A final return for Dechaineux Commander

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Kara Wansbury (author), ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez (photographer), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

Topic(s): HMAS Dechaineux (S76)

Commanding Officer of HMAS Dechaineux, Commander Robin Dainty, RAN, stands on the casing.  (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
Commanding Officer of HMAS Dechaineux, Commander Robin Dainty, RAN, stands on the casing.

Smiling, familiar faces greeted the crew of HMAS Dechaineux upon her return to Fleet Base West after a two month deployment to Tasmania and New Zealand. Arriving a week ahead of Christmas the submarine crew were welcomed by friends, family and representatives of the Submarine Force.

Dechaineux’s
return to her home port completes a busy few months at sea, the highlight being the Royal Australian Navy representative unit at the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary activities in Auckland.

Enroute home she participated in Exercise OCEAN RAIDER off the Australian east coast.

It wasn’t all hard work said Leading Seaman Sara Gillan with the crew able to spend some time in Sydney.

"A group of us took the opportunity to see the sights of Sydney from a much higher perspective than others; completing the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb," she said.

"A particular challenge for submariners who work only metres from where they sleep and eat whilst at sea, climbing more than 1,000 steps was worth the view."

Whilst some of the crew were sweating it out on the Bridge, a sleeping child was taking part in a momentous occasion on the casing of the submarine. William Dechaineux, great grandson of Captain Emile Dechaineux was christened onboard Dechaineux on 3 December by Chaplain Max Walker.

An age old tradition, made all the more poignant by the family connection, William was christened with water from the ship's bell, his name engraved inside to mark the occasion.

Seaman Jocelyn Finn was there to help host the family and reflected on the history of the day.

"It was great to see a real life connection to Captain Dechaineux; I think William will grow up very proud of his heritage,” Seaman Finn said.

"It was a very important occasion for his parents and I was really happy to be there on the day."

After some rest in Sydney the crew began the thousand mile journey home which gave the Commanding Officer plenty of time to reflect ahead of his hand over in January 2017.

Commander Robin Dainty has been in command of Dechaineux since November 2014 and in that time the submarine has sailed over 35,000 nautical miles and exercised with American, New Zealand, Canadian and Malaysian units.

”I had mixed feeling during my final return to Fleet Base West. I am sad that shortly I will be leaving the crew, they have supported me exceptionally well. I am glad to be home though but more importantly to get the crew home,” he said.

The crew of Dechaineux will now spend Christmas with their families before returning to sea in 2017.