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Friday, June 21, 2024

Memorial honours life of remarkable service

A memorial service at Naval Chapel Garden Island has honoured the life of Rear Admiral (retd) Guy Richmond Griffiths.

It was a poignant occasion attended by the Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond, Navy personnel and family, commemorating his remarkable service to the Royal Australian Navy and his enduring legacy.

Rear Admiral Griffiths, who died aged 101, lived a life characterised by dedication and commitment to his country.

His journey in the Navy began as a young cadet midshipman in 1937, when he was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy at 13 – his formative years coinciding with the tumultuous period of World War 2.

A picture and medals out on display during the funeral service Rear Admiral (retd) Guy Griffiths.

Rear Admiral Griffiths’ resilience and courage were evident when, as a 17-year-old midshipman serving on HMS Repulse, he survived the devastating air attack by Japanese bombers during the Naval Battle of Malaya in 1941, a tragic event that claimed the lives of 840 sailors.

Despite the harrowing experience, Rear Admiral Griffiths continued to serve with distinction, transitioning to various naval vessels, including battleship HMS Revenge and destroyer HMS Vivian.

His contributions to pivotal operations in the South-West Pacific, such as the Leyte and Lingayan Gulf campaigns, showcased his valour and leadership. 

Notably, his gallantry during the Lingayan Gulf operation earned him the prestigious Distinguished Service Cross.

Navy pallbearers carry the casket after the naval ceremonial funeral service of Rear Admiral (retd) Guy Griffiths at the Garden Island Chapel.

Rear Admiral Griffiths’ career spanned beyond World War 2, extending into the Korean and Vietnam wars, where he demonstrated unwavering dedication in the face of adversity.

His command of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne, from 1973 to 1975, solidified his reputation as one of Navy’s most distinguished leaders.

Promoted to Rear Admiral in 1976, he assumed the role of Chief of Naval Personnel, where he continued to serve until his retirement in 1980.

Vice Admiral Hammond celebrated the late Rear Admiral Griffiths on his achievements throughout his career.

“Throughout his 43 years of service, Rear Admiral Griffiths was recognised for his outstanding contributions with awards such as the Distinguished Service Order and the Order of Australia, attesting to his exceptional commitment to Navy and his country,” Vice Admiral Hammond said.

Navy personnel conduct a 21-gun salute in honour of Rear Admiral (retd) Guy Griffiths. Photo: Seaman Genae Kelly.

“At the age of 98, his contributions to maritime operations were widely recognised in his biography, Guy Griffiths: The Life and Times of an Australian Admiral.

“As Rear Admiral Griffiths is laid to rest, his legacy of bravery, leadership and selfless service will continue to inspire generations of Navy personnel.

“His memory will forever be enshrined in the annals of the Royal Australian Navy, a testament to a life dedicated to duty, honour and country.”

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