Captain Clive Martin Hudson

Clive Martin Hudson was born in Sydney on 8 January 1914. He entered the Royal Australian Naval College in January 1928, where he would go on to gain his colours in cricket, rugby, hockey and athletics and win prizes for English and French history upon graduation.

Following graduation, Hudson was posted to the County Class cruiser HMAS Canberra, which he joined in January 1932. Promoted Midshipman in May, the remainder of 1932 saw Hudson serving in Canberra before being seconded to the Royal Navy in early 1933. Hudson's first posting in the RN was to the cruiser HMS Sussex, in which he was described as:

A promising young officer, who is keen and ambitious.

Subsequent postings during this period included HM ships Durban, Resolution and Victory. Promoted Acting Sub Lieutenant on 1 September 1934, Hudson successfully completed courses in Pilotage and Torpedo gunnery, before returning to Australia and the RAN.

In early 1936 Hudson joined HMAS Australia (II), in which he was awarded his bridge watch-keeping certificate and promoted Lieutenant. Postings to the sea-plane carrier HMAS Albatross and a second stint serving in HMAS Canberra followed, before Hudson would again travel to England for service with the Royal Navy, arriving in April 1939. On 12 February 1940, Clive Martin Hudson and Miss Dorothy Seddon Thorp were married at the All Saints Church, Stand, in Manchester with a cousin of the bride standing in as Clive's best man.


Left: Hudson's first sea going posting was to the cruiser HMAS Canberra, in which he was promoted Midshipman in May 1932. Right: Hudson's wedding to Dorothy Thorp was captured in newspapers of the age, describing the attendees fashion in detail. (Hudson collection)

Courses at the RN's Maritime Warfare School HMS Dryad followed, before Hudson was given his first command, serving temporarily as the Commanding Officer of the Royal Navy minesweeper HMS Seagull. An appointment as navigation officer in HMS Dragon between April 1941 and May 1942 saw Hudson further develop his leadership capabilities. During that time Hudson participated in WWII operations in the Atlantic before undertaking convoy escort duties in waters surrounding Singapore, where Dragon became the last warship to depart before the city surrendered to the Japanese. Dragon's Commanding Officer would describe Hudson as:

A competent and self-assured navigating officer who takes a keen interest in all that goes on. Has shown good judgement in handling the ship. He has taken charge of the midshipmen and provides for their instruction with forethought and ability.

In May 1942, following service in Ceylon and Madagascar, Dragon was scheduled to return to the UK for maintenance and the crew was partially disbanded, with Hudson returning to Australia. After brief stints of service in HMAS Cerberus and Warrego, Hudson was appointed the Navigating Officer in the Modified Leander Class Cruiser HMAS Hobart, an important position given the ships value in the dark days of WWII. Hudson would serve for over five years in Hobart, with the ship being highly active in the Pacific theatre. Hudson saw action supporting the landings at Tarakan in Borneo and in operations involving elements of the Australian 6th Division at Wewak. This eventful posting would see Hudson promoted Lieutenant Commander, become the ship's Executive Officer and receive a Mention in Dispatches.


Hudson was decorated for actions undertaken in the Pacific theatre, while serving in HMAS Hobart (I). (AWM collection)

Following WWII and further service in Hobart, Hudson was posted to the Flagship HMAS Australia (II) between April 1947 and June 1948, again serving as Executive Officer and Navigating Officer. A return to the UK and HMS Dryad followed with Hudson taking passage to England on board the famous ocean liner RMS Strathaird. Hudson immersed himself fully in the Royal Navy way of life during his time in England, becoming a member of multiple clubs including the HMS Dryad Wardroom Mess, the 790 Naval Air Squadron and Trinity House.

The conclusion of 1949 saw Hudson return to Australia and gain promotion to Commander, with his promotion taking place on New Year’s Eve. The new decade found Hudson serving in the RAN shore establishments HMAS Cerberus and Lonsdale before proceeding back to England in company with 550 officers and men to take delivery and temporary command of the newly-acquired Colossus Class aircraft carrier HMAS Vengeance in November 1952. Hudson handed over command of Vengeance to Captain Henry M Burrell, RAN, one month later. Hudson would continue serving in Vengeance as the ship’s Executive Officer. Hudson’s appraisal in August 1954 spoke highly of his performance:

He has carried out the duties of Second in Command and Executive Officer with noteworthy success. By sound planning and unnerving efforts, he, in conjunction with heads of department brought the ship to a high operational standard. A noteworthy appearance of the ship has been achieved and maintained. I am sorry to lose him.

Commander Hudson’s next posting was again as Executive Officer, this time of the shore establishment HMAS Cerberus, which was followed by a promotion to Acting Captain (Hudson became the youngest captain in the RAN at this point) and appointment as Aide-de-camp to then Governor General of Australia, Field Marshal Sir William Joseph Slim. This appointment saw Hudson travel extensively, attending a multitude of events, conferences and symposiums around the globe.

At the time of his promotion to Acting Captain, Hudson was the youngest captain in the RAN and destined for higher appointments. (Hudson collection)
At the time of his promotion to Acting Captain, Hudson was the youngest captain in the RAN and destined for higher appointments. (Hudson collection)

Hudson was promoted to Captain on 30 June 1956, two months before taking command of the Q Class destroyer HMAS Queenborough. Hudson’s command of Queenborough would, however, be cut short due to a medical condition that ultimately curtailed a promising career, leading to early retirement from the Navy on 14 December 1958.

Following his RAN service, Hudson settled in Melbourne, where he enrolled in the University of Melbourne Law School.

Clive Martin Hudson lost his battle with illness and passed away on 24 June 1967 aged 53. His ashes were scattered at sea in accordance with naval tradition and the rites of the Church of England. He was survived by wife Dorothy and daughters Wendy and Judie.