The year 1971 was a big year. Dennis Lillee took 5 for 84 against England in his debut test match. John Lennon released ‘Imagine’. John Newcombe won Wimbledon. Apollo 15 landed on the moon.
It was also the year a young Dianne Cross from Kempsey on the New South Wales mid north coast, joined the Royal Australian Navy.
On 8 January, Warrant Officer Di Cross signed up to the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) as a Communicator. The WRANS was the womens’ branch of the Royal Australian Navy set up during World War II to address a shortage of communicators.
She was quickly identified as a future leader, being promoted to Senior WRAN in August 1971, Leading WRAN ROS in August 1972, Petty Officer WRAN Radio Supervisor Special three years later, Chief WRAN Radio Supervisor Special in January 1979 and WO WRAN Radio Supervisor Special, WO Electronic Warfare Operator in May 1987.
Along the way she met the love of her life, Mike Cross, then a Navy communicator and later a leading light among ACT Firefighters. They married in October 1973 and had two children, Marni and Dean.
Warrant Officer Cross cites her current role as the biggest highlight of her incredible naval career over 43 years.
“I have found this role to be the most rewarding, helping people by passing on the knowledge I’ve gained over the years to the rest of the team.
“I have has enjoyed great support from my family, and none more so that of my husband. Mike has always been there for me, completely understanding my interest in having my own career. He is a model father and a bit before his time.”
Warrant Officer Cross’s jubilant outlook on life will be missed by many, including her famous retort to her colleagues and friends “Have a good day”, which was always met with “Every day is a good day!”
Commodore Andy Gough, currently the Navy’s Director General Navy Capability Plans and Engagement, worked with Warrant Officer Cross in the Navy Personnel organisation and paid tribute to the proud serving member.
“Di Cross has always been a sterling example of competence, commitment, courage and leadership.”
Warrant Officer Cross’s current supervisor, Lieutenant Commander Sue Wheeler, also complemented her team mate’s exceptional skills.
“Di has been employed in the area of data remediation since she started work here in the Directorate of Navy Personnel Information Systems Management.
“She knows more about the system than any other individual here within the Directorate as she has been involved in remediation across nearly all the different functional areas. Di is also able to build queries to extract data from the system better than anyone else here.
“She will be greatly missed.”
Warrant Officer Cross is now looking forward to spending more time at the family property in the Southern Highlands where she and her husband successfully breed Bull Terriers and Parson Jack Russell terriers.
She will also have more time to spend with her family including her two grandchildren Ziggy and Arkie.