Navigator in the South Seas

Navigator in the South Seas

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Navigator in the South Seas

Navigator in the South Seas

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Product Overview

Product No:
Brett Hilder
Seal Books Rigby
Edition Date:
January 1980
114 x 184 x 19 mm
205 g
Sales Rank:
998 (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

For a 'been there-done that' story few could better the variety of experiences of Brett Hilder, especially at sea and in the air. As a youngster in 1928 he went to sea with the Australian shipping line Burns Philip which traded mainly in Pacific and South East Asian waters. He also joined the Royal Australian Navy's reserve. He gained his second mates papers at the height of the Depression but by a stroke of luck obtained a third mate's post on one of the BP ships, trading mostly in the South Pacific, 1936 he went to the RAN for nine months to qualify as a Leiutenant in the sea going reserve.

In the late 30s he gained his master's certificate and rejoined BP and a short tile later was closely involved in evacuating people from the enormous Rabaul eruption. Next he passed his Extra Master's certificate and gained his first commant, a trial run on a large deep sea trawler to NZ and back. He next commanded one of BP's ships, based in Rabaul. He was there when WWII began so it was back to the RAN, but only briefly as he became an instructor on navigation and naval co-operation with the Royal Australian Air Force - the navy was not pleased.

He learned to fly and applied to go on operations with the RAAF's Catalina units. This upset the RAAF who would rather he continued with navigation training. When he went operational he had made the rank of Wing Commander and on Catalina night-flying operations was mining Japanese-held harbours.

War ended and it was back to BP as a chief officer. In Singapore he found "pilfering, looting, graft and blackmarketing were rampant." Much of his subsequent service was in the South Pacific where he continued to have a life far from routine - a few strandings, and near misses, salvage work, interesting encounters on islands fought over by the Japanes and Allies and explorations ashore. His story is an engrossing read, not dimmed by the passage of time.

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