Ian Crawford's story

Ian Crawford served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for 40 years, from 1949 until 1989, when he retired as Rear Admiral. He recalled being attracted to all things nautical and of the sea as a young man, and so naturally joined the navy.

Ian was promoted to Midshipman on 1 May 1950 and appointed to the Colony class cruiser HMS Ceylon for service on the East Indies station based at Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The Korean War broke out on 25 June 1950 and Ceylon was diverted to the Korean Peninsula for active service.

Ceylon’s first task during the war was to transport the 1st Battalion, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, to Korea. The cruiser was then part of the covering force supporting the United Nations (UN) aircraft carriers and amphibious vessels at the landings at Inchon during 15 to 19 September 1950, which he remembered as a spectacular event.

Ceylon also provided naval gunfire support for the UN forces ashore. Ian’s action station was assistant gun direction officer on the starboard side close range anti-aircraft weapons. An enduring memory was hearing over the radio a United States (US) pilot seeking directions so he could land but there being nothing Ian could do to help. He has often wondered about the fate of that pilot.

Ian did 9 months of active service in the Korean War before returning to England in late March 1951 to undertake training at HMS Ceres, the Supply and Secretariat Training School at Wetherby, Yorkshire. He was promoted Sub Lieutenant in May 1951 and then attended the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, where he completed a general education course and the Junior Officer’s War Course.

Ian returned to Australia in late 1952 and was appointed to HMAS Kuttabul (naval base) in Sydney on the secretarial staff of the Flag Officer Commanding East Australian Area (FOCEA). He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 February 1953 and was engaged in the continuance of his secretarial training when the war ended in July 1953.

Last updated: 17 November 2022

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2022), Ian Crawford's story, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 25 September 2023, https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/stories/oral-histories/ian-crawfords-story
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