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After fifty years HMAS Quiberon Australian Navy Cap returned

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SENATOR THE HON. ERIC ABETZ Leader of the Government in the Senate Minister for Employment Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Liberal Senator for Tasmania


4 September 2015

After fifty years HMAS Quiberon Australian Navy Cap returned

A Royal Australian Navy cap has been returned to a Tasmanian who served on HMAS Quiberon from 1962-1964 by Government Leader in the Senate, Senator Eric Abetz.

Roger John Dewar, 73, of Howrah, received the cap at a brief ceremony attended by the Senior Naval Officer in Tasmania LCDR John Kennedy this morning at the Tasmanian Maritime Museum where Mr Dewar works as a volunteer.

The cap was discovered by Robert Musker of Massachusetts in the USA who found it in his basement.

Mr Musker’s former brother in law Ray Silvia had served as an electricians mate aboard the USS Chipola and had swapped his cap with the RAN sailor Roger Dewar when their paths crossed some 53 years ago.

Mr Musker searched online for an Australian official who may be able to help him locate the cap’s owner. After coming across his website, he made contact with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Warren Truss MP to whom he sent the cap.

After an extensive search by staff in Mr Truss’s office, and the realisation that the middle initial inside the cap was a J not an L as previously thought, the Office was eventually able to locate the owner - Mr Roger Dewar of Howrah in Tasmania.

Mr Truss said he was delighted to be able to assist in seeking out the owner and ensure that the cap was returned safely to its owner.

Senator Abetz said he was honoured to be able to help by being the courier bringing the cap back to Tasmania and having the honour of assisting in returning the cap to its original owner, Mr Dewar.

“I’m sure if the cap could speak it would have an interesting tale to tell,” Senator Abetz said.

Mr Dewar was extremely surprised and pleased to have his cap returned after 53 years.

He was also surprised that of all the politicians Mr Musker could have contacted, he contacted Mr Truss, who Mr Dewar had met in Kingaroy, Queensland many years ago when Mr Truss was the local Mayor.

In fact this story is full of remarkable coincidences.

Roger Dewar served aboard HMAS Quiberon in the Asia Pacific from 1962 to 1964.

John F Kennedy was the President of the United States from 1961 to 1963. Kennedy had served on Patrol Boats in the Pacific during World War 2.

Roger Dewar and Ray Silvia were both on active service in the Asia Pacific as Kennedy dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. This would have been a hell of a time to be serving on a warship.

They would have also been aboard their respective ships when just on a year later JFK was assassinated.

Roger Dewar’s cap was found after 53 years in a Massachusetts basement. John F Kennedy was a Senator from Massachusetts.

And today Mr Dewar’s cap is being presented to him by the Senior Navy Officer in Tasmania - Lieutenant Commander John Kennedy.

“A remarkable story with a remarkable ending,” Senator Abetz concluded.

Mr Dewar and Mr Musker remain in contact.

Media contact: David Allender 0457590881