Rear Admiral Anthony Michael Carwardine

Anthony Michael ‘Jerry’ Carwardine was born in Stanmore, NSW on 25 March 1938. He was educated at Newington College in Sydney (1947-53) before entering the RAN College in 1954 as a Cadet Midshipman in the Intermediate Entry. He was given the nickname ‘Jerry’ early in his career due to his resemblance to the American actor Jerry Lewis. He graduated from the Naval College in December 1955.

Midshipman Carwardine completed training at the naval air station HMAS Albatross and in HMA Ships Sydney and Swan in early 1956. In April 1956 he proceeded to England for training courses at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth and in the training ship HMS Carron (a destroyer converted for navigational training as part of the Dartmouth Training Squadron).

Carwardine was promoted acting Sub Lieutenant in September 1957 and in January 1958 was appointed to the anti-submarine frigate HMAS Queensborough for training and watchkeeping duties. During his time on board the frigate operated in Australian and New Zealand waters. He undertook training courses at HMAS Cerberus in late 1958 and was appointed to the frigate HMAS Quiberon in January 1959. Quiberon served in Southeast Asian waters during the early part of 1959 as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve before returning to Australia.

In January 1960, Sub Lieutenant Carwardine was appointed to the RAN’s shore depot in Darwin, HMAS Melville, for service in the general purpose vessel HMAS Banks as a Watchkeeping Officer. He was promoted Lieutenant in September 1960. Banks was originally fitted out for survey duties and patrol work around Australia and New Guinea and one of her first tasks was to undertake a fisheries surveillance patrol in northern Australian waters.

In April 1961, Lieutenant Carwardine took command of Banks for a hydrographic survey of the Adelaide River. Banks became the first seagoing ship in more than fifty years to undertake the 50 mile Adelaide River passage. Later that year Banks deployed to Java and the Celebes to recover the remains of Allied servicemen on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The remains were later reinterred in official CWGC cemeteries. During 1962 Banks visited Portuguese East Timor before returning to survey work in northern Australian waters.

In mid-1962 Carwardine travelled to the United Kingdom to undertake the Long Gunnery Course at HMS Excellent. After completion of the course he served in the destroyer HMS Corunna, serving in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asian waters; with the latter service being as part of the Commonwealth naval forces patrolling off the Malay Peninsula and Singapore during Confrontation. In late 1965 he served briefly on the staff of the Australian Naval Representative in the United Kingdom (ANRUK) before returning to Australia, in early 1966, and serving in Navy Office for seven months in the Weapons and Electrical Engineering Section.

He was then appointed as Commanding Officer of the minesweeper HMAS Gull for the period September 1966-May 1967. During his time in command the ship undertook patrol duties in Southeast Asian waters as part of the Far East Strategic Reserve. Even though the Malayan Emergency and Confrontation had ceased the region was still unstable and the minesweepers operated as patrol vessels with crews rotating in and out as required. Gull returned to Australia for a refit in April 1967 and soon after Lieutenant Carwardine was appointed to the destroyer HMAS Vendetta as Gunnery Officer.

The destroyer operated mainly in Australian waters during 1967 and then, from March to October 1968, was deployed to Southeast Asia. While serving in Vendetta Carwardine was promoted Lieutenant Commander on 1 May 1968. The destroyer commenced a refit in early 1969 and Carwardine took up his second appointment to Navy Office, in February 1969, on the staff of the Director of Surface and Air Weapons (DSAW). In December 1971 he joined the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane as the Executive Officer, shortly after the ship had returned from a deployment to Vietnam.

In 1972 Brisbane conducted training in Australian waters before deploying for the period August-November, with other RAN units, to Exercise RIMPAC 72 (off Hawaii), Yokosuka (Japan), Exercise SEA SCORPION (a South East Asia Treaty Organization exercise off the Philippines) and Exercise GROUNDWORK, an ANZUK exercise which simulated the opposed passage of a carrier force from Manila to Singapore. Exercise GROUNDWORK finished in early November and Brisbane went on to visit Surabaya (Indonesia) for Exercise CAKRAWALA BARU. The destroyer arrived home in Sydney on 28 November 1972 after a very busy Pacific and Southeast Asian deployment.

In January 1973 Lieutenant Commander Carwardine was appointed as Fleet Gunnery Officer, on the staff of the Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet, and promoted Commander on 30 June 1973. As Fleet Gunnery Officer he was frequently embarked in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne which was the flagship of the RAN. Commander Carwardine was appointed to HMAS Cerberus as Officer in Command of the RAN Gunnery School in July 1974. The following year he proceeded to the United States to undertake the US Navy War College course at Newport, Rhode Island (1975-76) and the also attended the US Navy Post Graduate School at Monterey in 1976. Upon returning to Australia he was appointed in Command of the destroyer escort HMAS Swan on 16 September 1976. The ship was then undergoing a major refit at Williamstown Naval Dockyard, Victoria and this was not completed until February 1977.

On completion of her refit Swan operated in Australian waters. On the morning of 2 May the ship was crash sailed from Sydney to provide urgent medical assistance to the 30,000 tonne freighter SS Austral Moon (then over 1200 kilometres due east of Sydney) who had two crew members with serious injuries sustained in bad weather. Carwardine took his ship to sea at full speed and later, in difficult circumstances, was able to transfer two of his personnel to the Austral Moon where they provided immediate medical support to the injured men.

Following her return to Sydney, Swan conducted routine training in the East Australia Exercise Area and a deployment with other RAN units to Singapore and the Indian Ocean for SINDEX 77. In 1978 she operated again in Australian waters and in May conducted a fruitless search for a missing yachtsman whose wrecked vessel had been found on Middleton Reef some 560 kilometres of the New South Wales Coast. The yachtsman was subsequently rescued from the sea later in the month by another vessel.

He relinquished command of Swan on 1 July 1978 and was then posted to Canberra to undertake the Joint Services Staff Course at Weston Creek. Following this Commander Carwardine served as Director Surface & Air Weapons - Navy (DSAW-N) from December 1978 to October 1980. His warfare knowledge then saw him appointed as Director of the Combat Data System Centre (CDSC), at Fyshwick in Canberra, in October 1980, and promoted Captain on 31 December 1980.

Captain Carwardine took up his last seagoing appointment on 16 November 1983 when he became Commander of the Second Australian Destroyer Squadron and Commanding Officer of the frigate HMAS Adelaide. In early 1984 Adelaide became the first FFG to embark a helicopter, a Bell 206 Kiowa, to train both aircrew and the ship's company in the use of helicopters in the new frigates. Adelaide deployed to Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC 84 (May-June) with other RAN ships and also visited Norfolk Island, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Nauru and the Solomon Islands during this deployment. She finished the year undertaking First of Class Flight Trials with an AS350 Squirrel helicopter.

In 1985 the frigate, with a Squirrel helicopter embarked, conducted an Indian Ocean deployment from 23 April-29 July visiting Darwin, Singapore, Goa, Dar-es-Salaam, Mombasa, Port Louis (Mauritius) and Fremantle. Captain Carwardine relinquished Command of Adelaide in early August 1985. During his time in command the ship was awarded the Duke of Gloucester's Cup as the most efficient ship in the fleet for 1984.

He then served briefly in Navy Office before being promoted Commodore and taking up his next appointment as Commanding Officer of the RAN’s premier training establishment HMAS Cerberus. This position also carried the dual-hatted role as the Naval Officer Commanding Victoria (NOCVIC). Commodore Carwardine was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 1986 in recognition of service to the Royal Australian Navy, particularly as the Commanding Officer of HMAS Adelaide.

He was promoted Rear Admiral on 18 January 1988 and appointed as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Personnel). In early December 1989 he became the Defence Attaché and Head Australian Defence Staff - Washington and also accredited to Canada and the United Nations (Washington).  He held this vital position during Australia’s support to the United States when committing forces to the First Gulf War (1990-1991) and the subsequent enforcement of United Nations sanctions against Iraq. Rear Admiral Carwardine was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 1990 in recognition of service to the Royal Australian Navy, particularly as the Assistant Chief of Naval Personnel.

His final appointment was as Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) during 1993-1995. Rear Admiral Carwardine retired from the RAN in March 1995. He resided in the Southern Highlands of NSW and farmed for a number of years and was also a service member on the Veterans' Review Board, representing the Australian Capital Territory. He was the President of Legacy in Canberra during 2016-18. His son Alastair Michael Carwardine also served in the RAN as a Lieutenant submariner during 1979-1990.