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Anglo-Australian Naval relations and co-operation, 1945-1975

Anglo-Australian Naval relations and co-operation, 1945-1975
Mark Desmond Francis Gjessing


School of History, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UNITED KINGDOM.


This thesis explores the relationship between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the Royal Navy (RN) between 1945-75. My original contribution to knowledge is assessment of a historical topic that is greatly under-researched. In addition this research has revealed instances where naval policy in both the United Kingdom and Australia was in direct contrast to national policy, a topic that has not been previously addressed in an Anglo-Australian context.

The aim of this study is to analyse the changing relationship between the Royal Navy and the RAN in the post-Second World War period, specifically 1945-75. Particular areas of interest include the alterations in inter-service cultural ties, operational co-operation, collaboration in matters of personnel, and equipment procurement and design. As national policy and strategic concerns have an impact on lower-level military affairs, assessment is also made of the altering national and strategic relations between Australia and Great Britain in the same period. This includes consideration of the diminution of British military influence in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the strategic shift of Australia towards the United States in the post-war period.

The methodology of the study is based on analysis of primary sources such as governmental archives, oral recordings and unpublished memoirs from United Kingdom and Australian archives. Consideration has been made of secondary sources concerning both the RAN and the Royal Navy to provide historiographical context to the research topic. Statistical assessment of the RAN Navy List’s from 1945-75 has also been made to chart the movement of officers between the Royal Navy and the RAN.

This thesis concludes that the relationship between the Royal Navy and the RAN between 1945-75 underwent a great level of change. This modification in some ways mirrored the gradual disassociation between Great Britain and Australia in the same period but the shift in naval relations did not take place at the same time, nor did the alteration in naval relations occur for the same reasons.