Rear Admiral Maxwell Peter Reed

Max Reed was born on 19 May 1922 at North Sydney, NSW. He entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1936 and on graduation, in 1939, he was awarded the prizes for engineering, navigation and seamanship. He chose to specialise as an Engineer and as a Midshipman he served in the heavy cruisers HMAS Canberra and HMAS Australia. In early 1940 he proceeded to England for engineering courses at the Royal Naval Engineering College at Keyham. Reed was promoted to Sub Lieutenant in 1941 and Lieutenant in 1943.

On completion of his courses in August 1943 he returned to Australia and joined the cruiser Australia in January 1944 and was awarded his engineering watchkeeping certificate in May. Lieutenant Reed was present at the action at Leyte Gulf, in October 1944, when the cruiser was badly damaged by kamikaze attacks. He left the cruiser in December 1944, and in January 1945 was posted to HMAS Kuttabul as the assistant to the Engineer Manager for gun mountings at Garden Island. Reed worked at Kuttabul learning the gun-mounting trade which also encompassed responsibility for torpedoes, anti-submarine warfare weapons and fire control systems. In July 1947 he returned to the cruiser Australia as an engineer officer.

In early 1949 he was selected to serve on the staff of the Naval Liaison Officer in London. Reed was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in February 1951 and also undertook the long ordnance engineer course at HMS Excellent during October 1951-April 1952. He returned to Australia in the middle of 1952 and was appointed to the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney. While serving in Sydney he took part in the nuclear testing at the Monte Bello Islands in late 1952, the voyage to England for Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, and post Armistice patrols in Korean waters in 1953-54.

Lieutenant Commander Reed was appointed to the staff of the General Manager Garden Island Dockyard in August 1954 and served there until early 1957. He was promoted to Commander in December 1954. In early 1957 he joined the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne as the Engineer Officer and served in her for 12 months. He was then posted to HMAS Lonsdale, in Melbourne, to stand by as the commissioning Engineer Officer of the destroyer HMAS Vendetta being built at Williamstown Naval Dockyard. Vendetta was commissioned in November 1958 and Reed oversaw her extensive trials and workups during 1957-58.

Reed was posted to Navy Office, now moved to Canberra, in late 1959 as the Assistant to the 3rd Naval Member who responsible for the RAN’s technical services. He remained at Navy Office until early 1962 when he was selected to serve on exchange with the United States Navy Bureau of Ships for the introduction of the three new Charles F Adams Class guided missile destroyers into Australian service. While serving in the United States, Reed was promoted to Captain in June 1962.

He returned to Australia in January 1965 and was appointed as Assistant to the Chief of Naval Technical Services in Navy Office. In May 1967 he was posted as Chief Staff Officer (Technical) to the Fleet Commander and based in Sydney. Eighteen months later, in early 1969, he became the General Manager of Williamstown Naval Dockyard, in Melbourne, which was constructing the destroyer escort HMAS Swan as well as conducting refits of other warships.

Captain Reed undertook the course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in England in 1972 and upon return to Australia was appointed as Director General Dockyards and Maintenance in 1973. In January 1974 he was promoted to Rear Admiral and posted as the Chief of Naval Technical Services - the RAN’s most senior engineer officer.

Rear Admiral Reed was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in January 1977 'for services to the RAN as the Chief of Technical Services',  and retired from the RAN in March 1979 after 43 years of service.

Rear Admiral Reed passed away in Sydney on 9 August 2017.