Remembrance Day Posters 2011
A commemorative poster was produced for the centenary of the Royal Australian Navy. The poster features a central image of an unidentified Petty Officer who had served at least three years at sea during the First World War. This is surrounded by contemporary images honouring the role and contribution of the Royal Australian Navy in Australian wartime history and its strength as part of the Defence Force today. Images courtesy of the Sea Power Centre and the Department of Defence.
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The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) commemorated 100 years of service on 10 July this year.
After Federation in 1901, Australia’s colonial forces combined to form the Commonwealth Naval Forces. At the same time ships of Britain’s Royal Navy Australian Squadron patrolled the waters to the country’s north, from the Netherlands East Indies (present day Indonesia) to China, as well as the seas and oceans surrounding Australia and New Zealand. In 1909, the Squadron was replaced by the Royal Navy’s Pacific Fleet, one unit of which was based in Australia. Two years later, in 1911, this unit became the Royal Australian Navy.
Even since 1911, the RAN has played an important role both in Australia’s defence and on offensive operations. In the First World War, ships of the RAN assisted with the capture of German colonies in the Pacific while an Australian submarine, the AE2, forced a passage through the dangerous waters of the Dardanelles at the opening of the Gallipoli campaign. The RAN also supported Allied naval forces during the Second World War. RAN ships transported troops, escorted merchant ships, carried out bombardments and provided support for Allied operations in the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
During the Vietnam War, the RAN carried troops and provided gunfire support against enemy targets on land. Naval divers also removed underwater mines and obstacles from rivers and coastal waters. In addition, the RAN supplied helicopter crews to assist Allied land-based operations. Today, members of the RAN are serving on operations in Afghanistan, the Sudan, the Middle East (both ashore and at sea) and East Timor, as well as protecting Australia’s borders.
Over the past century, Australian naval personnel have served with great courage and dedication. One notable example is Ordinary Seaman Edward ‘Teddy’ Sheean, a crewman on HMAS Armidale when sunk by Japanese aircraft in December 1942. As HMAS Armidale went under, survivors in the water watched as Sheean, bleeding from his wounds, strapped himself to an Oerlikon gun and kept firing at the enemy until he and Armidale disappeared beneath the Timor Sea. Sheean is the only Ordinary Seaman to have had an Australian naval vessel named in his honour.
Australians in World War I: Royal Australian Navy, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, 2010