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R.A.N. officers share salvage money

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Navy Public Relations.



j·; The Minister for the Navy, Senator Gorton, said today

that two Royal Australian Navy Officers would share in the biggest ~

salvage award made to the Admiralty. f .

He said the salvage money, amounting to one-hundred-

thousand pounds, was a sequel to the salvaging of two oil tankers

in the Arabian Sea by ships of the Royal Navy in 1958.

Two Royal Australian Navy Officers', who were on exchange «· !

duty with the Royal Navy, played a prominent part in the salvage

operations* They are Lieutenant-Commander Colin Wheatley,"now

serving at Navy Officer in Canberra, and Lieutenant Donald Weil,

at present stationed at H.M.A.S. ALBATROSS, Nowra, New South Wales.

Brisbane is the home-town of both officers. Lieutenant-Commander

Wheatley will receive about £160, while Lieutenant Weil will receive


The two officers were serving aboard the aircraft carrier

H.M.S. BULWARK, when the Liberian tanker MELIKA collided with the

French tanker, FERNAND GILABERT, BULWARK'S helicopter squadron,

under the command of Lieutenant-Commander Wheatley, ran a ferry

service of men and fire-fighting equipment to the two burning

tankers, Lieutenant-Commander Wheatley lowered his fellow

Australian, Lieutenant Weil, on to the deck of tAe blazing and

abandoned MELIKA, where Lieutenant Weil took command of the fire­

fighting party.

In recognition of its work, the helicopter squadron was

awarded the Boyd Trophy, the premier award of the Fleet Air Arm. It

was the first time that a squadron commanded by other than a Royal

Navy officer had received the award.

Canberra. 21st October, I960,