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News > Announcements > Obituaries > In Memoriam: N.R.B. BERLYN (48-52)

In Memoriam: N.R.B. BERLYN (48-52)

You are warmly welcomed to leave a message below, share your memories, and celebrate the life of Nigel Berlyn (48-52), who we sadly lost in 2022.
28 Feb 2022
Written by Robin Knight
Obituaries

Nigel Berlyn (48-52) died in Australia in February 2022 aged 85 as the OP Society was informed recently. Rear Admiral Simon Cullen, Royal Australian Navy and President of the Naval Officers Club of Australia, writes:

“Nigel Berlyn was born in Plymouth, England on 26 August 1934 and was educated at The Nautical College, Pangbourne, in Berkshire before entering the Royal Navy in May 1952 as an engineer officer. He served in a variety of Royal Navy establishments and ships and was promoted to Lieutenant in September 1956 and Lieutenant Commander in September 1964.

Berlyn served on exchange with the RAN in 1964-65 as the Practical Training Co-ordinator at the apprentice training establishment (HMAS Nirimba) located at Quakers Hill in western Sydney. In November 1965 he transferred to the RAN. His first posting in the RAN was as the Marine Engineer Officer in the destroyer HMAS Vampire during 1966-1967. During this time Vampire served extensively in South East Asian waters including escort duties to Vietnam and guard-ship duties in eastern Malaysia during the Indonesian Confrontation.

In late 1967, Lieutenant Commander Berlyn was posted to the staff of the General Manager Garden Island Dockyard, firstly as the Superintendent Refit Planning and then as the Senior Project Planner. He was promoted to Commander in December 1967.

In early 1971 Commander Berlyn was appointed Marine Engineer Officer in the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and served in her until the end of 1972. He then completed the Joint Services Staff College, Canberra, in 1973 and afterwards was posted, as an Acting Captain, as Programming and Planning Manager in the New Destroyer Project Directorate. This project was to introduce the Light Destroyer (DDL) into the RAN but was cancelled in late 1973.

After the DDL project cancellation, he became the Director of the Guided Missile Frigate Acquisition Project. Berlyn was confirmed in the rank of Captain in June 1975. In early 1977 he was posted to Fleet Headquarters as the Chief Staff Officer (Technical). He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in June 1978 in recognition of his service as Project Director of the Guided Missile Frigate Acquisition Program.

Captain Berlyn was then posted to the Navy Office in January 1980 as Chief Staff Officer Technical Services. Following promotion to Commodore in December 1980, he served at Williamstown Naval Dockyard in 1981-82 during a very difficult period when the lack of productivity at the dockyard was called into question several times in Parliament.

In 1983 Berlyn undertook training at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. On return to Australia, he commenced work as General Manager of the Garden Island Dockyard in January 1984, becoming the last uniformed officer to hold this position before the dockyard was privatised.

In September 1984 Berlyn was promoted to Rear Admiral and continued to serve as the General Manager of the Garden Island Dockyard. In June 1987 he was appointed as an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in recognition of his service to the Royal Australian Navy as a Marine Engineer Officer, particularly as the General Manager of HMA Dockyard Garden Island.

In August 1989 he proposed the introduction of random breath testing at the dockyard to try and curb excessive lunch time drinking by dockyard workers and reduce accident and injury rates. This met with stiff opposition at the dockyard but this process was to become standard practice across Australian industry in later years. Rear Admiral Berlyn retired from the RAN in 1990. He was a keen yachtsman and took part in a number of yacht races following retirement.”

Robin Knight (56-61) adds: “At the Nautical College Nigel Berlyn was an outstanding cross-country runner who came home first for the NCP in all his races. He was crowned Victor Ludorum in both 1951 and 1952. He also represented the College at Sailing (in the Firefly dinghy), was in Form V1 Science, Drum Major and a Cadet Captain in McQuarrie Division. He secured direct entry into the Royal Navy during Lent Term 1952.”
 

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