Rear Admiral Kaye Vonthethoff

Kaye Vonthethoff was born at Semaphore Park, Adelaide, SA on 4 August 1930 and was educated at Adelaide Technical High School. He entered the RAN College (HMAS Cerberus), in January 1948 as a Supply Branch Cadet Midshipman. After initial training he was sent to the United Kingdom for further training with the Royal Navy in late 1948. This included seven months service in the training cruiser HMS Devonshire and service in other Royal Navy ships and establishments. He was promoted Midshipman in January 1949 and Sub Lieutenant in September 1950.

Upon returning to Australia in late 1951 he was posted to the cruiser HMAS Australia where he performed a variety of junior supply officer duties and was promoted Lieutenant in October 1952. In early 1954 Lieutenant Vonthethoff was posted to the RAN’s shore depot in Papua New Guinea, HMAS Tarangau, where he served on the base staff. He returned to Australia in early 1956 and joined the frigate HMAS Quadrant as the Deputy Supply Officer.

In 1957 Lieutenant Vonthethoff was appointed to the staff of the Flag Officer in Command East Australia (FOCEA) based at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney. In April 1959 he undertook the advanced supply and secretariat course in Britain followed by service, on exchange, with the Royal Navy as a member of staff for the Commander in Chief Portsmouth. While serving in Britain he was promoted Lieutenant Commander in October 1960. After returning to Australia, in 1961, he was posted as an instructor to the Supply School at HMAS Cerberus where he served until the end of 1963.

In early 1964 he was promoted Acting Commander and served as the Secretary to the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. Vonthethoff was promoted Commander in June 1965 and became the Supply Officer of the destroyer HMAS Vampire. The destroyer carried out extensive service in Southeast Asian waters; including operational service during the Indonesian Confrontation in 1966 and escort duties, for the fast troop transport HMAS Sydney, in Vietnamese waters in 1966-67. In 1967 Commander Vonthethoff once again became the secretary to the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. Following promotion to captain, in December 1970, he became secretary to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Sir Richard Peek, KBE, CB, DSC, RAN, serving in this role during 1971-73. In 1974 he was Director Fleet Supply Duties before taking up his next appointment as the Chief of Staff (Administration) to the Fleet Commander in 1975-76.

In 1976-77 he was the Director General Logistics - Navy and was promoted Commodore on 31 August 1977. During 1978 he undertook study at the prestigious National Defence College - India located in New Delhi. Upon returning to Australia he served as the Director General Service Personnel Policy in Canberra from 1979-81. Commodore Kaye Vonthethoff was promoted Rear Admiral on 15 March 1982 and took up duties as the Flag Officer Naval Support Command in Sydney during 1982-84.

He was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day Honours List 1984 in recognition of services to the RAN, particularly as the Flag Officer Naval Support Command. His last posting in the RAN was as the Head of Australian Defence Staff in London during 1984-86. Rear Admiral Vonthethoff retired from the RAN in late 1986. Following his retirement, Rear Admiral Vonthethoff settled on the south coast of New South Wales. He passed away in Sydney on 7 April 2020.

Rear Admiral Vonthethoff takes 'The Weight' as the new Naval Support Commander, from Rear Admiral Andrew Robertson, outside the Navy Supply Centre - Zetland in early 1982.