James Lybrand - Entry into submarines

Running time
2 min 30 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


I changed over to officer as a midshipman on the 16th of February 1993 and did the training at HMAS Creswell. Having completed that I was accepted as an officer to be a pilot, then I proceeded on to pilot training with air force and navy, sort of pilot candidates in 1994 and spent the majority of the course at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia and failed the course sometime in the last two months of that particular course.

Big problem, of course, because that's what you changed over to do. So that's a bit of a hit as to what is next. And I went down to HMAS Stirling, and then for a couple of weeks, and then came to Canberra as a midshipman just to I guess, identify what opportunities were available and what I might want to do and fell upon being a seaman officer first, to drive the ship or now known as a maritime warfare officer because I didn't want to sort of sit in the back of the aircraft and be a navigator, I actually wanted to drive the ship. So did that, I went through Seaman Officer Application Course as it was called at the time.

In 1995 and 1996 and then having completed that training at HMAS Watson in Sydney, went off to a ship called HMAS Protector, which was a trials vessel we used in South Australia for submarine trials. And I had, at the time, been contacted by a friend I went to school with who had joined the Navy after me, but we ended up being at HMAS Creswell together, ironically living in rooms next to each other, who said, "Hey, maybe you want to try submarines, it’s pretty interesting".

And this was on the last sort of number of Oberon class submarines. So that got me interested and I found myself on the last Oberon training course in 1997 and then posted to HMAS Onslowin late 1997 and completed my first posting there. So that was my kind of entry into the Submarine Force early. Through that I went to HMAS Otama, the final Oberon class and saw that through to the decommissioning, conducted Collins training, and then found myself in the Collins pipeline sort of post that.

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