Image: Simon Cocksedge

Graham Sloper passed away on the evening of 4 December 2016.

Although not of the Fleet Air Arm directly, he was a good friend to it and served as Commanding Officer of HMAS Albatross in his final posting in the permanent Navy.

Graham joined the Royal Australian Naval College at age 16 where his affinity for boats was demonstrated by his winning single handed sailing and sculling championships culminating in the award of boating colours.  After graduating, he undertook training in HMAS Swan, Britannia Royal Naval College and in HMS Wizard in the West Indies and South America.

His specialisations of diving, mine warfare and antisubmarine warfare were complemented by his sporting activities where he won boxing competitions and represented the RAN at rugby, hockey and water polo, and the RN also in the last two.  He played rugby union and league until the age of 49, being invited to retire from the sport if he wanted promotion to Commodore.

Graham spent 28 years at sea as a Navigation, Diving, Direction and Anti Submarine Warfare Officer before postings as Executive Officer and subsequently in command.  These commands included HMAS Ibis, First Australian Mine Countermeasures Squadron, guided missile destroyer HMAS Perth and  replenishment ship HMAS Success,  including seven months in Gulf War I during which his ship was awarded the prestigious Duke of Gloucester Cup for the most efficient ship in the RAN. Graham’s contribution was recognised with his award as a Member of the Order of Australia.

His shore postings include three in the UK, one in Hawaii, as Director General ADF Recruiting and in command of the RAN Air Station, HMAS Albatross after which, at age 55 and after 39 years service, he transferred to the Reserve List where he served a further 10 years.  Graham also held a Master Class 1 Merchant Navy qualification.

Following his service he became very active in supporting the ADF, both as a Trustee for the ANZAC House Trust and Australian Forces Overseas Fund and in various positions in the RSL, Legacy, Cadets, local schools and the community.  

He leaves behind his wife Dannie and three children.