R95085 Vaval Airman Meteorologist (NAMET) Lynton Neil Burridge, of Christies Beach, SA, prepares the daily weather analysis chart aboard HMAS Dutchess enroute to Singapore. (AWM photo).

Lynton Burridge was born on 28 February 1950 at Rose Park SA. On 11 October 1965 he signed up in the RAN for 12-years, starting as a Junior Recruit, drafted to HMAS Leeuwin the Junior Recruit School, at Fremantle WA.

Junior Recruits were carefully selected and generally above average academically and needed to be as they faced a very intensive, year-long period of schooling, but with a good balance between academic and naval subjects together with sport. Graduates of the Junior Recruit School could select the branch of the navy they wished to pursue as a career. Those who made the grade were first-class sailors.

Burridge chose to be a Naval Airman and was lucky enough to selected for training as a meteorologist in the RAN Fleet Air Arm, this was a specialised branch which required an interest in science and natural phenomena as well as a firm grasp of its application to naval aviation – on land and in the distant reaches of the ocean.

On 30 October 1966 Burridge was drafted to HMAS Albatross (RANAS) the RAN Fleet Air Arms training base at Nowra NSW. Here he began training as an Ordinary Naval Airman (Met) but was soon drafted to the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne, where the usual practice was to be attached to the Navigation Office where much of the hands-on meteorology work was done in close cooperation with the squadrons.

Apart from time spent on matters relating to the weather, being part of the Navigation Office would also mean close involvement with the planning of the ship’s route, in addition one of the ‘extracurricular’ duties would be the notation and amendment of navigation maps. This work required a great deal of care and attention to detail when marking-up maps and amending manuals, an endless task as the flow of corrections was constant. On 1 September 1967 he returned to Albatross where he remained for further training. On 26 January 1968 he was promoted to Naval Airman (Met) 2. 

After a short training course at HMAS Watson on Sydney’s South head and HMAS Penguin for further training courses, with more time at Albatross, Burridge was then drafted to the Daring Class destroyer HMAS Duchess, on 17 June 1968, and a month later was rated as Naval Airman (Met) 1. Over the next 18-months Duchess was engaged in a long list of exercises including the large multi-national naval amphibious exercise Coral Sand, followed by FESR patrols, and escorting the fast troop carrier HMAS Sydney to Vung Tau, Vietnam, on two occasions, plus visits to Japan, Singapore, and other South East Asian ports.

At this point we lose track of Burridge’s movements as his naval records are not available, but as a 12-year man he would have served in the RAN until 1977, unless he signed on for further service. But two things stand out: firstly as a Meteorologist he was engaged in what might be broadly described as a ‘bookish’ form of work and secondly, he had considerable experience with South East Asian countries. So, it is no surprise that he was attracted to working with Flinders University in establishing an English Language College in China.

His friend, Bernard Besselink, gave an insight into these later years: 

“I knew Lynton from 2001 to about 2008 when he was associated with the University of South Australia and Flinders University. In 2006, he set up a private English teaching school in Jilin in northern China in association with Flinders University.  It appears that he stayed in China after the school closed – perhaps in some education recruitment/Australian university representative role. 
A recent internet search revealed that he had died – it seems that his circumstances were not good. The Chinese funeral services website indicated that Lynton was an ‘unclaimed corpse’. His family appear to be aware of this.  I know Lynton was a very heavy smoker and the translation of his cause of death said ‘infectious multiple organ dysfunction syndrome’ and that he died in the Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital in Guangzhou. As far as I can tell, he died alone in a foreign country, which is sad.
I don’t know much about his Naval record.  From the internet, I know that Lynton was a JR, and was in the 13th intake (Oct 1965) Marks Division at HMAS Leeuwin. (Lynton was born in Adelaide and his elder brother Desmond also seems to have joined the Navy.) After graduation and up until 1970, he was a Naval Airman Meteorological Observer mainly on the HMAS Duchess and was in Vietnam twice.  Interestingly, Lynton appears in a Navy PR photo (see above).
I don’t know when he left the Navy, although records seem to indicate he signed up for 12 years, so that would be 1965-1977.  I seem to recall he spent some time in Malaysia after the Navy in the construction industry, and later driving taxis in Adelaide as well as various other business ventures.  He appears to have returned to Adelaide, his hometown, around 1990.
I would be interested in any further information about Lynton.  I am not family- I was just a friend for a short time –  but he deserves our respect being an ex-serviceman and Vietnam veteran.”