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Hector Waller

Hector Waller

Senior royal australian navy officer

Hector Macdonald Laws Waller DSO & Bar (4 April 1900 – 1 March 1942), known as Hec Waller, was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). His career spanned almost thirty years, including service in both world wars. At the helm of the flotilla leader HMAS Stuart in the Mediterranean from 1939 to 1941, he won recognition as a skilful ship's captain and flotilla commander. He then transferred to the South West Pacific as captain of the light cruiser HMAS Perth, and went down with his ship during the Battle of Sunda Strait in early 1942.

Born in Benalla, Victoria, Waller entered the Royal Australian Naval College aged thirteen. After graduating, he served with the Royal Navy in the closing stages of World War I. Between the wars, he specialised in communications and was posted as signals officer to several British and Australian warships. He gained his first seagoing command in 1937, as captain of the destroyer HMS Brazen. In September 1939, he took command of HMAS Stuart and four other obsolete destroyers that together became known as the "Scrap Iron Flotilla". In 1940, these were augmented by other ships to form the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, supporting Allied troops in North Africa.

Waller was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, and twice mentioned in despatches, for his achievements in the Mediterranean. He assumed command of HMAS Perth in October 1941, taking part in the Battle of the Java Sea shortly before his final action in Sunda Strait. He received a third mention in despatches posthumously, and in 2011 came under formal consideration for the award of the Victoria Cross for his performance as Perth's captain. The submarine HMAS Waller is named in his honour.

Timeline

April 4, 1900
Hector Waller was born in Benalla.

Patents

Further Resources

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

A History of the Royal Australian Naval College

Eldridge, Frank Burgess

1949

Last Post Ceremony: Captain Hector MacDonald Laws Waller - 28 February 2019

Web

February 27, 2019

No Pleasure Cruise: The Story of the Royal Australian Navy. Crows Nest, New South Wales

Frame, Tom

2004

Royal Australian Navy, 1939–1942

Gill, George Hermon

1957

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History

Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin

2008

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