Captain Charles Herbert Blacklock

Charles Herbert Blacklock was born at Altrincham, Cheshire, United Kingdom on 4 August 1900 and migrated to Australia, with his parents, in the early 1900’s. His family settled in Edwardstown, South Australia. Blacklock joined the Royal Australian Navy, as a 14 years old boy 2nd class on 26 April 1915, and commenced his training in the Training Ship HMAS Tingira which was moored in Rose Bay, Sydney. He was selected to become a writer and after completing his training in April 1916 he was transferred to Williamstown Naval Depot (HMAS Cerberus) where he served during 1916-17.

In October 1917 he joined the sloop HMAS Fantome which operated in the South West Pacific throughout 1918 including action in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) in October 1918 when a landing party was put ashore to carry out a punitive expedition against rebellious natives. In early 1919 he returned to Cerberus where he served for two years before joining the light cruiser HMAS Sydney (I) in October 1921 and served in her until March 1923. He then returned to Tingira as a leading writer and was commissioned under the Mates Scheme in December 1923.

As a Mate (Administration) he served in HMA Ships Tingira, Adelaide and Platypus. In May 1926 he was promoted to paymaster lieutenant and posted to Cerberus where he served during 1926-28. Following this he served in the depot ship HMAS Penguin (1928-29), the seaplane tender HMAS Albatross (1929-30) and the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra (1930-33). He married Hazel Mansfield in St Kilda on 8 November 1932 and they later had a daughter.

Blacklock served in Penguin again during 1933-36 and was promoted to paymaster lieutenant commander in 1934. He then joined the sloop HMAS Yarra as the supply officer from 1936-39 before being promoted to paymaster commander in 1940. During 1940-41 he served at Cerberus (Flinders Naval Depot) and was then posted as the supply officer of the destroyer HMAS Napier (1941-43). During his time onboard Napier the ship operated in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean theatres and was a convoy escort on the supply run to Malta. In early 1943 he joined the cruiser HMAS Shropshire as the supply officer and served in her until April 1944 during which time the cruiser was active in the Pacific area supporting Allied landings in northern New Guinea.

Commander Blacklock served in the Sydney area from 1944 until late 1947 as the Secretary to the Flag Officer in Command Eastern Australia. He was then selected to be the commissioning supply officer of the new aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney in which he served from December 1948 until January 1950 (and was also the Fleet Supply Officer during this period). Charles Blacklock was promoted captain in December 1949 thus becoming the first ex-sailor in the RAN to reach this rank.

His final posting in the RAN was as the Director of Organisation and Methods at Navy Office (Melbourne) from 1952-55 until he retired from the RAN after 40 years service on 4 August 1955 (despite a request to serve beyond retiring age). He was awarded the Coronation Medal in 1954 in recognition of his services to the RAN. Blacklock continued on as the Director of Organisation and Methods, as a member of the Australian Public Service, until his death in Melbourne on 13 June 1960.