Rear Admiral Nigel Richard Benbow Berlyn

RADM Berlyn

Nigel Richard Benbow Berlyn was born in Plymouth, England on 26 August 1934 and was educated at The Nautical College, Pangbourne, in Berkshire during 1948-1952 before entering the Royal Navy in May 1952 as an engineer officer. He served in a variety of Royal Navy establishments and ships and was promoted to Lieutenant in September 1956 and Lieutenant Commander in September 1964

Berlyn served on exchange with the RAN in 1963-65 as the Practical Training Co-ordinator, at the apprentice training establishment (HMAS Nirimba) located at Quakers Hill in western Sydney. In November 1965 he transferred to the RAN. His first posting in the RAN was as the Marine Engineer Officer in the destroyer HMAS Vampire during 1966-1967. During this time Vampire served extensively in South East Asian waters including escort duties to Vietnam and guard-ship duties in eastern Malaysia during the Indonesian Confrontation.

In late 1967, lieutenant commander Berlyn was posted to the staff of the General Manager Garden Island Dockyard, firstly as the Superintendent Refit Planning and then as the Senior Project Planner. He was promoted to Commander in December 1967.

Commander Berlyn was appointed as the Marine Engineer Officer in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne in early 1971 and served in her until the end of 1972. He then completed the Joint Services Staff College, Canberra, in 1973 and was then posted, as an Acting Captain, as the Programming and Planning Manager in the New Destroyer Project Directorate. This project was to introduce the Light Destroyer (DDL) into the RAN but was cancelled in late 1973.

After the DDL project cancellation he became the Director of the Guided Missile Frigate Acquisition Project. Berlyn was confirmed in the rank of Captain in June 1975. In early 1977 Captain Berlyn was posted to Fleet Headquarters as the Chief Staff Officer (Technical). He was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June 1978 in recognition of service as Project Director of the Guided Missile Frigate Acquisition Program.

Captain Berlyn was then posted to Navy Office in January 1980 as the Chief Staff Officer Technical Services. Following promotion to Commodore in December 1980, he served at Williamstown Naval Dockyard in 1981-82; during a very difficult period when the lack of productivity at the dockyard and rampant unionism was called into question several times in Parliament.

In 1983 Berlyn undertook training at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London and upon return to Australia he commenced work as the General Manager of the Garden Island Dockyard in January 1984; and was to become the last uniformed officer to hold this position before the dockyard was privatised.

He was promoted to Rear Admiral in September 1984 and continued to serve as the General Manager of the Garden Island Dockyard. In June 1987 Rear Admiral Berlyn was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of service to the Royal Australian Navy as a Marine Engineer Officer, particularly as the General Manager of HMA Dockyard Garden Island.

In August 1989 he proposed the introduction of random breath testing at the dockyard to try and curb excessive lunch time drinking by dockyard workers and reduce accident and injury rates. This met with stiff opposition from the various unions at the dockyard but this process was to become standard practice across Australian industry in the first decade of the 21st century.

Rear Admiral Berlyn retired from the RAN in 1990. He was a keen yachtsman and took part in a number of yacht races following his retirement. Rear Admiral Berlyn passed away in Bowral, NSW on 17 February 2022.