Structure and self-discipline were not strong attributes for Petty Officer Nathan Darvill as a sixteen year-old youth growing up in Rowville, Victoria, but as a Naval Police Coxswain, Petty Officer Darvill now leads by example in maintaining order and discipline in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ship HMAS Brunei.
“After having been kicked out of home at the age of 16, I realised pretty quickly that I needed greater structure in my life.
“I found the Navy, and signed on with the intent to serve only for the initial enlistment period, but it was apparent straight away that the structure, discipline and the opportunities to expand my horizons with travel were exactly what I needed.
“Fourteen years later I’m doing a job I love, I’ve made my family proud and I am providing a good upbringing for my kids,” Petty Officer Darvill said.
For the first seven years of his Naval career Petty Officer Darvill was a Boatswain's Mate, serving aboard the guided missile destroyer HMAS Brisbane, as well as part of the boarding party on the Anzac Class frigate HMAS Stuart in which he undertook a deployment to the Middle East.
Petty Officer Darvill was also a damage control instructor at the RAN School of Survivability and Ship Safety at HMAS Cerberus.
In 2007 Petty Officer Darvill changed category to become a Naval Police Coxswain, and was promoted to Petty Officer in 2011 when he joined the Armidale Class Patrol Boat crew AWARE 1.
In July 2013 Petty Officer Darvill volunteered for a short operational relief posting to the Cairns-based Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) Brunei - twelve months later he remains an integral part of the ship in which he has a multi-faceted role that incorporates whole ship coordination, order and discipline, medic, officer of the watch and coxswain duties.
Brunei’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant B J Glover has worked with Petty Officer Darvill throughout the ‘Swain’s’ time in the ship.
“Petty Officer Darvill is a very enthusiastic Senior Sailor who takes pride in maintaining structure, good order and discipline onboard Brunei, which he approaches with a professional, yet relaxed routine that allows the Junior Sailors to take ownership of their careers through responsible decision making.
“I can certainly see how the Navy was able to provide Petty Officer Darvill with stability and a number of role models as a young Junior Sailor; which in retrospect has made him dedicated to providing the same traits towards the next generation," Lieutenant Glover said.
When Brunei and her sister LCHs (HMAS Labuan and HMAS Tarakan) are decommissioned later this year, Petty Officer Darvill will be proud to have served on this class of ship, but also looks forward to the introduction of the new Canberra Class Amphibious Assault Ships.
“The highlight of my time in Brunei was when we sailed in company with Labuan and Tarakan for the last time, in the formation exit from our home port of Cairns.
“It has been fantastic to be part of history and to have been a serving member on a forty year old ship.
“The Canberra Class ships will be a great asset to the Navy, and I would love to serve on these ships in the future if I have the opportunity,” Petty Officer Darvill said.