When General Entry 319, Emms Division, graduated from the Royal Australian Navy’s Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus recently, there was a very special guest in the audience whose presence made the graduates stand a little taller than usual. Mr David Manning, formerly Acting Able Seaman Manning of HMAS Perth (I), accepted an invitation to attend the graduation ceremony, making the short trip down from Ballarat.
In September 2012, Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, RAN announced that Recruit School Divisions Waller, Rankin, Getting and Moran would be renamed in honour of sailors who were lost in service to their country. The move to recognise the achievements and sacrifices of sailors has provided recruits with new role models and a tangible link to the Navy’s history that speaks directly to their own aspirations of serving their nation with pride.
David Manning was just 18 years of age when he and his shipmates endured an experience many Australians will never comprehend. David had been on board Perth for barely three months, when in the early hours of 1 March 1942 the ship was sunk due to enemy action following the Battle of the Sunda Strait. Around 300 of the crew survived the sinking, while more than 350 sailors were lost. Having survived that tragedy, David spent the best part of the next three and a half years as a Japanese Prisoner of War (POW), including 14 months on the Thai-Burma railway. The stories of many of these POWs during this period are gradually becoming better known.
David accepted the invitation to make the presentation for Recruit of the Intake without hesitation. Recruit (RCT) Kali Germein was selected for her exemplary performance and outstanding attitude during her training, thus upholding the Navy’s Values and Signature Behaviours.
“It would be a pleasure and an honour to recognise the efforts of a new young sailor,” David Manning said.
He then added, on congratulating RCT Germein, “If you do the right thing by the Navy, they will do the right thing by you. Congratulations and well done.”
22 year old RCT Germein, who grew up in the small farming town of Minlaton, South Australia, was surprised and overwhelmed with being selected for the award and having it presented by such a distinguished guest.
“It was an honour to receive the award from Mr Manning, a man who had endured so much in his career in the Navy,” said RCT Germein.
RCT Germein will remain at Cerberus for the next few weeks to complete a Seamanship course before posting to HMAS Penguin, where she will undergo training to become a Hydrographic Survey Operator.