Rear Admiral William Anthony George Dovers

RADM William Anthony George Dovers

William Anthony George Dovers was born in Wahroonga, NSW on 19 September 1951 the son of Lieutenant Commander (later Rear Admiral) William Dovers and Marjorie Dovers (nee Thorpe).  He was educated at Newington College, Stanmore (Sydney) during 1959-1969 and entered the RAN College in January 1970 as a senior entry cadet midshipman; and graduated in September 1971 with the rank of midshipman.  


Dovers then served under training in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne during 1971-72 and was promoted acting sub-lieutenant on 1 December 1972.    He was awarded the RAN College Jubilee Memorial Sword prize for the best results in examination on completion of his midshipman training in the fleet.  In early 1973 he proceeded to the United Kingdom to undertake operations and weapons courses.  On returning to Australia he joined the destroyer escort HMAS Swan, in July 1973, to gain his watch keeping qualification, and was later the ships navigating officer.   While under training he also served briefly in HMA Ships Anzac, Duchess and Vendetta as well as the guided missile destroyer USS Cochrane.  Dovers was promoted lieutenant on 17 January 1975.


Lieutenant Dovers served as executive officer of the Darwin based patrol boat HMAS Bombard during 30 June - 8 October 1975.  During his time on board the patrol boat was involved in border and fisheries protection duties.  He then undertook the army transport management course and took command of the landing craft (heavy) HMAS Labuan, then based at HMAS Moreton in Brisbane, in late December 1975. During early 1976 Labuan operated in southern Australian waters conducting army sea lift tasking and then participated in Exercise SEAHOUND and Exercise KANGAROO II in Queensland waters.  


In March 1977 Dovers was appointed to Navy Office, Canberra as Staff Officer to the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff; then Rear Admiral Brian Murray, AO, RAN.  In November 1978 Lieutenant Dovers proceeded to the United Kingdom for training as a Principal Warfare Officer; specialising in gunnery. He then undertook exchange duty with Royal Navy including service as the gunnery officer in the destroyer HMS Norfolk as part of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Atlantic.  He was promoted lieutenant commander on 31 December 1981 and conducted short warfare courses in the United States during March - April 1982. Upon returning to Australia he was appointed to the staff at the RAN Tactical School at HMAS Watson, Sydney, in May 1982.


In May 1983 Lieutenant Commander Dovers was appointed to the staff of the Director of Naval Officers Postings in Navy Office Canberra and was serving there when he was promoted commander on 31 December 1984.   He completed the executive officer designate course in late 1985 and joined the guided missile destroyer HMAS Hobart as the executive officer on 22 November 1985.  During his service in Hobart the destroyer took part in Exercise TASMAN SEA 86 and Exercise PITCH BLACK 86 before deploying to Southeast Asia.  Hobart was also heavily involved in RANs 75th Anniversary celebration later in the year.


After leaving Hobart, Commander Dovers attended the Joint Service Staff College, at Weston Creek, Canberra during January – June 1987.  On completion of this course he spent 18 months as the RAN Visiting Fellow at the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra.  He completed his studies and published a monograph on the problems of controlling civil maritime activities in a defence contingency. 


On 3 April 1989 Commander Dovers took command of the frigate HMAS Adelaide.  The ship was in the middle of a major modernisation period when he joined; including the installation of a new stern which increased the size of the flight-deck.   Adelaide commenced sea trials in December 1989 and deployed for Exercise RIMPAC 90 during March - June 1990.   


He was promoted captain on 30 June 1990 and remained in command of Adelaide.  During August - December 1990 Adelaide was deployed to the Gulf of Oman to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions creating an economic embargo of Iraq following that nations invasion of Kuwait. The frigate returned to Australia before hostilities commenced, in February 1991, and Dovers relinquished command of Adelaide on 3 January 1991.  He was subsequently awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) on 4 November 1991 ‘for conspicuous service as Commanding Officer of HMAS Adelaide during the Gulf War’.  Dovers returned to Navy Office, Canberra in January 1991 and was appointed as the Director of Naval Policy and Maritime Doctrine.  


Rear Admiral Rob Walls, RAN presenting Captain William 'WAG' Dovers, RAN with the Australian Service Medal - Clasp Kuwait for his service in command of HMAS Adelaide during the ships service in the Middle East in 1990.

In November 1992 he took command of Hobart and the ship took part in exercises in Australian waters as well as a deployment to Southeast Asia where she was involved in the Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) exercise for 1993 as part of the Five Power Defence Arrangements. He handed over command of the destroyer in March 1994 and again returned to Canberra for service in Navy Office.  Here he conducted a review of submarine manpower issues, for the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff – Personnel. Throughout 1995 he was a student on the inaugural course at the Australian College of Defence and Strategic Studies in Canberra and was promoted commodore on 8 January 1996.


Commodore Dovers was then appointed as the Director General Force Development (Joint) in the Department of Defence.  Then in late July 1997 he became the Director General Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Development in Australian Defence Headquarters, Canberra.  He only served in the position for six months before becoming the Director General Capability Policy and Plans, also in Australia Defence Headquarters, in early February 1998.  Again this was a short posting as in October 1998 he was appointed as the Director General Capability Management Improvement. 


William Dovers was promoted rear admiral on 1 March 1999 and took up his final position in the RAN as Support Commander (Navy).  He retired from RAN on 1 March 2000.

"The young and the old".   Rear Admiral William Dovers congratulates his son Midshipman Dovers on his award of the RAN College Jubilee Memoral Sword on the flight deck of HMAS Melbourne in 1972.