Daughter visits namesake submarine

Published on LEUT Kara Wansbury (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham, Western Australia

Topic(s): HMAS Dechaineux (S76)

Ms Ann Dechaineux and the Commanding Officer Dechaineux, Commander Robin Dainty. (photo: Unknown)
Ms Ann Dechaineux and the Commanding Officer Dechaineux, Commander Robin Dainty.

The daughter of Captain Emile Dechaineux visited the Collins class submarine named after her father in Hobart on the 72nd anniversary of his death.

Ms Ann Dechaineux was the guest of Commanding Officer Dechaineux, Commander Robin Dainty, who reflected on the service of the Second World War Commanding Officer, Captain Dechaineux who died following a kamikaze attack on HMAS Australia on 21 October 1942.

Ms Dechaineux said it was her third visit since the submarine commissioned and she was as always impressed.

“Every sailor loves their ship but there seems to be a special amount of pride in this crew," she said.

The family were proud if not a little surprised when advised many years ago that a submarine would be named after the wartime captain.

“Growing up, I was always very aware of his presence.  There were little instances through my childhood; meeting people who served with them and seeing their reactions to my last name,” Ms Dechaineux said.

Ms Dechaineux said that he was known to be always cool, calm and collected.

“I think he had a lot of respect from his men, highlighted by the fact, that at the Leyte Gulf, when his body was slipped over the side, the naval tradition of pips being played as a sign of respect was done, and it was lengthy," she said.

“The last known photograph of him is him explaining to his crew what was before them.  I think this demonstrated his leadership style.  He liked to keep his ship informed and got the men involved. It was his sense of caring that is his legacy,” Ms Dechaineux said.

“Submariners all need to have endurance.  You need to be a different sort of person to live and work onboard a submarine. I am sure you need to be born with it. A strong sense of self-reliance and trusting oneself is key to life in a submarine too I think.”

As Commanding Officer Australia, Captain Dechaineux and his crew were supporting landings at Leyte Gulf when a Japanese aircraft struck the ship after being fired upon and the resultant burning fuel and debris and killed 31 crew including their Commanding Officer.

Captain Dechaineux was buried at sea that evening.