Page.

In 1972 Peter was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy Reserve, following a recommendation from Vice Admiral Sir Richard Peek KBE, CB, DSC, RAN. His initial training was conducted at HMAS Cerberus. In 1976 Lieutenant Hohnen was selected to act as a junior counsel to Captain J.F Gallop QC RANR to attend an Australian naval court martial in Washington DC. This was the first occasion that an Australian court martial was held in the USA.

In 1988 Commander Hohnen was awarded the Reserve Force Decoration and Clasp.

In 1998 Vice Admiral R.A.K Walls AO, RAN (retd) arranged for Commander Hohnen to be posted to the Lauterpacht International Law Centre in Cambridge University UK where he studied with Professor Vaughan Lowe on international law, focusing on law of the sea.

Upon Commander Hohnen’s return to Canberra, in order to consolidate the work undertaken in Cambridge, he undertook a Masters Degree in Law by course work, undertaking subjects predominately in international law, international human rights and the laws of armed conflict. The LLM was awarded in early 2002.

Commander Hohnen retired from the Naval Legal Services Reserve in 2004. In the course of his 30 year plus association with the RAN, Hohnen provided expert advice on legal matters to senior officers of the RAN and also provided guidance and advice to various projects undertaken by the Australian War Memorial.

In order to maintain his interest in maritime history he undertook research into the impact on Australian society by the clandestine voyage of the German disguised naval raider, Wolf, during World War I. Commander Hohnen’s great uncle, Alexander Ross Ainsworth, was Chief Engineer on an Australian coastal steamer, Matunga, which was captured by Wolf near Rabaul, New Britain, in August 1917. Ainsworth was subsequently taken prisoner aboard the raider along with Matunga's entire ship's company.

The book ‘The Wolf: How One German Raider Terrorised Australia and the Southern Oceans in the First World War’ was ultimately published in 2009 in Australia, the UK and the USA and in 2010 was awarded the prestigious Mountbatten Award in London for the best maritime story that year.

Peter resides in the Canberra region and enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, bushwalking and military history.  He recognizes Admiral Chris Barrie AC, RAN (retd), Vice Admiral R.A.K Walls AO, RAN (retd) and Captain Tom Stodulka AM, RAN (retd) (former Director of Naval Legal Services) as positive mentors throughout his career in the Naval Reserve.