Rear Admiral Lionel Lockwood

Forty years of distinguished service as a Medical Officer in the Royal Australian Navy in both war and peace was Lionel Lockwood's great achievement. In that time he rose from the rank of Surgeon Lieutenant to become the second Medical Officer, after Rear Admiral Pritchard, to reach flag rank in the RAN and head the RAN medical branch as a Rear Admiral. Through his drive, enthusiasm and forceful personality he played a major role in establishing the status of the entire medical branch, and in so doing of the medical officers in the RAN. Five of what might be termed his proteges also achieved two star flag rank prior to the implementation of the Sanderson report in the Australia Defence Force, a quarter of a century after his retirement. Lionel Lockwood would have had much to say about this reduction in rank for the directors general of navy, army and air force!

Lockwood fought long and hard during his time as Medical Director General Navy from his office at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne for a visible presence of navy medicine in postgraduate activities in both Melbourne and Sydney. A frequent attender in his Admiral's uniform at postgraduate teaching sessions in Melbourne, he was immensely proud of his affiliations with the Royal Melbourne, the Alfred (The Baker Institute) and St Vincent's Hospitals and the Peter MacCallum Clinic in Melbourne and with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. In the late 1940s Lockwood, as a Surgeon Captain, was a frequent attender at ward rounds and clinical meetings of the Clinical Research Unit under the direction of Dr (later Sir) Ian Wood at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He was a loyal college man in the Australian Defence Force, and after retirement from the RAN was a member of the Victorian State Committee and chairman of the Victorian March of Medicine Appeal of the College and was involved in public relations for the College. He was very active in the AMA Victorian branch affairs and a member of the branch council from 1961 to 1964, and was also involved with the medical defence committee and affairs of the Australian Red Cross Society in Victoria. He was keenly involved in RSL matters and was awarded a certificate of appreciation by the RSL signed by the Victorian Governor Sir Henry Winnekke and Sir William Keys, the RSL National President. He served on the committee of The Naval and Military Club in Melbourne from 1959 to 1963 - a time of change for the club premises.

Lionel Lockwood was born on 13 January 1902 at Natimuk, in country Victoria, attended Ballarat High School, graduated from Melbourne University in 1928 and took his MD from Melbourne in 1930. Active in sport during his university days, he obtained his blue for football and was the first captain of the university blues and subsequently captained Navy at australian rules. A Queen's man in his student days, he was, much later, chairman of the Queen's College Foundation at Melbourne University.

Perhaps Lockwood's most active time as a naval medical officer was the period when as a Surgeon Commander. He was, for three years, senior medical officer in the light cruiser HMAS Hobart and saw active service in her in the Gulf of Suez, Netherlands East Indies, the Battle of the Coral Sea, the Solomon Islands campaign and the capture of Guadalcanal. It was during this time that he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his bravery under fire and his devotion to medical duties in conflict. This involved the care of casualties and provision of medical support under the most difficult circumstances of war at sea.

Some years earlier, while a postgraduate at the London Hospital, he had been made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) by His Majesty King George V for his services as a physician to HRH, The Duke of Gloucester while the Duke was in Australia for the Victorian centenary celebrations. He actually accompanied the Duke on the return journey to England on the cruiser HMAS Australia. He was later honorary physician to the Duke while he was Governor-General of Australia. Admiral Lockwood was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1958 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his outstanding leadership, direction and service to medicine in the RAN. He was honorary surgeon to His Majesty King George VI from 1946 to 1952, and to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from 1952 to 1964.

Lockwood was instrumental in developing a very active, capable and highly skilled panel of medical consultant in the RAN. These consultants, who were second to none, worked mostly at HMAS Cerberus and HMAS Penguin during Lockwood's directorship, and made outstanding contributions to medicine in the RAN. He strongly encouraged a vibrant reserve medical branch and at least eight of his proteges in the reserve have been promoted to Surgeon Captain over the subsequent years. He was himself promoted Surgeon Captain RAN in 1946 and Surgeon Rear Admiral in 1955, retiring from the RAN in 1964 after ten years as medical director general. He was made a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1958. During his naval career he had been medical officer in charge of the naval hospital at HMAS Cerberus and at HMAS Penguin.

Lockwood's legacy is an active RAN medical branch which continually strives for goals of excellence in the delivery of medical care to the personnel of the RAN. He was immensely proud to be a naval officer, a naval medical officer and a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. Returning to his roots, it is interesting to observe that there is a display in the Ballarat Museum about the 'local boy who made good'. Rear Admiral Lionel Lockwood passed away in Melbourne on 19 September 1987.