Farewell Ron Whitmore

13 November 2015

Cmdr Edward Ronald Whitmore RAN (Rtd) (1925-2015)


Ron Whitmore pictured at Hydro 96

Ron Whitmore, stalwart of both The Hydrographic Society (now IFHS) and the Australasian Hydrographic Society (AHS), passed away on 11th November. Ron supported and promoted hydrography with great enthusiasm at every opportunity throughout his life.

Ron joined the Royal Navy (RN) as a 15 year-old in 1940. He saw service in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans during World War II, as an Air Artificer Ordnance in No. 887 Seafire Squadron on board HMS Indefatigable and HMS Implacable from 1944-45. He transferred to the Executive Branch in 1948.

Then, in 1950, he transferred to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) as a Seaman Officer. He served in Korea in HMAS Sydney and then as a Term Officer at RANC before transferring to the Hydrographic Survey Branch in 1954, where he began an illustrious career in hydrographic surveying.

Ron served on a number of RAN survey vessels between 1954 and 1957 including HMAS Warrego, Barcoo and Warreen and then, on exchange with the RN from 1975-58, HMS Owen and Shackleton. During his career, he spent many months surveying around Australia and Papua New Guinea, the east coast of Africa, the west coasts of England and Scotland and around Malaysia. He was promoted to LCDR in 1957.

Ron obtained his first command in Paluma in February 1960, and then Barcoo (1962), before he joining Moresby as commissioning Executive Officer in 1964.

In early 1965, he was loaned to the Royal Malaysian Navy for two years general service. He returned to Australia in early 1967 to join the Hydrographic Office as the AHO and Tides Officer. Ron was promoted to Commander in June 1968 and subsequently became the Australian Hydrographer later that year.

He commanded HMAS Moresby for over two years from May 1970 before returning to the HO as Deputy Hydrographer in July 1972. He retired from the RAN in February 1975.

In 1974, the University of New South Wales invited Ron to devise a syllabus in Hydrography and Law of the Sea. He was the institution's sole lecturer in these subjects for 17 years.

He always maintained a professional interest in hydrography. He consulted with the IMO and the Commonwealth Secretariat, amongst others, and was a pioneering senior facilitator for meetings in Australia regarding electronic navigation systems and ECDIS.

Ron was a founding member of the Australian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel (now the Australasian Hydrographic Surveyors Certification Panel). He joined The Hydrographic Society in April 1980 and was a founding member of its Australasian Branch (later to become AHS); he played a very active role in both. He was the Australasian Branch-Elected Member on the Council of THS for much of the 1990s, and served as its Chairman from September 1996 to May 2000.

Ron will be sadly missed by his many friends across the globe. 

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