Naval College Divisions

The College has seven divisions, each named after important naval officers who have played a role in forging the ethos and history of today’s Navy.

Clarkson Division

Vice Admiral William Clarkson joined the South Australian Naval Service as an Engineer Lieutenant in May 1884. He served under Captain W Creswell, enthusiastic to develop an Australian Naval Force. In 1908-11 he oversaw the building of destroyers for the CNF, becoming the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Unit in 1911. As controller of shipping in WW1 he earned promotion to Rear Admiral in 1918, and by 1922 was responsible for guiding the RAN through a modernisation program, including construction of ships, submarines and establishing a Fleet Air Arm.

Clarkson died in Sydney on 21 January 1934, cremated with full Naval honours.

Getting Division

Captain Frank Getting joined the first intake of the newly established Royal Australian Naval College at Geelong, graduating in 1917 with Waller and Collins. The first Australian to pass the RN submarine commanders’ course, he commanded HMAS Oxley in 1928.

In 1940, he became Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, until 1942, when he was given command of HMAS Canberra (I). On 9 August 1942 during the Solomon Islands campaign, Canberra was engaged by the Japanese, taking 22 shells from close range as well as a combined torpedo attack. Severely injured and refusing medical aid, he remained at his post directing action.

Captain Getting was evacuated to an American Hospital ship but later died of his wounds and was buried at sea.

Martin Division

Rear Admiral Sir David James Martin was educated at Scots College, Sydney, and in 1947 entered the Royal Australian Naval College, Flinders Naval Depot, Westernport, Victoria, as a Cadet Midshipman. After training in Britain with the Royal Navy, Martin served (1951-52) in the aircraft carrier HMAS Sydney (III) during the Korean War. In 1953 he undertook further training in Britain and was promoted to Sub Lieutenant. Returning to Australia in 1954, he joined the aircraft carrier HMAS Vengeance the following year as an Officer of the Watch. The ship sailed to Britain to pay off, and the ship’s company transferred to the new aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne (II). Promoted to Lieutenant in 1955, he was posted the following year to HMAS Torrens, a shore establishment in Adelaide. He joined the destroyer HMAS Voyager (II) in 1962 as gunnery officer and next year was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Martin left the ship in August - six months before it sank in a collision with HMAS Melbourne (II) on 10 February 1964.

Martin, who retired from the Navy in February 1988, possessed a ready smile and a sparkle of the eye that left a lasting impression on many he met. He was one of the most admired and respected naval officers of his era and his rapport with sailors was exceptional. Later in 1988 Martin received the New South Wales Father of the Year Award and in August he accepted the government’s offer to become the State’s 34th Governor. Sworn in on 20 January 1989, he was the first RAN officer to hold the position. In December he was appointed KCMG. Martin died at Darlinghurst three days later, on 10 August, and, after a state funeral, was cremated.

McClemans Division

Chief Officer Shelia Mary McClemans enlisted in the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) on 11 January 1943 at HMAS Leeuwin, Western Australia. As a WRAN rating she completed the first WRANS officer training course at HMAS Cerberus, Westernport, Victoria. Promoted to third officer on 15 February 1943, McClemans was appointed to the staff of the Director of Naval Reserves and Mobilisation, Navy Office, Melbourne, in May of that year. Her excellent leadership and organisational skills earned her rapid promotion being appointed second officer in July and first officer in November 1943. In January 1944 First Officer McClemans was appointed to administer the WRANS and in August she was appointed as the Director of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service.

Moran Division

Commander William Moran entered the RAN College in 1917. Specialising as a torpedo he joined HMAS Brisbane (I) and later served in HM Ships Conqueror and Valiant and, as Commander in 1939, was appointed to RANC.

In 1940 he joined in Canberra (I) and by 1941 had assumed Command of Vampire (I).

He led the night attack on the Japanese invasion fleet at Endue, Malay in January 1942, being mentioned in dispatches twice for his actions.

Commander Moran went down with his ship when Japanese aircraft off Ceylon sank Vampire (I) and the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes on 9 April 1942.

Rankin Division

Lieutenant Commander Robert Rankin joined RANC in 1921, graduating to join HMAS Brisbane (I) in 1925 and later completing his Warfare Officers course in England.

During the first two years of WWII he surveyed the Pittwater area, before assuming command of HMAS Yarra (II), conducting numerous convoys around Indonesia.

On 4 March 1942 five Japanese warships were sighted. Rankin scattered the convoy and laid smoke, putting himself between the ships and the enemy. Out-gunned and closing to point blank range, Yarra became a smoking wreck, but her guns were still firing. Lieutenant Commander Rankin was lost with his ship's crew in this final engagement.

Waller Division

Captain Hector Waller joined the RAN College in 1913 and in 1917 joined HMS Agincourt, moving to the cruiser HMAS Melbourne (I) in February 1919.

In 1929, he joined HMAS Australia (II) and later became Executive Officer of RANC. He went on to Command HMS Brazen and, by 1939, HMAS Stuart (I), which fought at the battle of Matapan.

On 28 February 1942 as Commanding Officer of HMAS Perth (I), he encountered an overwhelming Japanese force in the Sunda Strait. An outstanding officer of his generation, Waller went down with his ship early on 1 March, his death described as “a heavy deprivation for the young Navy of Australia”.