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Vice Admiral Sir John Augustine Collins KBE, CB

1899 - 1989

Final year at Parade College: 1912

Sir John Collins was a Royal Australian Navy officer who served in World War I and World War II, and who eventually rose to become a Vice Admiral and Chief of Staff of the RAN.

Sir John was one of the first graduates of the Royal Australian Naval College to attain flag rank. During World War II, he commanded the cruiser HMAS Sydney in the Mediterranean campaign. He led the Australian Naval Squadron in the Pacific theatre and was wounded in the first recorded kamikaze attack, in 1944.

Sir John was appointed Chief of Naval Staff in 1948 and held the position until 1955. He was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 1951 New Year Honours. He later served as Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand (1956–1962).

In 1965 the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies offered Sir John the governor-generalship, but he refused the honour.

The latest class of Australian submarine, the Collins class bears his name.

(inducted 2010)