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NAVAL BOARD CHANGE

Captain G. P. Thomson.

DISTINGUISHED CAREER OF NEW

SECOND MEMBER.

(PROM OUR SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE.)

By Air Mall.

LONDON, Dec. 19.

Captain G. P. Thomson, O.B.E., R.N., who Is to become Second Naval Member of the Australian Naval Board, in succession to Cap- tain P. E. Phillips, D.S.O., R.N., has spent 35 eventful years In the navy and was intimately connected with the submarine service for a quarter of a century.

Early in his career he saw active service In one of the outposts of the Empire, for which he received the African General Service Medal (1902-04) and the Somaliland clasp. Captain Thomson was rated midshipman In 1903 and appointed to the cruiser Hyacinth, flagship of Rear-Admiral G. L. Atkinson Willes, Commander-in-Chlef, East Indies sta- tion. In the following year a military cam- paign, supported by the navy, was conducted against the Mad Mullah of Somaliland.

CAPTURE OF FORT.

The Hyacinth embarked with a company of the Hampshire Regiment at Berbera, and, with the Fox and Mohawk, proceeded to Illlg. In Italian territory, where the Dervishes had built a large fortified stronghold. A combined force of naval ratings and soldiers was landed before daylight, and, despite rifle fire and mixed iron missiles frcm two old cannon, the fort was captured with a loss of only three

killed and 12 wounded.

Promoted to sub-lieutenant In 1906, during his courses for lieutenant, Captain Thomson obtained "five firsts" and early promotion. When still in the early twenties, he was at- tracted by submarines, then in their infancy, and became one of the pioneers in this branch of the navy. Given command of A11 In 1910, a year later he transferred to C24, one of the newer vessels. At the outbreak of war he wai serving in the battleship St. Vincent, flag- ship of Rear-Admiral H. Evan-Thomas, In the Grand Fleet, but In 1915 he obtained com- mand of a submarine and spent the last three years of hostilities in undersea craft. Dur- ing the latter part of the war he served In one of the Grand Fleet submarine floculas which worked with the fleet, instead of play- ing the lone hand of a sleuth-hound. Although It was not his luck to "bag" an enemy vessel while on patrol-few enemy vessels put to sea-his good work did not pass unrecognised, and he was awarded the O.B.E.

PROMOTED TO COMMANDER.

After the war. Captain Thomson continued to serve in submarines and was promoted to Commander In 1920. By this time he had quali- fied as an interpreter In four languages, and was selected for the Staff Course and after- wards appointed to the Admiralty for the Naval Intelligence Division.

In 1923, K6, the latest British submarine and the largest In the world, was commis- sioned, and Captain Thomson was appointed to command her. In January, 1924, she left England on an eight-months' experimental cruise in the tropics, going as far east as Singapore.

His next appointment was to the Atlantic Fleet flagship H.M.S. Revenge, as staff-officer (operations) on the staff of the Commander-in-Chlef, Admiral Sir Henry F. Oliver. Promoted to Cap- tain in 1927, while in command of the Sixth Submarine Flotilla at Portland, with the exception of a break to take the Imperial defence course, he was almost nntlnuously In command of submarine flotillas for nearly six years, during which time he had charge of the Mediterranean Fleet flotilla and the Portsmouth submarine base.

From 1933-34 Captain Thomson served on ti- China station as Chlef-of-Staff to the Commander-in-Chief. Admiral Sir Frederick Dreyer, and took part in the Singapore con- ference of 1934, between the four admirals on adjacent stations, China, East Indies, Aus- tralia, and New Zealand. Admiral Dreyer afterwards extended his spring cruise to Port Darwin, and was the first Commander-in Chlef of the China station for many years to visit Australia in his flagship.

Captain Thomson '¬ęst served afloat in the cruiser Devonshire In the Mediterranean, one of the vessels employed during the summer on errands of mercy in Spanish waters. After being stationed at Palma, Balearic Islands, she carried 500 refugees from Valencia to

Marseille*.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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