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H.M.A.S. Voyager, loss of - Cabban, Peter Thomas - Statement of, and matters incidental thereto - Report of Royal Commissioners


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, THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF/ AUSTRALIA

1968-Parliamentary Paper No. I

Royal Commissions Act 1902-1966

REPORT OF

ROYAL COMMISSIONERS

ON THE STATEMENT OF

LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER CABBAN

AND MATTERS INCIDENTAL

THERETO

THE HONOURABLE SIR STANLEY BURBURY, K.B .E. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Tasmania Chairman

THE HONOURABLE KENNETH WILLIAM ASPREY A Judge of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales Commissioner

THE HONOURABLE GEOFFREY ARTHUR GEORGE LUCAS A Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland Commissioner

MR R. H. WINEBERG Secretary

SYDNEY, 1 FEBRUARY 1968

Presented by Command and ordered to be printed 13 March 1968

BY AUTHORITY :

A. J. ARTHUR, COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT PRINTER

CANBERRA: 1968

967

Printed in Australia by the Commonwealth Government Printer , Canberra

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Pages

PART A-INTRODUCTORY 3

Section (I)-Public Notification of Sittings of the Royal Commission 3

Section (2)-Procedure 3

(a) Sittings in Public 3

(b) Mode of Taking Evidence . . 3

(c) Application of the Rules of Evidence . 5

(d) The Standard of Proof of the Allegations . 6

Section (3)-Representation of Parties by Counsel . 9

Section (4)-Dates of Sittings 9

PART B-THE SCOPE OF THE INQUIRY AS DEFINED BY THE TERMS OF REFERENCE . 10

(a) Term of Reference 1 10

(b) Term of Reference 2 11

(c) Term of Reference 3 11

PART C-THE OFFICERS AND RATINGS OF H.M.A.S. VOYAGER ON THE FAR EASTERN CRUISE. BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE CRUISE AND OF THE MOVE-MENTS OF 'VOYAGER' UP TO 10 FEBRUARY 1964 12

(1) The Officers 12

(2) Ratings 15

(3) Voyager's Far Eastern Cruise and her Later Movements up to the Collision 15

PART D-THE CABBAN STATEMENT 19

Section (I)-General Description 19

Section (2)-Its Status for the Purposes of the Inquiry 19

Section (3)-The Immediate Origin of the Cabban Statement 19

Section (4)-The Extent to which Cabban Made Known his Allegations at the Time of the Royal Commission on the Loss of Voyager and their then Relevance. The Circum­ stances which Later Led Cabban and Captain Robertson to Regard the Allegations as Having Greater Significance 23

Section (5)-The Interpretation of the 'Cabban Statement'. The Extent to which at the Inquiry Cabban Maintained the Truth of the Allegations 32

(a) Preliminary 32

(b) The Allegations as to Seamanship . 33

(c) The Allegations as to Drinking Habits (generally) 35

(d) Comments on Specific Paragraphs of the 'Cabban Statement' and Summary of Cabban's Own Evidence in Relation Thereto 36

(e) Summary 46

PART E-TERM OF REFERENCE 1 47

Section (!}-Introduction 47

Section (2)-Detailed Collation of the Material Evidence and Findings of the Primary Facts in Relation to the Late Captain Stevens' Drinking Habits and Occasions of Illness . 62

(a) Introductory 62

(b) Evidence and Findings of Fact Relating to Specific Ports and Stages of the Cruise (in chronological order) . . 63

(c) General Evidence as to Captain Stevens' Drinking Habits and Condition of Health During the Far Eastern Operational Cruise 119

(d) General Evidence as to Captain Stevens' Sobriety when Voyager was in Harbour and his Efficient Performance of his Official and Social Duties . . . 126

(e) Summary of Primary Findings of Fact as to Drinking Habits and Occasions of Illness 128

Section (3)-The Night of 10 February 1964-Alleged Consumption by the Late Captain Stevens of a Glass of Brandy and Water about One Hour and a Half Before the Collision . . . . . 130

Section (4)-The Character and Credit of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 139 Section (5}--Review of Findings of Primary Facts . 145

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Pages

Section (6)- Conclusions upon the Issue of Unfitness to Retain Command of Voyager . Answer to Question 1 of the Terms of Reference 152

Section (7)-Findings of Fact in Relation 10 Seamanship Incidents 158

PART F-TERM OF REFERENCE 2 (a) 162

Section (I)--Whether the a val Board Knew or Ought to Have Known of Any of the Allegations in the 'Cabban Statement' 162

Section (2)-Whether Any of the Naval Medical Officers or Other Officers Serving in the avy Failed to Report Knowledge of Any of the Cabban Allegations 164

(a) The aval Medical Officers . 164

(b) Other Officers Serving in the Navy . 170

Section (3)-Captain Stevens' Failure to Disclose to the Naval Authorities his Inter-mittent Occasions of Illness 174

PART G- TERM OF REFERE CE 2 (b) 175

Section (I)--The Scope of the Inquiry Under 2 (b) 175

Section (2)--The Basic Approach to the Investigation of the Cause of the Collision. The Relation of the Finding of Captain Stevens' Unfitness to Retain Command of Voyager to Sir John Spicer's Findings 177

Section (3)-The Essential Findings Made by Sir John Spicer J 80

Section (4)- A Deta iled Examination of Sir John Spicer's Findings and Views Relating to the Cause and Circumstances of the Collision 182

(a) the Rejection by Sir John Spicer of Captain Robertson's •s econd Theory' of the Cause of the Coliision 182

(b) An Examination of Possi ble Explanations why Voyager Came on a Collisi on Course with Melbourne 189

(c) The Cause of the Collision . 196

(d) Sir John Spicer's Criticism of Captain Robertson 202

{e) Sir John Spicer's Criticism of Acting Commander Kelly 209

(f) Sir John Spicer's Criticism of Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate 210

(g) Conclusions as to Variations wh ich Ought to be Made in Sir John Spicer's Findings 2 12

PART H- TERM OF REFERENCE 3 21 5

PART I-SOME G ENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS 219

(I) The Adequacy of avy Medical procedures in Relation to Periodic Examination of aval Officers 219

(2) Whether Some Modification in the Heavy Social Obligations Imposed on aval Officers Visiting Ports on an Operational Cruise is Desirable and Practicable 220 (3) Whether R.A.N. Ships Should be 'Dry' . 220

PART I-SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL FINDINGS 222

PART K-ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 230

APPENDICES

A-CLASSIFIED LIST OF WITNESSES AI

(1) Naval Officers and Ratings who served in H.M.A.S. Voyager during the period 2 January 1963-10 February 1964. (Ranks are shown as of date of giving evidence or of retirement from R .A.N.) AI

(2) Other Naval Officers and Ratings A2

(3) Non-Naval Witnesses A3

B-AFFIDA VITS A4

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Pages

C-AlPHABETICAL LIST OF STATEMENTS INCLUDED IN EXHIBIT 60A AS

D-UST OF EXHIBITS . A6

ITEMS MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION Al3

£-ALPHABETICAL LIST OF STATEMENTS INCLUDED IN EXHIBIT 60 A14

F-COPY OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT' IN NUMBERED PARAGRAPHS AS REFERRED TO IN EVIDENCE . Al7

G-A CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF THE ACTIVITIES OF CAPTAIN STEVE S, THE MOVEMENTS OF VOYAGER AND THE EVENTS OF THE OPERATIONAL CRUISE FROM 2 JANUARY 1963 to 10 FEBRUARY 1964 . A23

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EXPLANATORY NOTES

1. THE LENGTH OF THE REPORT

We are conscious that the Report is a very long one, particularly Part E relating to Term of Reference 1. This is inevitable having regard to the fact that the sweeping generalisations in the 'Cabban Statement' as to the late Captain Stevens' drinking habits upon which this Royal Commission of Inquiry was based involved

detailed consideration of a mass of evidence dealing with Captain Stevens' activities almost day by day from January 1963 up to the night of the disaster on 10 February 1964. This is not (as often is the case) an Inquiry into a single incident or several incidents. It is an Inquiry into a multiplicity of incidents each requiring detailed consideration. And the Inquiry by no means began and ended with the collation of the mass of factual evidence called and the making of detailed findings of fact. Our task was made immeasurably more complex by the continuing necessity to interpret · the objective facts (as we found them to be) in

the light of Captain Stevens' medical history and of a variety of background circumstances and to relate the objective facts as so interpreted to the ultimate issue of unfitness to retain command under Term of Reference 1. All this involved the Commissioners in concentrated work by day and by night over a period beginning early in July 1967 and continuing with little remission until the end of January 1968 (including eighty-five actual sitting days). Unfortunately, soon after

the hearing of the evidence concluded the Honourable Mr Justice Lucas became unable through ill health to continue to sit, but up until that time he worked continuously with us in collating and assessing the evidence as it was given day by day.

We refer to the long and arduous task that this Inquiry set us not, of course, by way of complaint, but to emphasise that the length and complexity of our Report is but a reflection of the length and complexity of the Inquiry itself. And having regard to the national importance of this Inquiry and the public interest in it we have taken the view that our duty requires us to set out in the Report in detail the material evidence on which we have relied and the reasons which have led us to our ultimate conclusions. After much anxious consideration we felt

that it would not be right for us to take the easier course of stating our findings without making public our detailed reasons.

We would also explain that for the sake of clarity and the easier under­ standing of the issues involved we have divided our Report into several Parts and Sections which we have endeavoured, as far as possible, to make intelligible and self-contained within themselves. This has inevitably resulted in considerable repetition of passages from the evidence and of our findings of fact and opinions

(particularly as between Sections 1, 2 and 5 of Part E). The reader of the Report will appreciate that we have had to look at the evidence from several different aspects and we believe that the scheme of the Report we have adopted conduces to a clearer understanding of the issues involved, without the reader being con­ stantly beset by multitudinous cross references which otherwise would have been inevitable. Some cross referencing bas been necessary but we have endeavoured to keep it to a minimum.

We have, however, for easy reference included several summaries of certain sections of the Report and set out in Part J a concise summary of all our

principal findings.

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2. REFERENCES TO RANKS OF OFFICERS, RATINGS AND OTHERS To avoid confusion we have disregarded promotions and resignations and changes of occupation of Naval Officers, ratings and others since 10 February 1964. All references to respective ranks and occupations are therefore to those obtaining during the Far Eastern Operational Cruise of Voyager.

3. REFERENCES TO TRANSCRIPT OF EVIDENCE References to page numbers (except where otherwise stated) are to the transcript of the evidence taken upon our Inquiry. References to page numbers of the tran­ script of the evidence taken before the first Royal Commission of Inquiry on the loss of Voyager are given as 'Page--Voyager 1 '.

4. REFERENCES TO SIR JOHN SPICER'S REPORT For the sake of brevity we have referred to the Report of the Honourable Sir John Spicer dated 13 August 1964 following on the Royal Commission on the loss of Voyager as the 'Spicer Report'.

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973

ROYAL COMMISSION

OF INQUIRY INTO A STATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT­ CABBAN AS TO THE DRINKING HABITS AND

SEAMANSHIP OF THE LATE CAPTAIN D. H. STEVENS, R. A.N., AND MATTERS INCIDENTAL THERETO

REPORT

TO H is Excellenc y Richard Gardiner, Baron Casey , a member of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Member of the Order of Companions of Honour, Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, upon whom has been

conferre d the Decoration of the Military Cross , Knight of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Commonwealth of Australia :

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY

WHEREAS by Letters Patent, dated the 31st day of May, 1967, under the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of Australi a, His E xcellency Lie utenant-General Sir .Edric Montague Bas tyan, Knight Commander of the Most Disti nguished Order o( Sai nt Michael and Saint George, Knight Commander of the R oyal Victorian

Order, Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Companion of the Most H onourable Order of the Bath, Knight of th e Most Venerable Order of Sai nt John of Jerusalem, Administrator of the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, issued a Commission appointing us to ge th er with

the Honourable Geoffr ey Arthur George Lucas, a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland to be Commissioners to inquire into and report upon the followin g ma tters, th at is to say :

1. Whether any of the allegations made by Lieutenant-Commander P. T. Cabban in th e document attached to the Letters Patent regarding the drinking habits and se amanship of Captain D. H. Steve ns we re true and being true established that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command of H .M.A.S. V oyager?

2 . If it is found in answer to Question 1 th at Capta in Stevens was un fi t to re tain command of H .M.A.S. Voyager

(a) Did the Naval Board know or ought they to have known of such unfitness to retain command and were they at fault in fai ling to relieve him of command?

(b) Should the findings made in the report of the Roya l Commission relating to the loss of H .M.A.S. Voyager be varied, and if so , in what respects?

3. Whether the allegations in the document disclosed evidence which was available to counsel assisting the R oyal Commission and was improperly withheld fro m the R oyal Commission?

975

AND WHEREAS the said Geoffrey Arthur George Lucas became unable, by reason of ill health, to continue to act with us as a Commissioner on and from 10 November 1967 AND WHEREAS by Letters Patent, dated 13 November 1967, Your Excellency gave us full authority to proceed with the said inquiry notwithstanding the inability of the said Geoffrey Arthur George Lucas to continue to act as a Commissioner. NOW in pursuance and execution of the said Letters Patent dated 31 May 1967 and 13 November 1967 respectively WE YOUR

COMMISSIONERS having duly inquired into the several matters aforesaid have the honour to report to Your Excellency as follows:

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PART A-INTRODUCTORY

SECTION 1-PUBLIC NOTIFICATION OF SITTINGS OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION

Public notification of the appointment of the Royal Commission and the time and place of its formal opening, and requesting any person who desired to place relevant facts before the Commission, to notify the Secretary of the Commission or the Deputy Commonwealth Crown Solicitor, was given by notices prominently

displayed in all leading Australian newspapers on 10 June 1967. Public notifica­ tion was similarly given on 15 July 1967 of the time and place of the Sittings of the Commission to take evidence. A third notice was published on 26 October 1967 stating that the hearing of evidence was drawing to a conclusion and inviting

submission of any further material immediately. This was to ensure that a full and final opportunity would be afforded to bring any relevant evidence before the Commission. A notice of the place and time of each sitting of the Commission was also published each sitting day in the Law List in the Sydney Morning Herald

and The Australian.

SECTION 2-PROCEDURE

(a) SITTINGS IN PUBLIC

The Commission sat in the Commonwealth Industrial Court No. 3 and the Com­ monwealth Bankruptcy Court No. 2 at 119 Phillip Street, Sydney. Its sittings were open to the public at all times with the exception of a few brief sessions held in private chambers for the purpose of hearing argument as to the admissibility of evidence. No evidence was heard in camera, but we thought it desirable from

time to time to exercise our powers under Section 6o (3.) of the Royal Commis­ sions Act 1902-1966 to direct that certain evidence and the contents of certain documents be not published.

(b) MODE OF TAKING EVIDENCE

By Sections 2 and 3 of the Royal Commissions Act 1902-1966, Royal Com­ missioners are armed with coercive powers to subpoena witnesses and send for documents and to take evidence on oath, and it has become customary for them to inform themselves almost exclusively by sworn testimony. It is clear, however, that there is no legal impediment to Royal Commissioners informing their minds

by whatever means they think best. The position was well put by Henchman /. in McCormack v. Campbell and Others (1930) St.R.Qd. 228 at p. 251-In the first place, whatever may be the position when some new Court or tribunal is created by statute, and the statute goes on to provide that such court or tribunal

'may' examine witnesses on oath, it does not, in my opinion, follow that the grant of an additional power to Royal Commissions, which previously could act as they pleased within the limits of the law, to administer oaths, necessarily implies that they are in all cases to proceed by way of sworn testimony only, much less that they are in all cases to proceed according to the rules of evidence applicable as between parties

before tribunals having by law or consent of the parties power to determine civil or criminal issues as between them. On the contrary, in my opinion it remains for the Royal Commission, which knows no parties, and is merely deputed to ascertain the truth as best it may, to prosecute its inquiries in the manner it thinks best, and to gather information, if it so desi res, by means other than sworn testimony.

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ln Ex-parte Walker ( 1924) 24 N .S. W. S.R. 604 at p. 615 Ferguson / .

referring to the extent of the right of a Royal Commission to inquire, said:

If the Crown wishes to be informed about any matter, it has the right to appoint somebody to make inquiry and obtain the information, and it has always done so. From time immemorial it has been the practice of the Crown to appoint persons to enquire into suspected crimes. Every policeman has the right a nd the duty to make such inquiries; he may ask anybody any question he pleases and the person questioned may answer or not as he pleases.

Apart from statute, it seems to me that the position of a Royal Commissioner is exactly the sa me ; his powers are not extended nor are they abridged by the fact that his appointment is made under the Great Seal, or that he is addressed as 'trusty and well-beloved'. The appointment is, I presume, made by Letters Patent in order to mark the importance of the inquiry and to enhance the dignity and authority of the

perso n appoi nted to make it; it constitutes him the trusted agent of the Crown for the purpose of the inquiry.

A tribunal of fact having the duty to inquire into the truth of allegations of the nature of those made in the 'Cabban Statement'-particularly as they are made agaCnst a decease d man-could not be affi rmatively satisfied of their truth otherwise than by direct sworn oral testimony subject to testing by cross­

examination. We did, howeve r, receive evi dence in the form of affidavits and signed statements from witnesses whose ev idence was not contested or where th e cost involved in procuring their personal attendance seemed to us to be dis proportionate to the value of their evidence. Evidence received in th is form was in each case given by us the weight whi ch in all the circumstances we considered it merited.

Counsel assisting us caused extensive and completely exhaustive inquiries to be made from all persons whom Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and others suggested mi ght be able to give material evidence. More than 300 potential wi tnesses were interviewed or information was obtained from them by letter. In most cases signed statements were obtained. In the case of witnesses who had given statements

but whose evidence did not appear to us to be material the course was taken of assembling their statements in one file (marked as Exhibit No. 60) and giving all Counsel full opportunity to submit to us that any of them should be called. As a res ult of submissions made some of these witnesses were called. In the case of some others their statements were transferred to a file marked as Exhibit 60A

and it was agreed that we should treat these statements as non-contested evi denti ary material.

Appendix A contains a classified list of all witnesses who gave sworn oral test imony before us.

Appendix B contains a list of th e witnesses whose evidence was given by Affidavit.

Appendix C contains a list of witnesses whose signed statements were included in Exhibit 60A and received as uncontested evidentiary material.

Appendix D contains a list of all Exhibits tendered during the hearing.

Appendix E contains a list of witnesses (other than those included in Appendix C) from whom statements were taken, but who were not called (Exhibit 60).

Appendix F comprises a copy of the 'Cabban Statement' divided into numbered paragraphs as referred to in the evidence before us and in this Report.

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(c) APPLICATION OF THE RULES OF EVIDENCE

Royal Commissioners have no judicial power to determine issues as between parties or to make any findings directly affecting rights. Their opinions are but 'administrative opinions'. (Fletcher v. Nott 60 C.L.R. 55 at p. 81). They can make 'no determination carrying legal consequences'. (McGuinness v. A.G. of Vic­

.toria 63 C.L.R. 73 at p. 102). 'Their activities and reports (i.e. of Commissions) may in a loose sense affect subjects detrimentally but have no effect upon th eir legal rights and duties' (ibid at p. 90). As Royal Commissioners sit in an adminis­ trative capacity only, it follows that there is no foundation for the application of

the rules of evidence which are binding upon judicial tribunals. In McCormack v. C ampbell and Others (1930) St.R.Qd. 228 at p. 250, Henchman J. said: o authority was shown to us to indicate that it (i.e. a Royal Commission of Inquiry ) was, a t common law, in a ny way expected or bound to pursue its inquiries according

to any legal rules of evidence. Its sole duty, in my opinion, is to inquire, within the limits of the authority committed to it by the Executive, into the subject matter of the inquiry, to get information as and how it thought best, and to make its report

accordingly. Nor did such inquiry entail any lega l con8equences to any person interested in the subject matt6r. The matter ended, so far as the Commission was concerned, with the presentation of the Report, and the Executive might, or might not, thereupon decide to take action ...

From time to time during the course of the proceedings it became necessary for us to consider the extent to which we would receive hearsay or second hand evidence relevant to the subject matter of our Inquiry. In approaching this problem we were not, of course, concerned in any way with the technical rules relating t0

hearsay evidence; but we were concerned to consider whether certain classes of hearsay or second hand evidence could properly be received as being entitled to any weight. We adopted the same general approach to this problem as did the Royal Commissioners in the Petrov Inquiry and we would with respect cite with

approval the following extracts from their Report: 199. In our Inquiry, which is merely investigative, the rules concerning the admissibility of evidence do not apply; the only barrier to admissibili ty of evidence is irrelevance. In con­ sequence, we have before us relevant hearsay evidence; and we must take cognizance of it

and give it its proper weight

203. The layman's phrase, 'Hearsay is no evidence' is not a correct statement of the law. The true legal rule according to our common law system is that in judicial proceedings between parties hearsay, except in certain circumstances, is not admissible in evidence. When hearsay e vidence is tendered by one party the other party is entitled to object to its admission and

so to have it excluded from the body of evidence to be considered by the tribunal of fact. The law does not say that hearsay evidence has no weight, no probative value; it merely rrevents the tribunal from considering it. 204. This rule against admissibility is a technica l rule of our common law, and even at com­

mon law there a re important exceptions to it. It is generally accepted that it was evolved eariy in our common law courts, mainly beca use then the onl y authorized tribunal of fact was the jury and it was thought to be too dangerous to entrust to such a tribunal the

eva lu atio n of the weight of hearsay evidence.

2 :15. Bu t in judicial proceedings the party having the right to object to the admission of hea rsay may waive his right by not objecting Gilbert v Endean, (LR. 9 Ch.D . 259); or the evidence, though hearsay, may be admi ssible under some supervening rule of procedure as in Walk er v Walker (57 C.LR. 630), where a document though providing only hearsay evidence, was admitted, following the rule that if a party calls for and gets a document from his

o pponent the latter is entitled to have it put in evidence. 206. Jn such circumstances the barrier of inadmissibility has been surmounted and in fact the tribunal has before it hearsay evidence. According to li:!w, the tribunal then has the power and the duty of giving to the hearsay evidence such probative force as its nature and the

5

circumstances warrant, as was decided by the High Court in Walker v Walker (supra). The principle is there enunciated by Dixon J. at p. 636, and by Evatt J. at p. 638, and is well recognized. (See also Wigmore on Evidence, 3rd Edn. 321). A tribunal of fact must accord to hearsay evidence before it the guarded credence which is given to it by reasonable men in dealing with substantial affairs in everyday life.

As we have already said, the truth of the allegations in the 'Cabban State­ ment' could only be established to the satisfaction of a tribunal of fact upon the sworn oral testimony of witnesses who could give direct evidence of the facts and whose evidence was subject to testing by cross-examination. We therefore for the most part excluded hearsay or second hand evidence which related directly to the

allegations in the 'Cabban Statement'. As will later appear, the statement is composed of a mixture of direct observations by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban, hearsay and mere impression. We accordingly limited Lieutenant-Commander Cabban's evidence in chief to matters within his personal observation and excluded any evidence he might have been able to give as to what others told him about the late Captain Stevens' conduct.

Persons who, according to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban, had made state­ ments to him concerning the late Captain Stevens' conduct gave evidence before us. After their evidence had been given we permitted Lieutenant-Commander Cabban to be recalled to give his account of what they had told him. This evidence was received not, of course, as original evidence of the facts but as relevant to the credit of those witnesses and of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban.

It may perhaps be desirable to refer to the exclusion of one specific piece of hearsay evidence. In a statement supplied by the mother of a young rating who died at the time of the Voyager disaster, she referred to a letter written to her by her son a few weeks before the disaster in which he made a statement of a highly prejudicial nature relating to the drinking habits of the late Captain Stevens. Counsel assisting us made extensive ·inquiries from survivors of the disaster and from others to see if any corroboration could be found of this statement, but none

was forthcoming. It takes little reflection to understand why, in the absence of any corroboration by direct sworn testimony, we felt unable to treat this statement as having any evidentiary value. It would, of course, be unthinkable that any tribunal of fact could make an adverse finding on a serious allegation against a deceased man on the basis of an untested piece of second hand evidence of this kind.

(d) THE STANDARD OF PROOF OF THE ALLEGATIONS

The very nature of the Inquiry upon which we have embarked (including, in particular, the fact that we are not bound by the rules of evidence applicable to litigious proceedings) raises the question as to the degree of satisfaction which we should feel before we could safety conclude that any of the allegations into which we are inquiring have been established. In weighing the evidence which we have received for the purpose of informing ourselves as to the matters into which we were directed to inquire, we thought it essential for us to bear in mind the following matters:

( 1 ) The proceedings, in execution of the Letters Patent directed to us, are neither criminal nor civil litigation in which the law has established well recognized rules relating to the onus of proof and the degrees of satisfac­ tion which the appropriate tribunal of fact should feel in making its

findings .

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(2) The allegations into which we are inquiring were not formulated by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban with the precision to be found in a criminal charge or civil statement of claim, but were dictated by him into a tape-recorder in January 1965 'straight through from memory' without

any prior note or preparation or without reference to any documentary or other material to refresh his memory.

.

Furthermore, in dictating the statement, Lieutenant-Commander Cabban made no distinction between matters within his own observation and matters which came to him as the result of statements made to him by third persons.

The circumstances in which the 'Cabban Statement' was dictated are referred to in detail in Part D Section 3 of this Report. (3) Certain of the allegations involve charges of a most serious character against the captain of a ship of the Royal Australian Navy and are in one

sense analogous to allegations of 'infamous conduct' in a professional respect (cf. Haile v. The Medical Board of South Australia 104 C.L.R. 157; Re Anderson and the Medical Practitioners Act 85 N.S.W.W.N. (Pt 1) 558 at pp. 579-587). But they go much further because they touch not only the personal character and conduct of the captain but involve matters

(i) which relate to the safety of one of Her Majesty's destroyers and its crew of some three hundred men (ii) which would reflect discreditably upon the Royal Australian Navy, and (iii) which would be likely to expose the captain concerned to a court-

martial and punishment of the utmost severity. No doubt it is sufficient if the affirmative of any of the allegations is made out to our reasonable satisfaction. But in the words of Dixon J. (as he then was) in Briginshaw v. Briginshaw and Another 60 C.L.R. 336 at

361-362: .. (a)n opinion that a state of facts exists may be held according to indefinite gradations of certainty . . . reasonable satisfaction is not a state of mind that is attained or established independently of the nature and consequence of the fact or facts to be proved. The seriousness of an allegation made, the inherent unlikelihood

of an occurrence of a given description, or the gravity of the consequences flowing from a particular finding are considerations whlch must affect the answer to the question whether the issue bas been proved to the reasonable satisfaction of the tribunal. In such matters, 'reasonable satisfaction' should not be produced by inexact proofs,

indefinite testimony, or indirect inferences.

The words of Morris LJ. in Hornal v. Neuberger Products Ltd (1957) 1 Q.B. 247 at pp. 266-267 are most apt to the present case: In English law the citizen is regarded as being a free man of good repute. Issues may be raised in a civil action which affect character and reputation, and these will not be

forgotten by judges and juries when considering the probabilities in regard to whatever misconduct is alleged. There will be reluctance to rob any man of his good name: there will also be reluctance to make any man pay what is ncit due or to make any man liable who is not or not liable who is. A court will not be deterred from a conclusion

because of regret at its consequences: a court must arrive at such conclusion as is directed by the weight and preponderance of the evidence.

( 4) The man against whom allegations of this nature have been made, the late Captain D. H. Stevens, died in the collision between H.M.A.S.

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9 8 1

Melbourne and H.M.A.S. Voyager on 10 February 1964, and thus the very subject of the charges made has not been heard in their rebuttal. This situation raises difficulties of an especially unusual nature in the present case which quite exceed the impediment (which, for instance, existed in England prior to the Criminal Evidence Act 189 8) against an accused person giving evidence in his own defence. The late Captain Stevens cannot supply the legal advisers who have represented the St evens fa mily interests in this inquiry with a detailed account of his whereabouts and activities on many relevant occasions and the names of such persons as might be able to corroborate him; he can have no opportunity to present in person his own version of the various incidents and submit his claim to veracity to cross-examination; and the very nature of the allegations relating to the effects upon him of an excessive consumption of alcohol are on so many vital occasions compounded with the question of

his personal health and its subjective aspects of pain, nausea, fatigue, etc. of which, in the absence of a proper medical examination on the relevant occasions , only the person affected can speak. The result is that those who on his behalf contested the allegations were faced with the most formidable restrictions.

Where a claim is made against the estate of a deceased person it is a rule of practice, but not a rule of law, for a tribunal of fact not to act

upon the uncorroborated testimony of the claimant unless the tribunal is convinced that such te stimony is true. In the case of In re Hodgson, Beckett v. Ramsdale, L.R. 31 Ch.D. 177 Sir James Hannen, with the concurrence of Bowen and Fry L.JJ., at p. 183 said : The statement of a li vi ng ma n is not to be disbelieved because there is no corrobora­ tion , a lthough in the necessary absence death of one of the parties to the

transaction, it is natural that in considering the statement of the survivor we should look for corroboration in support of it ; but if the evidence given by the li ving m an brings conviction to the tribunal which has to try the question, then there is no rule of law which prevents that conviction being acted upon.

With reference to a si milar situation Isaacs and Powers fl. in Matthews and Others v. Matthews 17 C.L.R. 8 said at p . 34 : . .. (i)n addition to the ordinary onus of establishing an affirmative allegation, the Court must bear in mind the weaknesses and temptations of human nature, and, in the

absence of the only person who could contradict or explain the cl ai mant's version, should, as a matter of prudence, displ ay very great care in testing and examining his evidence and should cautiously require such light, and look for such corroboration, as in the circumstances of the case one wo uld reasonably expect to find.

(See also Rawlinson v. Scholes 79 L.T. 350). We believe that the circumstances of th e present inquiry present even a st ronger case for the application of similar principles.

Paying due regard, therefore, to the fact that we have received evidence at different stages by a relaxation of the stricter rules of evidence which obtain in either criminal or civil litigation and to each of the matters referred to in paragraphs ( 1 ) to ( 4) above, we have no doubt that in reporting upon the first question

submitted to us : ( a) We should not regard any of the allegations made by Lieutenant­ Commander Cabban in the document attached to the Letters Patent as having of themselves any evidentiary value except so far as the y are

supported by his direct sworn testimony.

8

\b) We should look for such satisfactory corroboration of each allegation as, having regard to the nature of the allegation, should reasonably be expected to be available, and (c) Where satisfactory corroboration is not to be found we should scrutinise

and weigh the evidence ve ry carefully before we arrive at a conclusion that any such allegation has been established to our reasonable satisfaction. As to questions 2(a) and 3, aithough the death of Captain Stevens has not the same impact upon the inquiry as in answering the first question, nevertheless, the seriousness of the matters referred to in them makes applicable the principles by which reasonable satisfaction should be attained to which Sir Owen Dixon re­ fe rred in the passage from Briginshaw v. Briginshaw (supra) which we have quoted

above. Question 2 (b) raises special difficulties in relation to proof and these we will deal with when we come to that question itself.

SECTION 3-REPRESENTATION OF PARTIES BY COUNSEL The first public sitting of the Commission was held in Sydney on 13 June 1967. On that day Mr F. T . P. Burt, Q.C., and Mr P. Jeffrey (instructed by Mr H. E . Renfree, the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor) announced that they had been

briefed to assist the Commission. The following Counsel were given leave to appear before us: Mr W. P. Ash, Q.C. , and Mr J. B. Sinclair (instructed by Dudley Westgarth & Co.) to represent the interests of the family of the late Captain Stevens.

Mr P. Murphy, Q.C., and Mr H. J. H. Henchman (instructed by Mr D. P. Brennan of the Attorney-General's Department, Melbourne) for the Naval Board, its members and their subordinates. Mr J. T. Hiatt, Q.C., and Mr C. A. Porter (instructed by Gordon L. Beard and

McDonald) for Lieutenant-Commander Cabban. Mr R. G. Reynolds, Q.C. , and Mr E. P. T. Raine (instructed by Alfred Rofe & Sons) to represent the interests of Captain R. J . Robertson (who was in com­ mand of M elbourne at the time of the collision) . During the course of the

Inquiry Mr Reynolds was appointed to the Bench of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. On 12 October 1967 Mr G. J. Samuels, Q.C., was given leave to appear with Mr Raine for Captain Robertson. Mr W. H. Gregory (instructed by Aitken and Pluck) to represent the interests

of the widow of the late Lieutenant D. H . M. Price (who was officer of the watch of H.M.A.S. Voyager).

On 5 October 1967 leave was given to Mr A V. Maxwell (instructed by Vickery, Wilson & Parkhill ) to appear and make limited submissions on behalf of a witness one Stanley Cecil Chandler. On 23 October 1967 Mr A Larkins, Q.C., with Mr D. Hunt (instructed by Minter Simpson & Co.) , were given leave to make limited submissions on behalf of

a witness, one Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale, R.N.

SECTION 4-DATES OF SITTINGS

After the formal opening of the Commission on 13 June 1967 the proceedings were adjourned to 18 July 1967. Thereafter the Commission sat almost continuously until 8 December 1967 making in all eighty-five sitting days.

12078 / 68-2 9

983

PART B-THE SCOPE OF THE INQUIRY AS DEFINED BY THE TERMS OF REFERENCE

(a) TERM OF REFERENCE 1

Whether any of the allegations made by Lieutenant-Commander P. T. Cabban in the document atta ched regarding the drinking habits and seamanship of Captain D . H. Stevens were true and being true established that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command of H.M.A.S. Voyager.

\ v'e interpreted this Term of Reference as requiring us to inquire into all the state­ ments in the document relating to the conduct of Captain Stevens (whether of a general or specific character) notwithstanding that not all suc h conduct may strictly be characteri sed as 'drinking habits' or 'seamanship'. No doubt the drafts­

man of Term of Reference 1 used the express ion 'drinking habits and seamanship' as a convenient compendious inclusive description of all the allegations in the document relating to Captain Stevens' conduct, and not as a precise and restrictiw definition.

We also conceived it to be our duty to inquire into a number of matters which appeared to us to be reasonably incidental to the allegations in the document relating to Captain Stevens' conduct. In particular we found it necessary to inquire into the condition of Captain Stevens' health for a period which we thought relevant to the issue of unfitness to retain command under Term of Reference 1

as it emerged in the evidence. It became apparent at an early stage of the hearing th at Captain Stevens' condition as it was said to be from time to time by Lieutenant-Coll).mander Cabban and other witnesses might be wholly or partly explicable by the existence of stomach trouble to which consumption of alcohol may have contributed. The state of Captain Stevens' health therefore became directly relevant to the issue of his 'drinking habits' as a possible consequence of those drinking habits and also as a possible explanation (wholly or in part) of his observed objecti ve conduct or condition from time to time which might otherwise

be thought to have been caused solely by excessive drinking. The inevitable introduction of this factor made the Inquiry immeasurably more complex than we fir st supposed. It meant that the issue as to Captain Stevens' 'drinking habits' was by no mea'!s confined to a simple factual issue as to whether he drank excessively.

As will later appear, although from a perusual of the 'Cabban Statement' one might be forgiven for thinking that its author's purpose in recounting certain navigational incidents was to suggest that Captain Stevens was a reckless ship handler, Lieutenant-Commander Cabban disavowed any intention to suggest that

any of those incidents seriously reflected on Captain Stevens' seamanship. In the event, therefore, we had to consider under the second limb of Term of Reference 1 only the question whether by reason of his drinking habits Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command of Voyager.

The ultimate question we are required to answer by Term of Reference 1 if any of the allegations regarding Captain Stevens' drinking habits are found to be true is whether they established he was 'unfit to retain command of Voyager' . o doubt it is true to say that in Her Majesty's Navy the concept of 'command'

of a warship is indivisible and 'sea command' cannot be isolated from the totality of command. Fitness to retain command in its ordinary sense involves much more than proficiency in seamanship. Essential conditions for the proper discharge of a

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aval Captain's duties when in command of one of Her Majesty's ships are that at all times at sea and ashore be must uphold the dignity and authority of his position and maintain public confidence in the Navy. Conduct which is calculated to undermine his authority and influence in his ship or adversely to affect public co nfidence in him as representing the Navy may render him unfit to retain command notwithstanding that his technical competence may not in any way be

open to doubt. This is not to say that a Captain of a warship is required to be free from all human failings. It is merely to emphasize that an extremely high standard of conduct is to be expected.

(b) TERM OF REFERENCE 2

If it is found in answer to Question 1 that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain com­ man of H .M.A.S. Voyager: (a) Did the Naval Board know or ought they to have known of such unfitness to retai n command and were they at fault in failing to relieve him of command?

(b) Should the findings made in the report of the Royal Commission relating the loss of H .M.A.S. Voyager be varied, and if so, in what respect?

The question to be answered in P aragraph (a) is whether the Naval Board knew or ought to have known of 'such unfitness to command' (i.e. unfitness to command established by adverse findings under Term of Reference 1). Our understanding of what is meant is whether the Naval Board knew or ought to have known of

any of the matters alleged in the 'Cabban Statement' and we have so interpreted it. The Inquiry whether the Board ought to have known of any of these matters (assuming it had no actual knowledge) is no doubt directed to the question whether the Board was in some way in breach of its duty to keep itself informed (e.g. by failing to adopt adequate reporting procedures, by not availing itself of means

of knowledge open to it, or by failing to follo w up information which should have put it on inquiry).

As will appear in the course of this Report, we have also considered whether anyone serving in the Royal Australian Navy who had knowledge of any of these matters and who had a duty to report them to a superior or to the Naval Board, failed to do so. This was considered by us to be reasonably incidental to the

Inquiry, but of course it will be quite apparent that the failure of any such person to perform this duty, can have no relevance in answering Question 2 (a) , and can reflect only upon the individual concerned.

The limits of the inquiry intended to be pursued under Paragraph (b) of Question 2 caused us great difficulty. It will be more convenient for us to deal with the question of the intended scope of the Inquiry under 2 (b) when we come to that question itself.

(c) TERM OF REFERENCE 3

Whether the allegations in the document disclosed evidence which was available to counsel assisting the Royal Commission and was improperly withheld from the Royal Commission?

This poses no difficulty in interpretation.

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PART C-THE OFFICERS AND RATINGS OF H.M.A.S. VOYAGER ON THE FAR EASTERN CRUISE. BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE CRUISE AND OF mE MOVEMENTS OF VOYAGER UP TO 10 FEBRUARY 1964

(I) THE OFFICERS

The late Captain Duncan Herbert Stevens was appointed to command H.M.A.S. Voyager on 2 January 1963. He was then 41 years of age. He entered the Royal Australian Naval College as a Cadet Midshipman on 29 January 1935 and graduated in December 1938. He was appointed Midshipman on I January 1939

and served at sea in H.M.A.S. Canberra for some months, after which he was in the United Kingdom attending courses until December 1 940. During this period he was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant on I September 1940. From December 1940 until March 1952 he served continuously at sea except for two short periods, one of 6 months at H.M.A.S. Cerberus in 1942, and one of 9 months at H.MA.S.

Penguin in 1950. He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in January 1941 , to Lieu­ tenant in December 1942, and to Lieutenant-Commander in December 1950. His first command was H .M.A.S. Kangaroo in 1948, after which he commanded H.M.A.S. Koala in 1949, H.M.A.S. R eserve in 1950 and H.M.A.S Cowra from February 1951 until March I952. He qualified for destroyer command in May 1952.

This long period of almost unbroken sea service was followed by some 3t years service at Naval Depots. From August 1952 to December 1954 he was stationed at H.M.A.S. Tarangau (Manus Island) either in temporary command or as Executive Officer and during this period he was Deputy Naval Officer-in-Charge, North-East Australian Area. During September 1955-June I956 he was in com­ mand of H.M.A.S. Quickmatch. In June 1956 he was promoted to Commander and appointed as Training Commander at H.M.A.S. Cerberus, a post which he occupied for 2 years. In July 1958 he was appointed Executive Officer of H.M.A.S. Melbourne, and from January 1960 until December 1962 he was in the United Kingdom, at first attending the Royal Navy Staff Course at which he qualified in October 1960, and afterwards on exchange service at the Staff of the Admiralty. He arrived back in Sydney by air with his wife on 23 December 1962. On 31 December 1962 he was promoted to Captain, and as we have said on 2 January

1963 took up command of H .M.A.S. Voyager.

Lieutenant-Commander Peter Thomas Cabban was appointed Executive Offi­ cer of H.M.A.S. Voyager on 6 September 1962. He was born on 12 March 1928 and thus attained the age of 35 years in 1963. He entered the Royal Australian Naval College in 1942 and was promoted to Midshipman on his graduation with a second class pass in 1945. He was promoted to Acting Sub-Lieutenant in 1947. After a short period of service ashore in H.M.A.S. Cerberus, he served in ships of the Royal Navy until 1948 when he returned to Australia and was appointed Sub-Lieutenant. He was awarded his Watchkeeping Certificate in 1949. He started training as a pilot in February 1950. After initial training at the Royal Australian Air Force Establishment at Point Cook, he went back to the United Kingdom, where he remained, undergoing further training in flying , until the end of 1951. He then had appointments in Australia as a Naval pilot and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1953. In June 1955, he once more returned to the United Kingdom, where he qualified as a Maintenance Test Pilot, returning to Australia and serving in

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that capacity at H.M.A.S. Albatross until November 1956. At this point of time his flying career came to an end, after an inquiry into an accident to a Gannet trainer, of which he was one of the pilots. He was adjudged to be 'temperamentally unsuited to operational flying' and was posted as a seaman officer to H .M .A.S.

Warramunga in January 1957 and became the Gunnery Officer. During his term of service in H .M.A.S. W arramunga he qualified for command of a destroyer.

In March 1958 he tendered his resignation as a Naval Officer; it was not accepted. There is no doubt that he had been greatly upset by the inquiry which resulted in the end of his career as a pilot; he felt that he had been unfairly treated, and took his complaint to higher authority, with the only apparent result that his flying pay was reinstated to the date when he joined H.M.A.S. W arramunga.

After a year in Warramunga he was posted as Officer-in-Charge of the Jervis Bay Airfiel d, and was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander in March 1958.

In January 1959 he was selected to go to the United Kingdom in order to undertake a course in Work Study; it was intended that he should form the first R.A. . Work Study team and become the Officer-in-Charge of it. He returned to Australia in the middle of 1959, and was engaged in work study activities at H.M.A.S. Cerberus and in H.M.A.S. Melbourne until July 1961, when he was

posted to H.M.A.S. Tobruk, a ship which was then to be brought out of reserve. However, the decision to bring it out of reserve was cancelled, and in October 1961 he was appointed to H .M.A.S. Kuttabul as Executive Officer of H.M.A.S. Sydney : when that ship was brought out of reserve he was her Executive Officer until

September 1962, when he was appointed to H.M.A.S. Voyager as Executive Officer.

Towards the end of 1961 he had, through his work study activities, attracted the attention of the Benevolent Society of N.S.W.: that body had in mind the creation of an establishment to be called the 'Governor Macquarie Foundation', to mark the past century and a half of its existence. It was to be a project in

some ways similar to the Mayo Clinic, and the Society was anx ious that Cabban should undertake its planning. Cabban's attitude on the matter was that first and foremost he wanted a successful career in the Navy; nevertheless he had no objec­ tion to the Society applying to the Navy for his release for this purpose; if the

application were successful it would mean to Cabban that the Navy had no ambitious plans for his future. However, the Society seems to have put it to the Navy rather on the basis of a request for the loan of his services, and this was refused. At the beginning of 1963, Cabban's feelings on the subject of his career

were that, if his name was not included in the list of those to be promoted to the rank of Commander which would be published in June of that year, he would submit his resignation.

So much for the careers of the two principal actors, which it has been necessary to set out in some detail. A briefer reference will now be made to some of the other officers and ratings who served in H .M.A.S. Voyager for all or some of the period under inquiry.

The chief engineering officer was at first , Lieutenant-Commander (also Acting Commander during the cruise) William Henry Money. He held his position on Voyager from 19 January 1963 until 10 August 1963, and was therefore in the ship for the entire period of its cruise to the Far East. He had served before with Captain Stevens ; for a year at H.M.A.S. Tarangau, on Manus Island, where

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Captain Stevens served from August 1952 to December 1954, and later, fo r about a year, at the Naval College between 1956 and 1958. He regarded himself as a friend of Captain Stevens; their families became fairly well acquainted.

Commander Money was succeeded as engineer officer by Lieutenant­ Commander Peter Wilson Coombs, who joined Voyager on 5 August 19 63 , took over from Lieutenant-Commander Money on 10 August 1963 and served in her until the date of the collision, which be survived.

The Supply Officer was Lieutenant-Commander Ian Inglis Blaikie (now retired fro m the Navy), who joined Voyager on 11 December 1961 and served in her until 2 December 1963.

The Navigating Officer was Lieutenant-Commander Scott Griffith, who joined the sh ip in June 1962 and remained until January 1964. He was also the officer­ in-charge of communications. He had not served with Captain Stevens before, and did not know him before joining Voyager.

The Gunnery Officer was Lieutenant David James Martin, who was also the senior Watchkeeping Officer. He jo ined the ship on 10 September 1962, and served until 12 August 1963.

The Gunner (next in charge of the Gunnery department) was Lieutenant Terence Redman, who served from 2 January 1963 until 12 November 1963. He was an officer of great experience, who had at·tained commissioned rank in the Royal Navy from the lower deck, and had later transferred to the Royal Australian Navy.

The Captain's Secretary for part of the period was Lieutenant Christopher Barry Tuke, R.N. who served from 20 August 1963 until the date of the collision which he survived. He was preceded in this appointment by Lieutenant Robert John Wright, R.N. who served in the ship from July 1962 until 12 April

1963 when he became ill and was admitted to hospital at Hong Kong. He did not rejoin the ship. Th e duties of Captain's secretary were then taken over by Sub-Lieutenant R obert Anthony Howland until the arrival of Lieutenant Tuke.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Michael Clifford Tiller (now retired from the Navy) joined Voyager as Medical Officer on 14 January 1963, and served until 15 September 1963, at which time the ship was undergoing a refit at Williamstown Dockyard, and it was considered that a Medical Officer was no longer required.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Allan Leslie Kyd was attached to Voyager as a dental offic er from January 1963 until April 1963; he left the ship while it was at Hong Kong.

Sub-Lieutenant Leslie William Thomas Somerville served as an Electrical Engineering officer from July 1961 until August 1963, as did Lieutenan.t John Reid Face from August 1963 until the date of the collision which he survived. Lieutenant John Edwin Ferrier served as an Engineer Officer between February

1962 and January 1964. Acting Sub-Lieutenant Donald Bruce Chalmers served from January 1963 until September 1963.

All the officers so far mentioned, except Lieutenant Wright, gave evidence before us but it is not necessary to refer in detail to the evidence of all of them. So me officers who served during the. relevant period were of course lost as a result of the collision.

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(2) RATiNGS

We pass now to mention some of the ratings; many of them ga ve evidence and it will be necessary to refer to some of them in more detail elsewhere. The Chief Bosun's Mate, or senior rating on the ship was at the beginning of the period under inquiry Chief Petty Officer John James Morrow. He served

in that capacity until 1 December 1963, when he was succeeded by Chief Felly Officer William Jam es Lloyd, who served until the date of the collision which he survived. Chief Petty Officer Robert William Barker was Chief Communications Yeoman

fro m 7 January 1963 until 9 August 1963. It is perhaps noteworthy that he was Communications Yeoman on H .M.A.S. Melbourne at the time of the collision. The senior steward in the ship was Petty Officer Steward Bruce William Watson, who served from 3 January 1963 until 6 February 1964.

The Captain's steward until 28 November 1963 was Leading Steward N eil Richard Freeman. To assist him he had at various times a rating known as the Captain's cabin hand, Able Seaman Norman John Gardiner, who occupied th is position until the ship reached Hong Kong on the first occasion; he was then

replaced by Able Seaman James Frederick Irvine, who performed these duties until about the end of August 1963. Other stewards who gave ev idence we re Steward Francis Richard Leatherbarrow, Steward Desmond Harold M enkins and Ordinary Steward Andrew Richard Eddy.

The sick berth attendant until August 1963 in Sydney was Sick Berth Attendant Harold Aubert McDonald (now retired from the Navy); he was replaced by Leading Sick Berth Attendant John R ennie Wilson who served until the date of the collision which he survived.

(3) VOYAGER'S FAR EASTERN CRUISE AND HER LATER MOVEMENTS UP TO THE COLLISION

The R.A.N. undertakes to maintain a constant contribution of two escorts, that is, destroyers or frigates, to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve, whi ch is under the command of the Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet, an officer of the R . . Voyager was allocated to this duty from 1 February 1963 until 20 July 1963,

as was also her sister ship, Vampire, a 'Daring' class destroyer comm anded at all material times by Captain Guido James Willis, an officer of the R.A.N. senior in appointment to Captain Stevens. Sea-going ships of the R.A.N. are required to report their proceed ings monthly

to the appropriate administrative authority. The Reports of Proceedings constitute the official diary of the ship's life ; detailed in structions for the compilation of these Reports are laid down in Appendix 29A to th e Naval Regulations and Instr uctions. The Reports are widely distributed; thus, while Voyager was attached to the Strategic Reserve, she distributed copies of the Reports of Proceedings to the Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet (F.O .C.A.F.) (he retained one copy

himself and sent two to the Naval Board) , to the Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet, to the Flag Officer, 2nd in Command, Far East Fleet, and to Vampire, as the senior ship in company. Copies of Voyager's Reports of Proceedings for each month from January

1963 to January 1964 (except that of March 1963) were put in evidence. The Report of Proceedings of March 1963 is missing; the most thorough search and

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inquiry has failed to locate a copy. We are satisfied that no significance, sinister or otherwise, attaches to the failure of the Naval Board to produce it. It could not be imagined in the whole of the circumstances which have been disclosed to us by the evidence that the missing Report of Proceedings of Voyager which had to be signed by Captain Stevens would have contained any confession or admission by him which would have been relevant to the matters investigated by us. The deficiency was to some extent supplied by the production of Vampire's Report of Proceedings for March 1963 (as the two ships were in company) and by certain other documents.

Appendix 29A, to which reference has been made, requires the Reports to include details of places visited during the month, news of ships in company, details of official calls made and received by the Captain, an account of out­ standing incidents or strange occurrences, an account of organised entertainment and recreation, and general remarks on the health, welfare and conduct of the ship's company. Various appendices are attached. A typical Report of Proceed­ ings by Voyager during the period under review consists of a narrative account of the events of the month arranged in divisions of time, a paragraph dealing with health, morale and conduct, and appendices showing ship's movements, distances steamed, exercises and drills carried out, official calls and functions, officers' move­ ments, and sporting events which took place during the month.

The Captain of an Australian warship visiting any port, whether in Australia or overseas, is under an obligation, strictly prescribed by article 1348 of the Naval Regulations and Instructions, to make many official calls, and also to attend many official functions. The performance of this obligation involves an onerous pro­ gramme of official and social activities.

From the Reports of Proceedings, and from the evidence given before us, it is possible to trace in considerable detail the movemen:s of Voyager and of her Captain. It has been necessary to go somewhat m·nutely into events which happened at various times but we append below an abbreviated table of the dates of Voyager's movements during the relevant period.

Date 1963

TABLE OF MOVEMENTS OF H.M.A.S. VOYAGER

Port

31 January 31 J anuary-7 February 7-8 February 8-13 February 13 -25 February 25 February-! March 1-5 March 5-8 March 8-10 March 10-19 March . 19-25 March . 25-29 March . 29 March-15 April . 15-21 April 21-23 April 23-27 April

Left Sydney At sea Darwin At Sea Singapore (First Visit) At Sea Trincomalee (Ceylon) (First Visit) At sea Trincomalee (Ceylon) (Second Visit) At sea Singapore (Second Visit) At sea

Hong Kong (First Visit) At sea Singapore (Third Visit) At sea

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Date 1963

27-29 April .

29 April-8 May 8 May-10 May 10 May-13 May 13 May-20 May 20 May-24 May 24 May-28 May 28 May-5 June 5 June-10 June

10 June-17 June 17 June-19 June 19 June-24 June 24 June-4 July 4 July-7 July . 7 July-8 July . 8 July-11 July

11 July-20 July

20 July-25 July 25 July 25-29 July

29 July 29 July 29 July 29 July-3 Augu t 3-10 August .

10-12 August 12 August-31 December

1964 1- 23 January .

23-25 J anuary 25 January-6 February 6-7 February 7 February (midnight) 8-9 February 9 February

10 February .

Port

Pulau Tioman (Malaya) At sea

Manila At sea

Hong Kong (Second Visit) At sea

Karatsu (Japan) At sea

Tokyo At sea

Subic Bay At sea

Singapore (Fourth Visit) At sea

Langkawi (Malaya) At sea

Singapore (Fifth Visit) At sea

D arwin At sea

Anchored off Fitzroy Island (off Cairns) At sea Anchored at Edgecombe Bay (off Bowen) At sea

Sydney At sea

At Willia mstown (undergoing major refit)

At Williamstown (completing refit) N.B.: During this period H .M.A.S. Voyager was at sea to fulfil a comprehensive Post­ Refit Trials Programme on 7, 8, 16, 20 and

21 January. At sea

Sydney At sea

Anchored in Jervis Bay At sea

Jervis Bay At sea

N.B.: On this day Voyager sailed from Jervis Bay at 7 a.m. and throughout the day

exercised at sea independently of Melbourne but joined Melbourne at about 6 p.m. and commenced to carry out certain exercises in conjunction with Melbourne. At about 7.45 p.m. Voyager was instructed by Melbourne to take station in relation to Melbourne as Rescue Destroyer. The coilision took place at approximately 8.56 p.m.

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(4) THE CAPTAI 'S LIVING CONDITIONS IN A 'DARING' CLASS DESTROYER

It should be explained that in Navies of the British Commonwealth it is traditional for the Captain of a warship of any size to live and eat by himself-he is not a member of the Wardroom mess, of which the Executive Officer is President virtute officii; he only visits it when invited to do so. It was a most unusual honour

for a Captain to be dined by the wardroom on his birthday, and it will be necessary later to devote considerable attention to this function, the events of which, as we think, had a profound influence on Lieutenant-Commander Cabban's mind. Although he has not at his disposal the facilities of the wardroom, it is necessary for the Captain of a warship to do a large amount of entertaining when hi s ship is in harbour. For this purpose, in Voyager, the Captain had a commodious day

cabin, situ ated on the same deck as the wardroom and aft of it ; between the wardroom and the day cabin .were pantries to serve both, and the Captain's bathroom. The day cabin is normally only used while the ship is in harbour; at se a the Captain spends the bulk of his time, apart from inspections, between the bridge, the operations room, which on Voyager was immediately under the bridge, and his sea cabin which was situated aft of the operations room. His sea cabin on a ·Daring' class destroyer' is very restricted in space.

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PART D-THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT'

SECfiON 1-GENERAL DESCRIPTION

The 'Cabban Statement' annexed to the Terms of Reference is a transcription of a tape recording made by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban late in January 1965 at the instance of Captain Ronald John Robertson (the Captain of M elbourne at the tim e of the di saster) for the confidential use of Vice-Admiral Hickling , R.N.

(Ret.), as background material for a book he was writing on the M elbourne­ Voyager collision. It is an imprecise, disconnected account of Cabban's im pres­ sions of some features of the Far East operational cruise of Voyager in 1 963 and of the late Captain Stevens' conduct during that cruise and during a few months

after her return to Australia. Three things about it must be emphasised at the outset:

( I ) The statement contains no allegation of excessive drinki ng by the late Captain Stevens within 2 months of the disaster on 10 February 1964. The periods of excessive drinking alleged are confined to certain occasions when Voyager was in port during the operational cruise between February

and June 1963; in Sydney from 3 to 1 0 August 1 963; and to an isolated couple of days in Williamstown early in December 1963 . The statement emphasises that Captain Stevens never drank at sea.

( 2) It did not come into existence until about 5 months after the Report of the Royal Commissioner (Sir John Spicer) on the loss of Voyager had been presented.

(3) It is by no means confined to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban's direct observations; much of it consists of hearsay and indeed mere impression.

SECTION 2-ITS STATUS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE INQUIRY

As we have said, the 'Cabban Statement' of itself has no evidentiary value what­ ever. It bas no more evidentiary value than a pleading in a court action; and, unlike a well drawn pleading, its imprecise, argumentative character makes it a highly unsatisfactory document as the basis for investigation of allegations by a

tribunal of fact. We have, of course, investigated all the allegations, whether directly supported by Cabban's evidence or not, and whether vague or precise. Within the limits of the available evidence we have made all findings which are possible, although on examination several of the alleged incidents turned out to be of little

or of no importance. Any allegations in the document which are not supported by evidence must properly be treated as without substance. Any notion i:hat because allegations of this kind are made there is some onus on those affected by them to refute them must, of course, be wholly rejected.

SECTION 3-THE IMMEDIATE ORIGIN OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT'

To appreciate fully the genesis of the 'Cabban Statement' and its motivation it is necessary to consider in some detail the course of the proceedings of the original Voyager Roya l Commission of Inquiry so far as th ey affected Captain Robertson , the findings of the Royal Commission so far as they were critical of Captain

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9 9 J

Robertson, and of the subsequent strong feelings by Captain Robertson and his supporters (including Cabban that these adverse findings ought not to have been made and that an injustice had in consequence been done to him. It will, however, be necessary in other Sections of this Report to canvass these matters in more detail. It is sufficient fo r our present purposes to note this general background

by way of introduction to the narration of the immediate circumstances occasioning the making by Cabban of the tape recording which in its subsequent transcribed form became the document which led to the establishment of this Royal Commission.

Early in January 1965 Captain R obertson spent a few days in New Zealand with Vice-Admiral Hickling discussing material for a book Vice-Admiral Hickling was writing on the Melbourne-Voyager disaster. This book was published later in 1965 under th e title One M inute of Time. The book was strongly critical of such of the findings of the Royal Commission as were adverse to Captain Robertson and may be described as an apologia for Captain Robertson. Captain Robertson told Vice-Admiral Hickling that Cabban would be in a position to provide back­ ground information about Captain Stevens. On 21 January 1965 Vice-Admiral

Hickling wrote a letter to Cabban asking him for this information. The letter (so far as material is as follows (Exhibit 30) . We have underlined certain passages to emphasize their importance:

My dear Cabba n, T hi s is one retired Naval officer writing to another. The 'A' in R .A.N. means nothing to me for I have worked a longside Australians since 1917 when at Scapa Flow for a short period. I served in the old Melbourne; before yo u were born! I a m 72! !

Al so I have worked at sea with many others, John Co ll ins , Harold F arncombe, Waller, to mention only three. John Robertson has been on a visit to .z. on his Defence work. He stayed here wit h me and got :;. bit of fi shing. m y house i on the ba nks of the famous Rainbow trout rive r, the T ongariro, throw back an ything under 3 pounds.

Na tu ra ll y we talked long a nd sea rchingl y a bout the collision and I was more con­ vinced th an ever that he had been scurviley trea ted. With this I am sure you will agree. Equally naturally your name came up. Your approach to Smythe & later to Robertson with all the information which you a lone seemed to possess or at any rate were re ady to di sclose to the Commission.

I feel so indignant th at I a m, with J .R.'s approval, writing a book (my third book) about it. Please keep th is strictly to yourself: A book which will be authoritative and factual. One doesn't want to di stress next-of-kin on the other hand is it right to white­ wash th e dead who a re bl ameworthy at the expense of the living who also have friends and relations?

Robbie sa id he was going to ta lk to you on his return to Sydney on the matter. I would like, if you would be so kind as to give it me your account of Stevens, your trip to Japa n, your opinions and experience during the time you served in Voyager. John R., bless him, is fa r too much of a gentlema n to impugn a brother officer.

In my view it is more important both for the R.A. . and for posterity that the truth be not suppressed, indeed it would be dishonest to do so

Rest assu red that anything you tell me wi ll be treated in the strictest confidence, indeed I shall make quite certain th at what you tell me, of anyone else for that matter, (other than what has been made public) wi ll ever be traceable to the source. The MS of 'One Minute of Time' which is to be published in Australia, this year

(I hope) will firs t be submitted to John R. and his counsel Hicks.

20

The object of my book is to do justice to John Robertson, a finer chara cter one seldom meets.

If you would be so good as to help me in this endeavour I shall be most grateful. Yours sincerely, Harold Hickling Vice Admiral (Retd.)

P .S. As Ca pta in of Glasgow (1940) I cut Imogen in half in a thick fog almost end on at 17 kts. so I do know a little about what I intend to write. HH.

It will be noted that the material was to be supplied to Vice-Admiral Hickling o n a strictly confidential basis.

Captain Robertson had returned to Sydney on 19 January 1965. On 2:> January Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and his wife dined with Captain Robert­ son and after dinner Cabban told Robertson of some of the events which were later recorded in the 'Cabban Statement'. Captain Robertson asked Cabban if he

would mind putting the gist of what he had told him on tape so that the tape could be sent to Vice-Admiral Hickling. Cabban agreed to do this and Captain Robertson lent him his tape recorder which matched one belonging to Vice­ Admiral Hickling. Cabban said that 'I sat on the foot of my bed that evening and

dictated it straight through from memory' (p. 156). He made no notes prior to dictating the Statement, nor did he refer to any documents or memoranda to refresh his memory about incidents in the 1963 cruise which he was recounting. He agreed with Mr Burt, Q.C., that the statement 'just came out, so to speak' (p.

157) . He dictated the whole statement in one session that night, taking about, he thought 45 minutes to an hour to complete it ( p. 395) and returned the tape recorder with the tape to Captain Robertson the next day. He said the fact that the information was being given to Vice-Admiral Hickling on a strictly confidential

basis with an undertaking that the source of it would never be disclosed 'I have no doubt made me less precise: I did not try to be exact to the extent I would if I thought it was going to be read like this'. Cabban's answers to the Chairman's questions why he thought it was important that Vice-Admiral Hickling should

know so much about the incidents when he alleged the Captain had a good deal to drink (p. 478) is important and we quote the relevant portion of the transcript (pp. 478-479): Q. You understood that Vice-Admiral Hickling was writing a book about the Voyager

disaster itself? A . I did.

Q. Now would you tell us why you regarded it as important in this tape recording to pay so much attention to the captain's drinking habits as background for the book tha t Vice-Admiral Hickling was writing as to the di saster itself?

A. Yes. Q. I do not want you to answer that hastily. I want you to think a bout it and just

tell the Commission why you thought it was important that Vice-Admiral Hickling should know so much about these incidents when you say the captain had a good deal to drink? A. Yes. At the time of the inquiry, up until it was announced in the press that Captain

Stevens on the night of the collision had had brandy in his sea cabin, or wherever it was, I had believed that under no circumstances would he ever either drink at sea or remain in command of the ship after he was affected by anything that he had drunk. I had formed this opinion after the incidents which I have described

here, having completely forgotten his action both leaving Tokyo and in Subic Bay.

21

995

It was my belief that this was a man who under no circumstances would command the ship if he were in any way affected by wh at he had drunk immediately or what he had drunk before if his health was anything but perfect. The announcement completely conflicted with my assessment. I bad been at such pains to offer to protect any inference or suggestion th at the captain might have been deviating from his previous practice that I felt when these things came out that Captain

Robertson was faced with a situation where he rnay be giving evidence against a background which was unknown to the court, and that there m ay be fa ctors which would be in his interest if somebody were to inform him. So I offered to give this. I did not want to. I was very anxious not to appear in court and have to say any of these things. Q. I a m not ta lki ng about your appearance in court. I am talking about your purpose

in recounting all th ese incidents to Vice-Admiral Hickling? A . I realize that, Your H onour. THE CH AIRMAN : All right. Go on? A. Subsequently, after the case, when I spoke to Captain Robertson he learned more of

what had happened a nd why I had formed this conclusion than he had understood a t the time that I contacted him du ring the hearing. He spoke to Admiral Hickling subsequently and, when he returned, he told me I wo uld be hearing from Admiral Hickling and would I tell him in reply to his request when it was received these matters that enabled me to form this concl usion. Q. By 'these matters' you refer to incidents of heavy drinking?

A. Yes. No matter wh at Ca ptain Stevens' conduct was in harbour, I was still able LO form the conclusion that he would not all ow it to influence hi s comma nd of his ship.

Captain Robertson sent the tape recording off to Vice-Admiral Hickling who subsequently had it typed up and he then sent the transcript back to Captain Robertson. Captain Robertson subsequently saw Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and asked him to sign the statement and to give his permission for Mr Jess, M.H.R., to show it to the Prime Minister and Members of Cabinet. Mr Jess is a Liberal Member of the House of Representatives who had interested himself in remedying what he felt was an injustice done to Captain Robertson by the findings of Sir John Spicer. Cabban said he signed the document only because Captain

Robertson asked him to and he didn't see any cause to question his judgment. He said he did not read it through with any great care before he signed it but just to make some apparent obvious corrections (p. 396). He said 'My signature was to indicate it was correct to the best of my memory' (p . 398). In answer to a further question by the Chairman as to why he signed the transcription of the tape recording having regard to the fact that he had given the information in strict confidence, he said:

I signed it because I was asked to sign it. I think I can fai rly sa y that my attitude

then was still that of a Lieutenant-Commander being asked by a Ca ptain to do some­ thing for an Admiral. I did not query it. (p. 481).

He said: I bad been asked by Mr Jess if I would assist in representing evidence that might cause the Prime Minister to review the finding of the Royal Commission and I said that I would ask Captain Robertson if he wanted this, and if be did I would be pre­ pared to see either the Prime Minister or Cabinet, I was not prepared to be associated with a: public inquiry into the matter, and subsequently Captain Robertson said that he agreed with this, and that in essence was the beginning of my agreement to allow this to be sent to the Prime Minister. (p. 482).

He agreed (p. 495) that before he signed the document so it could be shown by Mr Jess to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, he did not give any consideration to the question whether or not the document fairly portrayed background

22

character material relating to Captain Stevens. In answer to a question by the Chairman why he did not do so in view of the fact that it was then destined for a very different audience, he said: I was not trying to describe the ch aracter of Capta in Stevens. I did not think that his

character had anything to do with the incident concerned. I have never considered this a question of character. I have considered it a question of his condition and his con­ dition as it was affected by the intake of alcohol. (p. 49 5 ) .

In answer to questions by Asprey J.A . (p. 563) Cab ban said that the Statement was not ma de for the purpose of righting the wrong that he considered had been done to Captain Robertson but 'It was only made for Admiral Hickling, not in any way at all for Mr Jess'. He said (p. 563) that either Captain Robertson or Mr Jess induced him to lift the ban on the publication of the Statement and that their

reason was that they wanted 'to show it to the Prime Minister and to see if he thought that the facts as I outlined, would justify getting me there to see if he though t that a more complete story would indicate a situation which might justify him reviewing the collision.' H e said (p. 564) that he did not formulate in his own mind precisely how he thought it could help Captain Robertson but was prepared

to accept th e word of people more experienced than himself in these areas. It appears that Cabban was not anxious to have his Statement made public and he refused to go on televis ion or radio (pp. 581 -582 ).

Captain Robertson (pp. 668-669) gave evidence of showing the 'Cab ban State­ ment" to Mr Jess, and of Cabban being asked either by himself or Mr Jess for permission for the to· be used by Mr Jess in government circles '

in an endeavour to have a review of the findings of the first Voyager Royal Commission (p. 669).

SECTION 4-THE EXTENT TO WHICH CABBAN MADE KNOWN HIS ALLEGATIONS AT THE TIME OF THE ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE LOSS OF VOYAGER AND THEIR THEN RELEVANCE. THE CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH LATER LED CABBAN AND CAPTAIN ROBERTSON TO REGARD THE ALLEGATIONS AS HAVING GREATER

SIGNIFICANCE.

Before passing to a more detailed consideration of the 'Cabban Statement', it is convenient to deal with the part played by Cabban in the first Voyager Commission, the extent to which he then made known any of the allegations which fi ve months aft er the publication of the 'Spicer Report' were comprised in the

'Cabban Statement', and the relevance of those allegations to the subject matter of the Inquiry conducted by Sir John Spicer. The evidence as to these matters bears directly on Term of Reference 3 but we will deal with it here as it is of con­ siderable importance in throwing light on Cabban's motives in including the material he did in the tape recording and on his subsequent conduct in agreeing

to the transcription of the tape recording being made available to Mr Jess, the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet. Within a few days of, Mr J. W. Smyth Q.C. and Mr I. F. Sheppard being briefed as Counsel to assist the Commission, it was decided that Cabban should

be interviewed as to the practice of Captain Stevens on Voyager in carrying out a manoeuvre of the kind Voyager was engaged in at the time of the disaster: Sgt Turner and Senior Constable Wright of the Commonwealth Police Force interviewed Cabban. Cabban wrote out a statement accompanied by a diagram of

23

the manoeuvre in taking up plane guard station, known as a 'fishtail' and a record was made by Sgt Turner of the interview. There is no reference in either of these documents to any of the allegations of excessive drinking subsequently appearing in the 'Cabban Statement', but in the record of the interview Sgt Turner notes

Cabban as referring to 'several n<::ar collisions which occurred between Voyager and Royal Navy carriers while executing this manoeuvre', and expressed the opinion th at it was due to the Jack of lights on the vessels and the high speeds at which the ships were manoeuvring (p. 21). Cabban said that 'As the police officers were about to leave I said to them that I had heard a rumour that Captain Stevens had been drunk at the time of the collision and if there were any question of this I would like the opportunity to refute it as it was inconceiva ble' (p. 151). Sgt Turner was unable to give evidence ·before us due to ill health. Senior Con­ stable Wright said that this may have been said but he had no recollecti on of it (p. 638). It is of little importance as it is clearly established that Cabban made statements of this kind to Counsel assisting the Commission and others at a later stage.

Cabban was interviewed by Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard in the presence of their instructing solicitor, Mr Braund. We accept Mr Sheppard's evidence that this interview was within a few days of 18 February (the date on which Cabban was interviewed by Sgt Turner and Senior Constable Wright). From entries in Cabban's diary it would appear that the only days when he could have been inter­ viewed by Smyth and Sheppard were 21 February or 6 March. Having regard to the evidence of Smyth and Sheppard to which we referred, it therefore seems likely

that the interview with them was on 21 February, but we are satisfied that, although the statement of Barry John Hyland (the Captain's cabin hand) as to the Captain having had a triple brandy an hour and a half before the collision bears the date 21 February, its content had not come to the knowledge of Smyth or Sheppard prior to their interview with Cabban; nor had they seen the post mortem report. The report from Professor Blackburn had not th en come into existence. Cabban said that he told Mr Smyth that it was inconceivable th at th e

Captain could be drunk at the time of the collision because he never drank at sea (p. 152). Mr Braund, Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard all agree that Cabban did say that Captain Stevens never drank at sea. Mr Braund said that Cabban spoke of an occasion when the Captain was carried on board ship after some party in Tokyo but he said he would not give evidence of this if called (p. 616). Mr Braund said that all that he could recollect of what was said during the interview was that Cabban said:

. . . 'that Captain Stevens was a heavy drinker; he spoke of an occasion when he

was drunk and carried on board his shi p in Tokyo from some party. He said that he would not give evidence of this if he were called, or words to that effect. He spoke of nea r misses between ships manoeuvring and he also said that Captain Stevens never drank at sea'. (p. 624).

Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard gave evidence that Cabban was questioned by them as to the na viga ti onal aspects of th e manoeuvre being carried on at the time of the disaster to find out as much as they could about the nature of the manoeuvre and about how Steve ns would carry it out. Mr Smyth said that he was about to bring the interview to a close when Cabban said ' "Although I have

nothing to say against Captain Stevens as a skipper, as a man I have nothing but contempt for him" '. Mr Smyth said that in answer to his question why he said this, Cabban said ' "Well when we were in Tokyo Captain Stevens was

24

drun}c all the time"'. The description he got from him was that Captain Stevens was hopelessly drunk in his cabin all day the whole time they were in Tokyo and he said ' "It is not very nice for your Captain to be behaving in that

fashion He was that bad, I had to carry him to bed every

night" ' (p. 710). Mr Smyth said that Cabban told them that when they left Tokyo the Captain was so ill as a result of his drinking bout that he, Cabban, had to take command and had command for some period of five days or ten days. His recollection was that Cabban spoke of a finite period of time whether it be five or

ten days. He also said that Cabban said that before they left Australia Captain Stevens had been drinking very heavily and he was unable to take command of Voyager to sail her to the Far East. Mr Smyth said that in answer to his question 'Do you think that Captain Stevens might have been drunk at the time of the

collision?' Cabban said 'Definitely not because I must say this about him, he never drank at sea and I never saw him under the influence of liquor at sea'. Mr Smyth said that he was clear that Cabban's allegations of excessive drinking by Captain Stevens were while the ship was in port and that Cabban spoke of only two periods -one before Voyager left Australia and the other while Voyager was in port in

Tokyo early in June 1963 (pp. 712, 804).

Mr Sheppard's recollection of the interview was substantially the same as that of Mr Smyth (pp. 852-5).

Cabban said in his evidence that he told Mr Smyth of the three occasions when he had had command at sea and the events that led up to them and that he had command in Williamstown. Cabban was recalled after evidence had been given by Smyth and Sheppard. Cabban conceded in answer to a series of questions by

the Chairman that he may have told Smyth and Sheppard only of two isolated drinking bouts. The following extract from his evidence when he was recalled is most important in relation to Term of Reference 3: Q. You heard Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard say you had told them about the captain's

excess ive drinking in Tokyo and, as they thought, at a Queensland port?

A. Yes. Q. In other words they said they understood from you there were two occasions, or perhaps I should say one occasion and a period in Tokyo when the captain drank excessively. Is it right th at you only told them about those occasions or do you

say you told them about any other occasions or periods? A. I cannot remember precisely. I told them as little as I could. I did not want this­ I was not volunteering this. Those were quite clearly two occasions where command at sea following this was immediate. Q. Do you dispute their evidence, which perhaps I might put in substance, that you

told them only of two isolated drinking bouts? A. I could not dispute th at, Your Honour, I think that is possibly correct. Q. Did you tell Mr Smyth the captain was that bad you had to carry him to bed

nearly every night? A. I certainly do not think I did because I cannot remember any occasion where I carried the captain to bed. THE CHAIRMAN: You do not now assert that as a fact?

A. No. Your Honour. Q. You say there was no occasion when you had to do that? A. I do not think it would be physically possible. Q. You say there was no occasion when in fact you did that?

A. No. (pp.1154-5).

12078/ 68-3 25

999

It is clear from the evidence of Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard that although they treated Cabban's allegations with considerable reservation it put them on inquiry as to the possibility of Captain Stevens being under the influence of liquor at the time of the disaster. A s we interpret their evidence they k ept Cabban's allegations in their minds but when they had positive evidence from the analyst's report and the opinion of Professor Blackburn, that having regard to the percentage of alcohol in Captain Stevens' blood he could not possibly have been under the influence of liquor at the tim e of th e collision, they put aside Cabban's allegations of the two drinking bouts in February and June 1963 as irrelevant.

Cabban later claimed in a letter he wrote to Mr Jess on 10 August 1966 (Exhibit 48) (to which we later refer in more detail) and in the 'Cabban Statement' that Smyth and Sheppard had concealed from him the evidence that the Captain had had a drink at sea before the collision. We are satisfied that Hyland's evidence was not known to Mr Smyth or Mr Sheppard at the time of their interview with Cabban, and Cabban's suggestion of concealment is groundless.

Cabban still seems to have been concerned after his interview with Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard that it might be said that Captain Stevens was under the influence at the time of the disaster, notwithstanding Mr Smyth's statement to him that it was clearly understood that he was saying that the Captain never drank at sea. Cabban after consulting with his own solici tors arranged to meet Mr Osborne (the solicitor briefing Captain Stevens' relative s' counsel, Mr Street, Q.C., and Mr Sinclair). Cabban said (p. 153): 'I had become alarmed at the line of questioning concerning Captain Stevens' drinking habits was going to lead to examination publicly at the Commission on this, and I did not think it had anything to do with the collision and could only harm the reputation of Captain Stevens'. He said that when he saw Mr Osborne his attitude was that it would be intolerable that any allusion should be made to Captain Stevens' drinking habits at all as he did not drink at sea (p. 155). Evidence was given by Mr Osborne and Mr Sinclair of Cabban's statements to them. Mr Sinclair produced a proof of Cabban's evidence which he prepared (Exhibit No. 49). Cabban acknowledged that this was an accurate account of the statements he made to them. The proof was read by Cabban during the course of his evidence before us and he was asked (p . 586) 'Is that substantially your recollection of what you were then saying?' He answered, 'It is better than my recollection; I think it is probably very accurate'. The follow­ ing extracts from this proof are of importance both as providing an authentic record of the extent to which Cabban made his allegations known at the time of the first 'Voyager' Commission and as a test of the accuracy of his recollections when he made the tape recording almost twelve months later :

During the ship's time up north in 1963, she had five near misses with other ships. Cabban does not suggest that these near misses we re due to incompetence or

error of judgment on the part of anyone on VOYAGER. He went into detail about two occasions, the first being when VOYAGER almost collided head-on with CAESAR when changing station on the screen of a large force covering a convoy. On the other specific occasion, mentioned by Cabban, VOYAGER was forced into the

ranks of the convoy by a Pakistani frigate which bore down on a collision course. It is interesting to note that there is no reference in his account of either of these two incidents to a ny part played by the Captai n except for 'Carry on, Cabban'. Cabban then went o n to deal wi th the various incidents which occurred to the Captai n on shore and the following incidents at sea:

(i) Cabban was in acti ve command of the ship fo r four or five days , in company, out of Tokyo.

26

On this occasion the Captain was being treated by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller, and on fiv e occasions Cabban took the ship up alongside other vessels to replenish. (ii) Captain Stevens' return by train from the Dovers Court Martial and his treatment aboard Sydney (iii) The Destroyer Captains' dinner at Hong Kong (iv) Another incident when the Captain could not find his way going ashore in Hong

Kong or Singapore (v) The 'disappointing' mess dinner for his birthday. Cabban's assessment of the part played by Captain Stevens in Voyager is that the ship was efficient and loyal because the Captain was supported by an efficient and loyal

team of officers. (p. 587).

When Mr Landau (Secretary of the Naval Board ) interviewed Mr Sheppard and Mr Braund in August 1965 in connection with the allegations in the 'Cabban Statement', he made a note that Mr Sheppard said that: The information contained in this document concerning Stevens' drinking habits was in

the main given to Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard, by Cabban, as stated by by him though certain details contained in the document were not given at that time, but these are not of significance to the main purport. (pp. 1640-1; Exhibit 61).

In the absence of any definite recollection by Cabban, Smyth, Sheppard or Braund it is not possible to make precise findings as to what details about Captain Stevens' drinking habits were given by him to Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard. The contemporaneous record made by Mr Sinclair of his interview with Cabban suggests that probably Cabban gave much the same information to Mr Smyth.

It is clear, however, that Cabban did tell them that there were occasions during the cruise when Captain Stevens drank excessively when Voyager was in harbour but emphasised that he ne ver drank at sea.

Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard with the approval of Sir John Spicer made a decision not to call Cabban on the ground that his evidence as to Captain Stevens' drinking habits ashore many months before February 1964 was inadmissibl e and irrelevant (as Cabban himself was at that time maintaining) and th at the expert

naval evidence they had as to the navigational aspects of the disaster made Cabban's evidence as to the way of carrying out the 'fishtail' manoeuvre unnecessary.

From the foregoing account of Cabban's par ticipation in the first Voyager Commission, it is clear that right from the outset he was emphatic that Captain Stevens never dra nk at sea and that he did not consider that such evidence as he could give as to Stevens' drinking habits during the Far Eastern cruise was

relevant to the Inquiry being conducted by Sir John Spicer. He emphasised at every opportunity in his interviews with the Commonwealth Investigating Officers, with Messrs Smyth and Sheppard, and other Counsel by whom he was interviewed that Captain Stevens never drank at sea, and he wished to protect his late Captain

against any allegation that he was under the influence of liquor at the time of the collision.

The hearing of evidence before the first Voyager Commission began on the 17 March 1964; and on the 21 May 1964 H yland gave evidence that on the evening of the collision he had served to the Captain 'a brandy; a tri ple brandy'. (page 2856 Voyager 1.) This piece of evidence was prominently reported in the Press that day and the following morning and it came, of course, to the knowledge of Cabban. Cabban said that the announcement completely conflicted with hi s

27

l J Ol

assessment (p. 478). In another part of his evidence he described it as ' ... a complete reversal of the conduct that I had expected of Captain Stevens at sea'. Cab ban said that when he read this evidence he rang Captain Robertson ' (T) o offer to give evidence, should he require it, concerning my knowledge of Captain

Stevens as far as alcohol was concerned' but that he received ' . . . a very curt reply "Thanks", but Captain Robertson did not want to introduce that kind of evidence' (p. 155). This evidence was confirmed by Captain Robertson (pp. 661-662 ) . It would seem that Cab ban regarded the evidence of Hyland when he read it on or about 21 May 1964 as incredible and was not convinced that the Captain had drunk any brandy an hour and a half before the collision. In Sir John Spicer's report which was published upon being laid before the House of Representatives on 21 August 1964, no reference to the evidence that Captain Stevens took any drink on the night of the collision was made in any way. Hence nothing had occurred that could have altered Cabban's view of Hyland's evidence that the Captain did drink brandy on the night of the collision. Possibly Cabban

had wished to check Hyland's evidence with him when he read it in the Press but thought he should not do so until the 'Spicer Report' came out. Be that as it may, in his ev idence before us Hyland stated that he was sought out by Cabban for the first time about three months after he had given his evidence. This would place the date of this interview at about the date of the publication of Sir John Spicer's report. Cabban agrees that he interviewed Hyland. Hyland said in a statement taken on 23 June 1967 (which he made to Counsel assisting the present Com­ mission) that when he was interviewed by Cabban he seemed to be doubting whether his evidence that he had served a brandy to Captain Stevens on the night of the collision was correct and that Cabban said to his knowledge Captain Stevens did not drink at sea. When Hyland was cross-examined by Mr Porter, Junior Counsel for Cabban in the present Inquiry, Hyland agreed that Cabban sought him out and that he had a short interview with him at a hotel. In answer to Mr Porter, Hyland gave this evi dence:

Q. And he was rather upset, was he not? A. I do not know whether he was upset or not. I was not with him for very long. Q. But he certainly seemed to be, without insulting you or anything, fi nding your evidence incredible that the Captain would have had a drink that night? / A. That is right. (p.3993) .

Nothing, so far as is known, occurred between Cabban's brief interview with Hyland in August 1964 and the end of 1964 to change hi s mind in regard to the qu estion as to whether or not the Captain did have a drink on the evening of 10 February Even if it be assumed for the moment that Cabban believed Hyland in August 1964, when Hyland told him that he had served a drink to Captain Stevens on the evening of the collision, he certainly could not have gained the impression from Hyland that on that evening the Captain was in any way

affected adversely by the consumption of liquor, because again in answer to Mr Porter with reference to the August 1964 interview with Cabban, Hyland gave this evidence:

Q. What you sai

And more importantly Hyland has never deviated from his assertion that the Captain was perfectly normal on the evening in question.

28

In J anuary 1965 Cabban had his meeting with Capta; n Robertson, and subsequently dictated the 'Cabban Statement' . In Paragraph 27 he refers to the fact that he informed Mr Smyth that Captain Stevens would not drink at sea and he also refers in Paragraph 28 to similar statements made to other legal advisers. He does say that during the course of the Commission ' it became patently

clear that I had been misled by Mr Smyth and others when the evidence was given th at Captain Stevens had had a triple brandy on the bridge of Voyager.' If Cabban had disbelieved the evidence given by H yland it is difficult to understand why in January 1965 he should as sert that he had been mi sled by Mr Smyth,

even assuming that Mr Smyth had knowledge of H yland's statement at the time when he interviewed Cabban; but be that as it may, up to th e time Cabban dictated his statement for the benefit of Vice-Admiral Hickling at the end of January 1965 he never asserted that Captain Stevens was adversely affected by

li qu or on th at evenin g.

On the 18 April 1965, Vice-Admiral H ickli ng wro te Cabban a letter acknowledging th e tape recording. In the course of the lette r he said: You were at pains to persuade Smyth before the R . Commission started that

Stevens did not ever drink at sea. Li kewise the solici tors. But from the earlier part of your narration he was often drunk while the ship was at sea. Surely a di stinction with­ out a difference . . . Your action at that ea rly time was no doubt taken in loyalty

to the dead Steve ns who you knew to be the cause of the collision. Am I right ;n

saying that the combination of the triple brandy and the shabby treatment of Captain Robertson caused you to transfer your loyalty to the latter.

On th e 1 May 1965 Cab ban replied: Stevens did not ta ke a drink at sea in the time I was aboard to my knowledge, and I checked very carefully with his Ldg. Steward when he had his prolonged illness . . . 3. I saw Smyth during the prelimina ry inquiries only a nd had no way of knowing there was anyone at fault. Smyth gave me no clue, so there was no loyalty for the dead Stevens being misplaced. I had hea rd from 2 sources that Stevens was drunk at the time of the collision, and didn't believe it, as both were rumours from sailors.

(I have since met the stewa rd who as cabin band served the triple brandy and he said that to the extent of his knowledge that was all Stevens had that day). (P. 4 and 5 of letter marked for indentificatio n 'A'.)

Jn the same Jetter Cabban states that he believed originally that poor visi bility (funnel haze and smoke) may have been a major factor in the collision as Voyager was no torious for maki ng smoke and the blind arc of th e radar could be excessive. He said this was only speculation and goes on:

. . . so why should I suspect the true cause-unti l the 'triple brandy' it was not

credible. As soon as I read of the brandy I uspected collusion and it was by then grossly

appa rent that Robertson was being shockingly m a li gned. This also explained why Smyth had not called on me in spite of hi s adamant statement that I wou ld be called.

Towards the end of hi s le tter it is apparent that he was entertaining, as a real possibly, that the cause of the collision between Voyager and Melbourne was that Captain Stevens was affected by alcohol.

Even upon the assumption that Cabban did not believe Hyland at

the time of his intervieVA. with him in August 1964 as to the fact that Hyland had served Captain Stevens with a triple brandy on 10 February 1964, there is no other known source from which Cabban may have reasonably come to the conclusion that on the night of the collision Captain Stevens· was adversely affected by drink

and, in fact, all the evidence points entirely in the opposite direction. In these circumstances the question at once arises as to why Cabban changed from a state

29

1 0 0.)

of incredulity in regard to Hyland's evidence that the Captain had drunk one 'triple brandy', to an acceptance at least as a possibility that Stevens was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision or was unwell as a result of recent excessive drinking.

By the time Cabban wrote his letter to Mr Jess on 10 August 1966

(Exhibit 48) he had completely identified himself with Captain Robertson's endeavours to persuade. the Commonwealth Government to re-open the Voyager case. In the course of Cabban's cross-examination by Mr Murphy he was questioned about an extract from this letter in which he stated ' that if

we lost another ship I could not believe the Australian public would tolerate the Government and the Board for having failed to take action to correct the deficiencies at the time.' By 'deficiencies he said he meant 'The deficiencies which led to H.M.A.S. Voyager being lost in collision with Melbourne.' In answer

to a question by the Chairman as to what deficiencies they were he said 'I considered that there was a captain who was not-certainly not well-who was in command of Voyager at the time it was lost. ' Then in answer to the Chairman's question 'You mean yo u inferred that because of his breaking a habit and taking

a brandy while the ship was at sea,' he said, 'That is exactly what I have in mind. ' The further questions and answers which followed are also important. The Chairman continued : Q. And, as I asked you before, this made a tremendous impact on you, did it?

A. It did, yes. Q . I think you have made it clear, but let us have it again, that you did not think for one moment that the captain was under the influence of alcohol on the night of the collision? A. I did not know to what extent be was affected by what he had had. When I heard

about the triple brandy I did not know that he had had anything else to drink-! did not know whether he had or had not. All I knew was that he had broken a

very rigid self-imposed discipline, and after my experience before and my fear that he might start drinking again-you see, after Tokyo- -(p. 4580) .

THE CHAIRMAN: Q . Before you wrote this letter to Mr Jess you knew about the evidence that had been given at the inquiry? A. I did.

Q . But it was limited to evidence that he had had what was called a triple brandy and you knew about the analyst's report showing 0.25 per cent alcohol? A. I cannot say I was familiar with the analyst's report, but I certainly knew about Hyland's evidence, and I had seen Hyland and asked him if the captain had had

anything else that night and he had said that he came on duty late and did not

know. (p. 4581)

Then in answer to questions by Asprey J.A. as to Mr Gale's evidence that Cabban told him of his concern for Captain Stevens ' and what amounted almost to a personal crisis which he had, of weighing his concern for the safety of the ship against his loyalty for the captain of his ship', he said that at that stage he

was concerned for the safety of the ship in a general rather than in a specific way (p. 45 82-3) and that at the time he was under the firm belief that the Captain did not drink at sea. But he said that he thought he was very close to the stage of losing all control himself and that he got hold of the Steward Freeman as soon as they left harbour in Tokyo and told him he was to report to

him the instant the Captain had a drink at sea. In answer to Lucas J. as to whether he tho ught that the Captain was likely to break away from his lifelong

30

habi\ he sai d 'Yes', and that was because of what happened in Tokyo. In answer to Asprey J.A. he agreed that he formed this idea after the incident at the steam bath and that '(T) hat was when that thought-! had to face it I think I had been frightened of it, but I had to face it then that it was a possibility.' (p. 4584).

Cabban claimed that he was fearful after the Tokyo visit that Captain Stevens might so far lose self control as to drink at sea. But apparently having regard to what he believed to be total abstinence by the Captain after the ship left Tokyo this fear had gone-so much so that not the emotional impact of the collision and the loss of eighty-two li ves led him th en to revive his earlier fear that Stevens bad drunk at sea.

We can only conclude that it was his acceptance of the view that the findings adverse to Captain Robertson in the 'Spicer Report' were unjust, and his passionate espousal of Captain Robertson's cause, that led him to entertain the possibility that Stevens may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision or suffering from a 'hangover'. He was no doubt flattered at Captain Robertson and Vice-Admiral Hickling turning to him for assistance for back­

ground information for a book which was to set out to vindicate Captain Robertson. [t is interesting to note that Cabban proof-read On e Minute of Time for Vice-Admiral Hickling and attended a celebration dinner with Vice-Admiral Hickling and Captain Robertson on the night of its publication (p. 483). And

subsequently when he lent himself to the proposal to place the transcript of his incautious tape recording before Mr Jess and through him to the Prime Minister, he saw himself in the role of Captain Robertson's champion who was to be the instrument of remedying an injustice.

This is not to say that Cabban set out in making the tape recording to include in it deliberately false statements. But the conclusion is inescapable that it was the product of the mind of a man who had become a partisan to a cause and was influenced by his partisan attitude to paint a. highly coloured picture of

Captain Stevens' drinking habits and their effect on his health.

From the foregoing it is apparent that the 'Cabban Statement' would never have come into existence had not Sir John Spicer made adverse findings against Captain Robertson. It is this circumstance which led to Cabbain dictating the Statement at Captain Roberton's request and later permitting its publication to

assist Captain Robertson. It will be necessary to canvass the findings adverse to Captain Robertson in some detail for the purposes of Term of Reference 2 (b) but one or two points should be noted in the present context: ( 1) Captain Robertson became resentful during the first Voyager Commission

of what he considered to be an unjustified attack on him by Mr Smyth, Counsel assisting the Commission. He felt that be was wrongly placed in the position of a defendant. (2) Notwithstanding this resentment Captain Robertson firmly rejected his

Counsel's advice to attack the conduct or seamanship of the late Captain Stevens. He felt that these matters were of no real relevance to the Inquiry. (3) It was only some months after the Royal Commission made findings

critical of Captain Robertson that he saw fit to raise the Cabban allega­ tions in an attempt through Mr Jess to right what he felt was a wrong to himself.

31

To sum it up, Cabban in the course of explaining to Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard that Captain Stevens could not have been drunk at sea, did make some allegations that during the Far Eastern operational cruise, the Captain had drunk excessively. It is apparent that Cabban did not regard his evidence as to the

Captain's drinking habits in port to be of any importance for any purpose until January 1965. All he did during the first 'Voyager Commission' when he heard Steward Hyland's evidence, was to offer to Captain Robertson to give evidence of Captain Stevens' drinking habits in port. He did not take up the matter again with Mr Smyth or complain then that Mr Smyth had previously misled him. The

reality of the situation seems to be that Cabban was not really concerned to press his evidence as to Captain Stevens' drinking habits upon anyone at any time before January 1965, because he remained unconvinced that Captain Stevens had had the brandy on the night of the collision.

In considering Term of Reference 2 (b) we will deal in detail with the claim that if the Cab ban allegations were established, Sir John Spicer's adverse findings to Captain Robertson should be varied. It is sufficient to say for our present purposes that rightly or wrongly Cabban became convinced through discussions

with Captain Robertson and Mr Jess (and no doubt through Vice-Admiral Hickling's book, One Minute of Time) that his evidence of the Captain's drinking habits, while in port, would help in some way to bring about a reversal of the findings adverse to Captain Robertson.

It is, we believe, of primary importance to the understanding of the 'Cabban Statement' and the purpose and motives of its author to keep steadily in mind the detailed background and circumstances which we have related in the fore­ going sections of our Report. It is in fact a document which is impossible to under­ stand unless it is placed in the setting of all these circumstances to which we have

referred.

SECTION 5-THE INTERPRETATION OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT'. THE EXTENT TO WHICH AT OUR INQUIRY CABBAN MAINTAINED THE TRUTH OF THE ALLEGATIONS

(a) PRELIMINARY

It is apparent from what we have said as to the genesis of the 'Cabban Statement' and the circumstances in which it was dictated by Cabban on a tape-recorder, that it should not be treated as a carefully drafted or precise document purporting to contain an accurate account of the matters to which it relates. Apart from several specific incidents which are described, it is composed of the author's sub­ jective impressions and judgment of Captain Stevens' conduct and of wide incau­ tious generalisations which are obviously based on impression. We shall have more

to say about this in dealing with Cabban's credit. We refer to it here because it is necessary to keep it in mind in interpreting the Statement. We again emphasize that the 'Cabban Statement' did not originate as a document but in its transcribed form it became the document which led to the establishment of this Commission.

We are required to inquire into the truth of the allegations in the document. It is therefore necessary to interpret the document according to its tenor to determine what are the allegations into which we are to inquire. In his evidence and through his Counsel Lieutenant-Commander Cabban said that he did not intend to assert that Captain Stevens was an incompetent shiphandler or that he was continuously

drunk whenever Voyager was in port. But th e natural meaning of the document

32

cann.ot be controlled by its author's assertions made aliunde as to what he intended by it. It is our duty to make findings whether the allegations in the document (as they would be interpreted by an ordinary reader) are true. We have to inquire not into Cabban's allegations as made before us in his evidence and through his Counsel but as made by him in his tape-recording. We have however in this part of our Report compared the allegations in the document with what Cabban

asserted before us, because for practical purposes the scope of our Inquiry obviously became substantially limited to the allegations which he was prepared to maintain before us.

(b) THE ALLEGATIONS AS TO SEAMANSHIP

We have already indicated that a reader of the 'Cabban Statement' (unassisted by any explanation from the author) would no doubt think that the purpose of recounting at least some of the navigational incidents was to suggest incompetent, if not reckless, seamanship on the part of Captain Stevens. A reader of the State­ ment would no doubt get a picture of a Captain who from time to time put his

ship at risk and that the ultimate disaster on 10 February 1964 was due in some way to the Captain's ineptitude in ship handling. The fact that we are specifically required by the Terms of Reference to inquire into the question whether these and other allegations (if true) established that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain

command of Voyager itself indicates that this is what the document was under­ stood to mean. At the hearing before us Cabban asserted the truth of his statements about Captain Stevens' ship handling and about the several navigational incidents but disavowed any intention to suggest thereby that Captain Stevens was an incom­ petent or inefficient ship handler. He said that he only recounted these matters to Vice-Admiral Hickling as illustrative of Captain Stevens' temperament in reacting

to difficult situations (which he apparently thought might throw some light on the circums tances of the Melbourne-Voyager collision) and to emphasize that 'near misses' in naval exercises are not uncommon. The following extracts from Cabban's evidence make his position abundantly clear:

MR ASH: Perhaps you could assist me in shortening this. Are you making any allegati ons at all in answer to the questions you a re being asked of Captain

Steve ns reaching a standard short of good sea manship? A. No.

THE C H AIRMAN: That is so as to none of these three incidents? A. No. I was not referring to his seamanship ability in those, not in the sense Mr Ash is referring. MR ASH : As far as yo u are concerned, his seamanship throughout this six months

cruise, and indeed the whol e 12 months you served under him, is not the subject of any adverse comment by you in any way at all? A. Could I leave it th at except so fa r as on the incident I have referred to his

temperament interfered. Otherwise absolutely not, his ability was very very good as a seaman. THE CHAIRMAN: What I should like to understand is, you have mentioned three specific incidents, as to any of those do you criticise the captain's ha ndling of the

ship?

A . Yes. I do in the towing incident. It was a dangerous action. Q . I do not want to go into detail in this matter. As to the Voyager-Vampire collision, do yo u criticise the captain's handling in that matter? A . No.

Q. As to the third incident? A. Which was the third?

33

100 "1

MR ASH: The third incident concerned H.M.S. Rothesay? A. I think that was just an isolated error of judgment and he got out of it quite well. Q. Are those answers you have just given to the Chairman considered and true answers? A. Yes, they are. Q. Is there any doubt about that? A. No. [p. 320) THE CHAIRMAN: And in referring to these incidents in this statement, as I under­

stand it, you were not intending to make allegations as to the captain's seamanship, were you? A. No, I was not. I was just completing the picture. Q. So that as far as incidents of seamanship referred to in this document are con­

cerned you were not intending to make an attack on Captain Stevens' capability as a ship handler? A. No. I was not. MR ASH: And that answer that you have given His Honour the Chairman is a con­

sidered answer having regard to the whole of the contents and to each part of your statement, in the realm of seamanship? A. I believe so. Q. Well, is it?

A. I do not think there are any other comments on seamanship. Q. If there are, in the realm of seamanship ability, which includes ship handling and everything else - - -?

A. What do you mean by everything else? Q. Everything relating to seamanship as such? A . I do not know of any other references in it. I do not read it - - -

Q. I am not trying to trap you or to waste time going through it all: as long as we get your intention quite clear. As far as this statement of yours, annexed to the terms of reference of the inquiry is concerned relating to seamanship-do you follow me? A. Yes. Q. You say that nothing in any part of the document in question is intended as a

criticism in any way of Captain Stevens' seamanship during the period that you were under his command? A . It is not, except as I have expressed to His Honour where his temperament influenced his ship handling. Q . Only in that respect? A. That is right.

Q. Apart from the refinement or qualification about temperament affecting seamanship made in respect of some incidents, there is nothing said by you or intended to carry the meaning in this statement that he was deficient in seamanship? A. No.

Q. Is that correct? A. That is quite correct. [p. 322)

Cabban agreed that the following extract from his proof was correct: (Exhibit 182-formerly marked for identification as 'D')

Captain Stevens was inconsistent with his ship handling but I stress that there were other incidents which reflected credit on his ship handling and I learned valuable lessons from him. My own ship handling experience was not wide and my judgment is based on what I have seen rather than what I have done myself. I consider that, com­ pared to other captains, he at least held his own most of the time, and on some

occasions he was outstanding. He had his lapses, but so do most other captains. I do feel however that his lapses were inclined to be caused by flashes of sudden reckless­ ness or bad temper. [pp. 4488-89]

34

Duripg the course of the hearing we interrupted cross-examination on the naviga­ tional incidents to emphasise that Cabban bad disavowed any intention to impute incompetent seamanship to Captain Stevens (pp. 2706-8, 3521-3522). We should perhaps add that it ought not to be supposed that Cabban withdrew at the bearing what on the face of the documents are allegations of bad seamanship because

of difficulty in sustaining them. Mr Sheppard (Junior Counsel assisting the first V oyager Commission ) said in his evidence before us (pp. 851-2) that when Cabban was asked by Mr Smyth about his inclusion in his original statement to Sergeant Turner of accounts of 'near misses' (Exhibit 10) Cabban said:

. . . that all be bad meant by that was that naval manoeuvring when vessels are in close company, especially at night, bad intrinsic dangers in it, and that there were likely to arise dangerous situations by reason of the very nature of the circumstances, that is to say fast-moving vessels, lights which were perhaps either dimmed or out altogether; and that he had not meant to convey any more than this by saying that

Voyager had been involved in some near collisions the previous year. MR BURT: He was not suggesting, for instance that Captain Stevens was a dangerous driver and had got himself into unnecessarily dangerous positions? A. Certainly not. [pp. 851-852]

And in a memorandum prepared by Mr Sinclair (Junior Counsel for the Stevens family at the first Voyager Commission), which Cab ban acknowledged to be accurate the following statement is attributed to Cabban (p . 2 of Exhibit 49): During the ship's time up north in 1963, she had fi ve near misses wi th other ships.

Cabban does not suggest that these near misses were due to incompetence or error of judgment on the part of anyone on Voyager. He went into detail about two occasions, the first being when VOYAGER almost collided head-on with CAESAR when changing station on the screen of a large force covering a convoy. On the other specific occasion,

mentioned by Cabban, VOYAGER was forced into the ranks of the convoy by a Pakistani frigate which bore down on a collision course. It is interesting to note that there is no reference in his account of either of these two incidents to any part played by the captain except for 'Carry on, Cab ban'.

(c) THE ALLEGATIONS AS TO DRINKING HABITS (GENERALLY)

A reader of the 'Cabban Statement' would unquestionably get a picture of Captain Stevens as a chronic drunkard during the periods the ship was in harbour in the Far East, at Sydney after her return, and for a short period at Williamstown . We refer particularly to Paragraphs 13, 17, 20, 23 and 24. The picture of Captain Stevens painted by the document when read through from beginning to end is

that of a man who continually drank himself sick whenever Voyager was in harbour, stopped drinking only when he was incapable of drinking more, and who started drinking again as soon as he was fit enough to do so. It is said in Paragraph 13 that he became violently ill as a result of heavy drinking and ' spent days in bed being treated by the doctor and his steward until he

was fit to again start drinking.' This is referred to in Paragraph 17 as a continuing pattern which reached its climax in Tokyo. In Paragraph 24 the pattern of drinking is given as beginning with brandy in coffee at breakfast time and drinking steadily on with half tumblers of brandy topped up with water.

It is not without point to note that in the Parliamentary Debate leading up to the establishment of this Royal Commission the 'Cabban Statement' was under­ stood as clearly giving a picture of Captain Stevens as a 'chronic drunkard' (Parlia­ mentary Debates (Hansard) House of Representatives, 17 May 1967 (p. 2256)

or 'alcoholic' Hansard, House of Representatives, 16 May 1967, p.

35

2174 and 17 May 1967, ibid. p. 2278). As appears from the brief analysis of Cabban's evidence which follows, he did not assert before us that

Captain Stevens was continuously drunk and did not maintain the literal truth of the highly coloured account of Captain Stevens' drinking habits which the State­ ment contains. Cabban conceded that part of it gave a false impression and was not in fact true in its ordinary sense. We shall have occasion to consider further :n dealing with Cabban's credit to what extent the unjustifiable generalizations, exaggerations and indeed falsehoods which the Statement undoubtedly contains

were made wilfully. Our present purpose is to demonstrate th e extent to which the allegations were in fact supported by Cabban's sworn evidence before us. It must, of course, be borne in mind that he has never claimed to be able to swear to the truth of all the allegations from his own observations. He concedes the Statement was a mixture of direct observation, hearsay and impression . He was, of course, not bound by the hearsay rule in supplying information in strict confidence (as he thought ) to Vice-Admiral Hickling.

(d) COMMENTS ON S PECiFrC PARAGRAPHS OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMEt T' A. D SUMMARY OF CABBAN' S OWN EVIDENCE IN RELA TION THERETO

Paragraphs 11 and 1 2 11. The first rea l fl ash I had of understanding Captain Stevens' drinking ability or habits was in our farewell party in Sydney where it was necessa ry for his wife to tell him pu blicly that it was time to leave.

12. When the ship proceeded to sea the Captain told me that he was ill, not having been to sea for some time, so I had command of the ship for the first twenty-four hours, VAMPIRE, who was the senior ship present being informed by signal at the Captain's instruction.

In the context of the whole 'Cabban Statement' Paragraph 11 must be taken as an all egation that at the farewell party Captain Stevens had had too much to drink and that because of this it was necessary for his wife to tell him publicly that it was time to leave. In his evidence Cabban said that it was only at the end of the evening that he observed anything unu sual in the behav iour of the Captain. He said:

At the end of the eveni ng the guests were thinning out, leaving. A small group was still seated on the foreca stle-we had chairs on the deck-and Captain Stevens joined us. At th at time I noticed that he was rather slow, he was very quiet, although quite happy, I thought. He had a fai rly vacant expression on his face . . .

He said in answer to a ques tion as to whether he formed any opinion as to the Captain's sobriety 'I thought that he had had a little more to drink than I would have hoped, as my captain, at that stage' (p. 87) . In cross-examination he said that there were only about six people left out of a total number of guests of fifty and his concern was ' to clear the rest of them off .' (pp.

178-179). Cabban conceded that he did not attach the slightest importance to the incident at the time.

Cabban does not therefore assert that Captain Stevens was noticeably affected by alcohol. The statement that' it was necessary for his wife to tell him publicly that it was time to leave gives a completely false impression of the occurrence.

So far as Paragraph 12 suggests that the Captain's indisposition the next day was due to excessive drinking, this was not supported by Cabban in his evidence. He conceded that as the Captain bad not been at sea for some time he might have

36

been feeling seasick (p. 179) and said that the following extract from his proof of evidence was correct (p. 4482) : My guess at the time was that he was seasick. H e looked ill, and was complaining of a sick feeling in the stomach. [p . 9 of Exhibit 182]

Paragraph 13 13 . During the period in the Far East the situation became more than trying, it was quite desperate, as he drank for very long periods in harbour until he became

violently ill a nd then would spend days in bed being treated by the doctor and his steward until he was fit to again start drinking.

We have already referred to this Paragraph as one which would suggest that Captain Stevens was a chronic drunkard during the periods Voyager was in barbour in the Far East. Cabban did not in his evidence assert that the allegation was true in this sense. He did assert that Captain Stevens drank so heavily on some occa­ sions when Voyager was in harbour, that he became ill and had to turn in for

several days.

In referring to Captain Stevens' drinking habits generally up to the second visit to Singapore, Cabban said be was drinking slowly from about 11.30 a.m. and that b y the latter part of the day '(H) e seemed to be in a state where he could become sober if he did not drink for a while and yet he was not completely

-well, he was not incapable.' THE CHAIRMAN : I do not really follow that? A. It was a st ate between sobriety and drunkenness. It is very hard for me to be quite certain h ow se rious it was.

MR BURT: You dealt with the signs so far as they became apparent in his dress? A . Yes. His speech too. Q. In what way was that different? A . Slower, slurred to some extent, and his temperament would be affected as well. He

particularly became depressed and over-confiding at times. [p. 91 ]

The following extract from his evidence in cross-examination is important: You m a de the point that he was dri nking a lone a t times and something turned on that. You are not talking about being alone: what you are saying throughout these allega­ tions is that during some periods in harbour he drank too much?

A . I d o not think I sa id he drank too much . I said he was affected by the amount he drank. Q. This is quite clear, that you are not saying that Captai n Steve ns, in your opinion, ever drank too much, but he appeared too muc;h affected by the amount that he had

drunk? A. I think at times he drank too much. l think he was oft en affected by the amount he had drunk anyway. Q. You va ry it a little bit. You would not know on all occasions, or indeed on any

occasion, precisely how much be had drunk? A. That is right. Q. But the emphasis you put is on the effect it appeared to you to have on him? A . Yes.

Q. And that applies throughout all these days of drinking in harbour during the F ar East cruise, as a generalisation? A . Broadly, yes. [p. 190]

During the course of Cabban's evidence we endeavoured to get from him precisely what he was swearing to as to the Captain's general drinking habits, their effect on the Captain's condition and behaviour, and whether his drinking habits

37

affected the performance of the Captain's duties or endangered the ship. We quote in full the following passage from his evidence where be was asked a series of questions by the Chairman: I think once or twice in your evidence you have described the captain's condition

when Voyager was in port as being halfway between sobriety and drunkenness : do you remember saying that? A. Yes. Q. I understand that you were describing his condition in that way towards the end

of the day? A. Yes. Q. And that the drinking pattern was a drink or two before lunch at 11.30, and drink­ ing I think you said slowly in the afternoon, probably when he was working on

papers? A. Yes. Q. You do not suggest, I take it, that in the condition that you so describe Captain Stevens was incapable of carrying out such duties as be was in fact performing?

A. No. At that time he was perfec tly capable of doing anything he had to do. Q. That is to say, be was engaged on paperwork, attending to correspondence, perhaps writing out reports of proceedings and so forth: you do not suggest that be

was in any way incapable of doing those things? A. I think what I was referring to was after he had finished with his paper work in the evening, Your Honour. Q. So, is it right to say that at no time when the captain was performing duties as a

captain did you see him so affected by alcohol that you regarded him as incapable of carrying out those duties? A. I cannot remember any such occasion. Q. Well, you do not assert that there were any such occasions, do you? A. I only remember that in Karatsu I had to attend one function in lieu of him

which I mentioned was televised. THE CHAIRMAN: I am not talking about social functions at the moment. I am talking about his duties as the captain of Voyager as you saw him in port, because as I understand it you do not make the slightest suggestion that he was ever

influenced by liquor when Voyager was at sea. I am talking about his duties as a captain, apart from social functions at the moment, the duties carried out by him as a captain when the ship was in port? A. You mean actually on board the ship? Q. Yes? A. No, I cannot remember.

Q. Y au do not assert that there was any such occasion? A. No.

Q. I understand from you that at some stage in this operational cruise you became anxious about the captain's drinking habits? A. Yes. Q. And do I understand you to say that you were worried lest at some public or semi-

public occasion the captain might disgrace himself by becoming drunk? A. Exactly. Q. That is what your fe ar was? A. Yes.

Q. You have referred to his birthday party, which was not a public occasion, and you have referred to the party for the British garrison? A. Yes. Q. Is there any other public or semi-public social function where you say that the

captain was markedly under the influence of your own knowledge, from your own observation?

38

A. I cannot remember any. Q. Is it fair to say that your fears relating to this were never realised? A. No. The first one was this hearsay--Q. Refer to it for the purpose of identifying it? A. Rothesay lunch, and that was public as far as I knew by the signal traffic that I

read. The next was the forecastle wardroom party with the army group where there were civilians and military on board. Q. Yes, I have referred to that? A. Yes. There was the one to which I can only refer as the Australians in Hong Kong

association. Those are the--Q . Come back to the Rothesay incident again. You say that the captain left at 11.4S perfectly sober? A. At about that time, I believe. Q. Perfectly all right? A. Yes.

Q. And in your own words, he returned at 2 o'clock completely sober? A. 2 is my estimate. It may have been later. I only remember that I was delayed

going ashore myself and he was completely sober when he came on board. Q. In the course of your evidence you said: 'I did not know if a continuation of this situ ation would adversely affect the safety of the ship'? A. Yes.

Q. Why had you any fears for the safety of the ship knowing that Captain Stevens never drank at sea? A. Because I was also concerned, and genuinely concerned, about his health and the influence this might have upon it. I had discussed this with the doctor. THE CHAIRMAN: But at no time when the captain was actively in command of the

ship was the ship going to be at risk? A. At sea, no. We had many incidents, but not through this cause. Q. That is to say, neither through drink or ill health did you see any action on the part of the captain which endangered the ship during his command? A. Only when we reached Tokyo. Then I felt that this point had arrived.

Q. I am talking about any incident in the navigation of the ship? A. No. [pp. 479-81]

In the cou rse of cross-examination by Mr Murphy· Cabban said that 'If yo u notice. I did not use that word' (i.e. 'drunkard') 'anywhere in the statement I never said it until it was introduced by other people .' (p. 487)

In the course of his address Mr Hiatt said: This seems to be a good time to jump to paragraph 13. Again this does not allege drunkenness, although it has been sought, it would seem to us, to attribute that to Cabban. The period we apprehend to be covered by paragraph 13 is the period between

Darwin and arrival at Tokyo and excluding all events in Tokyo. That is bow it is placed by Cabban at page 2553. To make it easier, we would say Darwin to Karatsu and exclude Tokyo altogether. THE CHAIRMAN: Why do you exclude Tokyo?

MR HIATT: Because, on a fair reading of the statement, the pattern continued but it reached a climax during the visit to T okyo. That is in paragraph 17. [p. 4831]

Apart from his suggestion (p. 91) that Captain Stevens was on some occasions when Voyager was in port, affected by alcohol at the end of the day to the mild extent he describes, Cabban himself only swore to the fact of him being intoxicated during the Far Eastern Operational Cruise on two occasions-the wardroom

dinner on the 23 March and the fo'c'sle party on the 13 May . The picture of

39

Captain Stevens given by Cabban in his evidence is therefore vastly different from the picture which he gave in the tape-recording in the sense in which we have said it would ordinarily be understood.

In Cabban's original evidence in chief he did not particularise the ports in the Far East to which he claimed the allegation in Paragraph 13 applied. He had not at that stage, however, perused the Reports of Proceedings of Voyager or other documents which might have enabled him to be more specific. We gave him an opportunity to examine the Reports of Proceedings and to give further evidence as to the precise periods to wh ich he was referring in the Statement

(p. 677). When he was first recalled to give evidence on this matter (pp. 1148-1155A) he produced a chart containing a representation of calls and official duties of the Captain in harbour from which he claimed it was possible to determine the periods to which Paragraph 1 3 was capable of applying (Exhibit 7 1). This was later translated into narrative form. In answer to Lucas J. he said that looking at the chart and drawing on his recollection he had two periods of specific recollectio n when the Captain was turned in ill (other than Tokyo) . He said one was the day following the Captain's birthday (i.e., 24 March) and the other was the week-end

in Hong Kong beginning on 30 March and ending on 1 April. He said that this was either on the Monday or the Tuesday ' . it was the day the Captain

complained of acute stomach cramps and he had been sick during the week-end, before that'. (p. 1155A.) Then when Cabban was finally recalled he identified the following periods in the Far East (prior to the visit to Tokyo) when his specific recollection was that the Captain was ill:

( 1 ) On 24 March (day after the Captain's birthday dinner).

(2)

(3)

During the 'post jet period'-between 18 and 21 March at Singapore when there was an official function that Captain Stevens did not wish to attend and Cabban made arrangements to attend it because the Captain was sick.

A period of illness within the period of four days at Hong Kong from 30 March to 2 April (p. 4446). Cabban said it was not necessarily through­ out the whole four days, it might have started on the 31 March or the 1 April.

Cross-examined by Mr Ash he said he fixed the day after the Captain's birth­ day dinner as a day when the Captain was turned in ill because he recollected he did not see the Captain on the Sunday and felt that he must have received a report that he was ill (p. 4549). He said that it was on the 3 April at Hong Kong when he made his appointment with Captain Peek (p. 4550). He said that he had the feeling that the period of sickness finished on the Tuesday (i.e., 2 April)

(p. 4551). It appears that the Captain held a defaulters parade on Tuesday, 2 April. (See Punishment Records for the month of April, Serial os 105, 106, 107, 109. 111. 112.)

In another part of his evidence Cab ban said in relation to Paragraph 13:

(1) the captain's illness out of Darwin was in his miJ?d when he dictated it;

(2) that it applied to the first visit to Singapore (13 February 1963 to 25 February 1963) because having heard Commander Lancaster's evidence indicating that the Captain was still not feeling well, he felt he was

40

obviously aware of it at this stage and worried about how things were going to develop and wondering at what stage following Darwin he might be called upon to act and make any report to a senior officer; (3) it applied to Trincomalee 1 to 10 March;

( 4) it applied to the second visit to Singapore, 19 March to 25 March; ( 5) it applied to the first visit to Hong Kong-29 March 1963 to 15 April 1963; ( 6) it did not apply to the third visit to Singapore (21 April 1963 to 23 April

1963);

(7) it did not apply to Pulau Tioman, 27 April 1963 to 29 April 1963; ( 8) it did not apply to Manila, 8 May 1963 to 10 May 1963; (9) it did apply to Hong Kong, 13 May 1963 to 20 May 1963; ( 10) it did apply to Karatsu, 24 May 1963 to 28 May 1963; ( 11) it did apply to Tokyo, 5 June 1963 to 10 June 1963 (pp. 2553-2554).

As to Karatsu, Cabban when finally recalled said that in his original evidence there was nothing that he could recall at Karatsu which he thought had any bear­ ing on the Captain's behaviour, but Squadron Leader Farrelly's evidence had brought back a particular incident to him and that at all times he had a general

im pression that things were not altogether right in Karatsu (p. 4589).

Cabban was asked by the Chairman whether he was asserting the truth of the matters in Paragraph 13 from his own observations or whether he was depending on what other people might have told him. He said, 'I think most of it would have been from observation because I had obvious need to see the Captain each day'

( p. 395).

Paragraph 16 It was an extremely trying period and this stage was climaxed by the captain's birthday on which he was invited to a mess dinner as the guest of the mess. This was the

first time on which he was invited in this manner and he arrived, although I had been warned ten minutes before that be had been drinking, completely under the influence but able to walk. It was obviously necessary for us to proceed with the dinner as quickly as possible if he was to last it but unfortunately before anything

else could be done he got on his hands and knees and crawled across the mess to the table. Before soup had been finished I had to stand, make a very brief speech and take him from the mess, with the present that the mess had bought him, to his cabin. The officers and the stewards were outstandingly loyal on this occasion and a word

of this incident never reached the Fleet to my knowledge.

Cabban in his evidence swore to the truth of this accoun t of the Captain's birthday dinner.

Paragraph 17 This pattern continued but it reached a climax during the visit to Tokyo. In Tokyo the Captain became worse to a degree that we hadn't seen before and on two

occasions I took him (on one accompanied by the Engineer Officer) to steam baths to get him fit to deal with his social engagements at lunch time. One a lunch with the Japanese Admiral. But to little avail, he was carried from Captain Dollard's home after he had disgraced himself there. I've learnt subsequently from Captain

Robertson that he had in fact been sick all over the place on this occasion in Captain Dollard's home. And on the Sunday, which was the fourth day in Tokyo, he sent for me at 0630 to inform me that he would be unable to attend the church service that morning and I was to inform Captain Willis to this effect. The Captain when I saw

12078/ 68-4 41

him had his head on a pillow wiili a towel over it. The towel was soaked in vomit. I asked him if I should get the doctor because he looked wretchedly sick and he said no. I saw the doctor and the doctor said that he wouldn't treat him- that he had

warned the Captain that this would happen- and that it was his opinion that should the Captain rupture his ulcer at sea the Captain would die.

So far as the allegations in this Paragraph depend on Cabban's own observa­ tion he maintained their truth in his sworn evidence.

Paragraph 19 There is one other incident that I should mention in this period of which Mr Smythe was informed. It was a Captains' lunch in Hong Kong to which Captain Stevens was invited attended by the Captains of all R.N. ships present at the time. On this

occasion a signal arrived in VOYAGER during the lunch hour to say: 'YOUR CAPTAIN HAS PASSED OUT AND WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU WHEN HE IS FIT'. I replied asking was a doctor required and the reply came back 'NO'. The Captain did subsequently come back, said nothing and went straight to his cabin. I learned from Commander T. P. Irwin, R.N., the Engineer Officer of the ROTHSEY that the Captain had passed out on the Wardroom desk of ROTHSEY and the Captains present wanted to send him back to his ship in the condition he was,

immediately. They were absolutely disgusted and considered that he was unfit to be there. Commander Irwin prevailed on them to allow him to place Captain Stevens in his cabin until he was fit to go back and they reluctantly allowed him to do this but offered no assistance. This indicated the feeling of the Fleet at the time.

This account in the 'Cabban Statement' of this incident would certainly suggest that the Captain 'passed out' because he was intoxicated. It is recounted in the context of clear alleged instances of intoxication. Cabban's account in his evidence of the signals and of his subsequent conversation with Commander Irwin was substantially in accordance with this Paragraph. But he said in the course of his evidence that the Captain was perfectly all right when he left for the luncheon about 11. 30 or 11.45 a.m. and that he returned at 2 p.m. completely sober

(pp. 116-117 and 237). When he. was recaJled he said that it might have been later, about 4 p.m., when the Captain returned (p. 4472) .

Paragraph 20 Following the return to Sydney Captain Stevens arrived on board every morning that I was there at approximately 0800 very heavily under the influence of alcohol, told me that I had command and went to his cabin and retired for the day. He was

awakened by his steward at 1600, he commenced drinking again and carried on ashore as soon as he had sufficient to get going. I submitted my resignation at this time and he was genuinely distressed at this and surprised. My decision was not a direct result of his conduct nor do I think it was greatly influenced by it although any last

temptation I may have had to remain in the service at this stage was dispelled by this performance. Captain Stevens did not come on to the bridge after the ship left Sydney Harbour on the way to Melbourne to refit until it was ready to enter Port Phillip Bay. I had command of the ship for that stretch as well while he lay in his bunk.

In his evidence in chief Cabban gave an account of Captain Stevens showing mild signs of being affected by alcohol on some days in Sydney, but he did not support the statement in its plain meaning that the Captain came on: board drunk (pp. 142-144). The following extract from his evidence during his cross-examina­ tion is sufficiently important to quote in full:

It [i .e. Pa ragraph 20) gives a completely in accurate picture of the true fa cts to a reader, doesn't it, to take your word? A . It is not an absolutely correct statement. MR ASH: As regards its overall reading it is utterly wrong, isn't it? A. No. It would create in Admiral Hickling's mind the impression I had in mind

when I dictated it.

42

THE CHAIRMAN: But otherwise quite a false impression? A. It was, Your Honour, yes, but in essence it described what I still maintain

happened some of the time and quite a lot of the time I had command of the

ship during that period Q. It is a false impression of the captain as be was during this week in Sydney; it gives a false impression of the man for that week? A. I hope I have not implied that I think that.

Q. I would ask you to read this statement again. I will read it with you : 'Following the return to Sydney Captain Stevens arrived on board every morning that I was there at approximately 0800 very heavily under the influence of alcohol, told me that I had command and went to his cabin and retired for the day. He

was wakened by his steward at 1600, he commenced drinking again and carried on ashore as soon as he had sufficient to get going.' Q . Would you not agree that clearly gives a picture of the Captain for most of that week in Sydney being drunk and incapable day by day? A. Yes, perhaps it does. Q. It is simply not true?

A. No, that is not true. Q. And it gives an entirely wrong impression? A. Y es, Your Honour. Q. Because on at least three days of that week he had to carry out functions which

took him a considerable time? ·

A. I think the question of the time that he was active is one for confirmation. Q. I would remind you of the re-fit conference on Tuesday? A. Yes. Q. The Pakistan shield presentation on Wednesday and the defaulters parade on

Friday. There a re other matters but I remind you of those three things? A. The re-fit conference I do not think was lengthy. The Pakistan Q. It is these matters to which your attention has been drawn? A. Yes.

Q. Which leads you properly to concede that this statement gives a false impression? A. An exaggerated Q. Of the captain's behaviour during that week? A. Yes, I do.

Q. Y ou agree that it was a false impression? A . Yes, I do.

Q. I do not want any doubts about this? A. Yes. (pp. 388-9)

Cabban in his sworn evidence asserted the truth of the statement that the Captain was 'turned in' during the passage from Sydney to Port Phillip Bay and he had command. Paragraph 23 (Williamstown)

Following the ship's arrival in Williamstown the Captain spent very little time on board with me, our leaves being taken at different times. However he returned to the ship after the Court Martial of Captain W. J. Dovers of H .M.S. Sydney on

which he had been a court member together with Captain Robertson, and he travelled by train from Sydney to Melbourne with Commander B. H. Loxton, R.A.N., Captain of H. M.S. Parramatta at that time (correction, he was Captain of Y arra I believe­ which was on the opposite side of the dock from us). Commander Loxton informed

me that Captain Stevens had drunk a bottle of brandy on the train on the way down. This statement didn't surprise me in the least. When I saw the Captain in his cabin having missed him on the gangway he expressed regret that I hadn't met him and was obviously well advanced on a bottle of brandy. At 1600 his steward came into the

mess and asked for another bottle of brandy for the Captain. I knew that the first

43

0 1 ''"1

bottle had been full and asked if he had finished that and the steward said yes. At 1900 I called in to the Captain's cabin to see if he was all right and he had half

consumed this which would have been his th ird bottle of brandy since leaving Sydney on the previous night. The next morning the steward came for me from the Captain to say that the Captain was sick and I found the Captain in the usual condition with a very vomit-soaked towel under his head, looking dreadful. He said that he was very sick and to send the leading sick berth attendant to him as it would be about a week before he was on deck again. This was a fairly accurate assessment as be was in fact inside hi s cabin for the next seven days although he was able to start drinking brandy again on about the fourth day taking it very gently. At this stage we had a new ship's company of recruits and it was important that they shouldn't have this knowledge of their Captain. Unfortunately the stewards were new and I didn't know if I could rely entirely on their discretion and loyalty. However, at the time I had no indication that this didn't prevail.

Cabban swore to the truth of the allegations in this paragraph so far as the alleged statement made to him by Captain Loxton was concerned. In his evidence in chief he said that Captain Stevens said ' I would have the ship for

the next week;' and that for the first 3 or 4 days the Captain was in his

bunk and then sat in a · chair in his cabin and was drinking again about the third or fourth day (p. 148). But in cross-examination he accepted the position that these 7 days inside the cabin as originally explained could have consisted of 1 or 2 days illness plus a period of partial command, including defaulters' parades, for the next 2 days and then 3 days, to make up the total of 7, away from the ship altogether' (p. 442/ 3).

This answer was given after it bad become clear that it could not be the fact that Captain Stevens was confined to his cabin for 7 days. This is a matter which inevitably affects the reliability to be attached to his evidence.

Paragraph 21 I'm sorry, I completely omitted the fact that immediately following our departure from Tokyo Captain Stevens told me that I bad command of the ship for the next five days. That he wouldn't be coming from his cabin and my command was complete and I

was to inform all the officers but not to send any signals indicating my command. He directed me that he was not to be disturbed on any account by anybody and this is exactly what happened. We were with the British F ar East Fleet and running before a typhoon carrying out exercises.

F r0rn the time he first gave evidence about th is allegation (pp. 129-132 and 592) Cabban has steadily maintained he was unequivocally placed in command for a finite period of 5 day s. We shall refer to the relevant evidence of Cabban and others in some detail in another part of this Report.

Paragraph 3

During the work-up Commander Willis had expressed the opinion quite strongly that the N avigating Officer was a poor ship handler. This is important because Captain Stevens on the first occasion that he took VOYAGER alongside collided with VAMP IRE and subsequently rarely, if ever, handled the ship personally again , in my time on board , entering or leaving harbour, leaving it to Lt Griffiths on almost every occasion. On two occasions I handled it leaving harbour and entering harbour in the Far East and on the last occasion that I left harbour in a ship, which was from Sydney

to Melbourne, I was given command. At that time I thought of it as a very ge nerous gesture although the Captain was visibly affected by alcohol, on this occasion the time being 0800.

Cabban asserted the truth of all these statements in his sworn evidence. As to the last sentence of the Paragraph, he said that when the ship left Sydney to go to Williamstown he thought that the Captain was under the influence of alcohol and that ' (H) ad he been a junior officer I would not have permitted him to carry

44

out his duty because I would have considered anyone less capable

of holding his drink could not have been in a responsible position.'

He further said that (H)e had been very cheerful and quite suddenly

his animation left him. He was not steady on his feet after he had been on the bridge for a few moment and also smelled of alcohol' (p. 1154).

Paragraph 24

Mr Smythe asked me in his chambers in Phillip Street in the office near where the inquiry was held at what time Captain Stevens started drinking and I replied that if he was having one of his periods of drinking he would have brandy in his coffee at breakfast time and go steadily on from then. This is not an exaggeration but is applied,

as I say, to the periods when he was drinking. On these occasions when he drank he was inclined to become under the influence very quickly and he drank very large glasses of alcohol. His standard brandy on these occasions would be almost half a tumbler full of brandy topped up with water.

In the context of what precedes it, this Paragraph can only be interpreted as particularising the day by day drinking habits of Captain Stevens when Voyager was in port. It gives a picture of a man starting each day during a drinking bout taking brandy in his coffee at breakfast and going ' ... steadiiy on from then'. When one adds to this the assertions that '(H)is standard brandy on these occasions would be almost half a tumbler full of brandy topped up with

water' and that '(O)n these occasions when he drank he was inclined to become under the influence very quickly .. .', the only reasonable interpretation that can be given to this part of the tape-recording (in the context of the rest of it including the statement that the Captain never drank at sea) is that its author is portraying him as an intermittent compulsive alcoholic.

But as in the case of other parts of the tape-recording Cabban's sworn evidence fell far short of supporting what he dictated.

He did state on oath that the Captain ' ... tended to have, if he was drinking from a tumbler, which was quite normal in the cabin, it would be 2 inches or so of brandy in the tumbler, almost half a tumbler, filled up with water' (p. 92). In cross-examination he adhered to his statement that he saw the Captain drink 2

inches to half a glass (8t oz or a goblet) of brandy with water (p. 211).

Cabban gave no evidence that it was the Captain's ordinary habit to drink brandy with coffee at breakfast. We interpret Paragraph 24 as a general statement of the Captain's drinking habits on all occasions of heavy drinking in port alleged in the 'Cabban Statement'. But in Cabban's sworn evidence he only recounted one

instance of the Captain having brandy in his coffee at breakfast. He pinpointed this occasion as 6 June when Voyager was in Tokyo. We quote the following extract from his evidence: Can you recall, on the morning of 6 June, the day after you arrived in Tokyo,

having coffee with the Captain? A. Yes. MR BURT: At what time of the day did it take place? A. Immediately after colours.

Q. 0800 hours plus? A. Yes. Q. How did it come about? A. I went in to discuss the Captain's official programme with him, to arrange transport

and ceremonial procedures. He asked me if I would like a· cup of coffee, and I said yes I would.

45

Q. What happened, if anything, associated with that incident? A . He said to Leading Steward Freeman, 'Freeman, get the first-lieutenant a cup of coffee like mine' and Leading Steward Freeman gave me a cup of coffee that was heavily laced with brandy. Q. Did you remark on this to Captain Stevens? A . He said to me, 'This gets you back on the road'. Q. Had you ever had a drink of that sort with the Captain before that occasion? A. No, I had not.

Q. How did the Captain look at this time, in his health and so on? A. He did not look very well. Q. Would you say why-not why in terms of ca use, but what was it about him that leads you to say that? A. His face was pale and he looked haggard. [pp. 123-4]

He made some suggestion that the next morning when he saw the Captain he was drinking brandy in his coffee but he was not sure (p. 126). He did say that the following morning the Captain told him he felt sick. 'He looked very drawn and shaken and his general demeanour was that of somebody very sick.

MR BURT: When you say sick do you mean simply ill, unassociated with the present influence of alcohol, or do you mean that he was then to a degree under the

influence of alcohol? A. I do not think he was then to a degree under the influence of alcohol'. [p. 126]

His evidence in cross-exarninaton suggests that he regarded this as an unusual incident (pp. 250-1).

It is fair to add that the Captain's steward, Freeman, said that on a few occasions he served the Captain with coffee with an ounce or less of brandy added (p. 1264). He said he thought he had done this before Tokyo (p. 1272). That there were such occasions during the cruise is also corroborated by the cabin hand Irvine (p. 1395-6).

(e) SUMMARY

The 'Cabban Statement' as it would be understood by any ordinary reader, paints a picture of the late Captain Stevens as a man who continuously drank himself sick whenever Voyager was in port during the Far Eastern operational cruise up to her visit to Tokyo from 5 to 10 June 1963. It particularises his drinking habits by saying that during these periods of heavy drinking he began the day by taking brandy in his coffee and continuing on during the day. In fact the Statement brands Captain Stevens as an intermittent chronic drunkard or alcoholic, but at the same time emphasising that the Captain never drank at sea.

Cabban's sworn evidence given before us is in sharp contrast to his account of Captain Stevens given in the tape-recording. From his own personal observation he only swore to two instances of clear intoxication (the officers' wardroom party given in honour of the Captain's birthday on 23 March and the fo'c'stle party on Voyager for a British Army group on 13 May 1963). He referred to the Captain's drinking habits in his day cabin from time to time, and suggested that

he was mildly affected by alcohol but capable of carrying out his duties. So far as hearsay incidents are concerned he only referred to the occasion on 6 April at Hong Kong when the Captain is alleged to have been carried on board by some ratings, and the occasion of Captain Dollard's party when it was said the Captain

had 'disgraced himself'.

46

PART E-TERM OF REFERENCE 1

SECTION 1-INTRODUCTION

The nature and purpose of the Inquiry-The medical history of Captain Stevens and other relevant material forming an essential background and setting for an understanding of the findings of fact relating to the Cabban allegations.

This Term of Reference requires us to inquire into and report upon the following question: Whether any of the allegations made by Lieutenant-Commander P. T. Cab ban in the document attached regarding the drinking habits and seamanship of Captain

D. H. Stevens were true and being true established that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command of H.M.A.S. Voyager?

( 1) The governing factor in the inquiry into and report upon this question is the 'Cabban Statement'. So far as the drinking habits and seamanship of the late Captain Stevens are concerned, the allegations contained in this Statement relate to a period commencing in early January 1963 and ending in December 1963 as Cab ban left H.M.A.S. Voyager on 2 January 1964.

Paras 1 and 2 of the Statement do not relate either to the drinking habits or seamanship of Captain Stevens.

Paras 25, 27, 28, 29 and 36 make reference, directly or indirectly, to drink in relation to Captain Stevens but they are matters which in substance concern Question 3. Para. 25 , however, does contain the important statement that Captain Stevens did not and under no circumstances would drink at sea.

Paras 26, 32, 33 , 34 and 35 are irrelevant to the matters into which

we are directed to inquire.

(2) It follows that the inquiry is whether such of the allegations relating to this period of January to December 1963 as are found to be true establish that Captain Stevens ( a) was unfit,

(b) to retain command, (c) of H.M.A.S. Voyager.

( 3) The question at once arises : as at what point or points of time is the fitness or unfitness of Captain Stevens to be determined? In this connection it should be borne in mind that the inquiry is directed to 'allegations' regarding

(a) 'drinking habits', and (b) 'seamanship'. This phraseology is inapt to connote a single instance or a very restricted number of instances so separated in time as not to be regarded as capable of constituting an habitual course of conduct. The phrase 'drinking habits' refers to a settled practice of drinking; and 'seamanship' is a compound word which denotes the

skill of some person in controlling a vessel at sea. So far as seamanship is con­ cerned, one or more isolated incidents in which an error of navigation could be established on the part of a captain of a destroyer, would not necessarily demon­ strate that the captain did not possess the accomplishment of seamanship so as to render him unfit to retain command of that destroyer. This would appear to be

47

1021

recognised by Cabban himself in Para. 30 of his Statement, in his evidence and to be supported by other evidence. It could be said to be common ground at the Inquiry. Similarly, in relation to alcohol, whilst, if it were shown that a destroyer captain was on one occasion to some degree under its influence, that fact might lead, according to all the circumstances of the case (i.e. the degree of the impact of the alcohol and whether it was consumed and whether its effects were made apparent on ship or on shore, in harbour or at sea, in public or in private), to a warning, or reprimand or a courtmartial; but, it could not be predicated of such a captain that, ex necessit ate, he was unfi t to retain command of his ship.

( 4) Accordingly it appears to us from the form of the question itself that, whilst we must ascertain where the truth lies in relation to each of the allegations contained in the 'Cabban Statement', the ultimate and main purpose is the deter­ mination of the question of fitness and th at the allegations are ancillary to that principal problem. Hence we take the view that we are directed to inquire into a course of conduct over the period from January to December 1963 and to come to a conclusion as to fitness or unfitness as at the end of that period. But to approach Question 1 in this way does not require us to exclude from our con­ sideration the evidence which is available to us from events which occurred after December 1963 where they tend to shed light upon the conclusions to be drawn in relation to the period covered by the 'Cabban Statement'. Having the benefit of hindsight provided by relevant incidents beyond the area of the Cabban allegations it is imperative that we should take them into our consideration. It seems to us that this view is strengthened by two matters beyond the framework of Question 1 itself and these are:

(i) the nature of Question 2, and (ii) the genesis of our inquiry.

As to (i): Firstly, it could never be successfully asserted that the Naval Board were at fault in failing to relieve Captain Stevens of the command of H.M.A.S. Voyager, even upon the assumption that the Board had knowledge of one or more isolated instances of fault in the navigation of the ship, in light of the uncon­ tradicted evidence. Secondly, and more importantly, 'unfitness' on an isolated occasion far removed in point of time from 10 February 1964, could scarcely be envisaged as a valid reason for a variation in the findings of Sir John Spicer, e.g. if it were shown to be the fact that Captain Stevens had partaken of an undue amount of alcohol on his birthday on 23 March 1963.

As to (ii): We do not think that we should overlook what is common know­ ledge, namely, that the present inquiry came into being because of the assertion of the possibility that the collision between H.M.A.S. Melbourne and H .M.A.S. Voyager on the evening of 10 February 1964 was caused or contributed to by unfitness of Captain Stevens to command H.M.A.S. Voyager on that night (cf.

Hansard (16 May 1967) pp. 2143 et seq.); and it stands to reason that no such assertion could be entertained if it depended for its validity upon some incident far removed in point of time from the date of the collision when thereafter Captain Stevens had demonstrated an ample ability to command H .M.A.S. Voyager.

(5) Next we turn to the words 'unfit to retain command of H.M.A.S. Voyager (cf. Hansard (18 May 1967) p. 2309). The words 'retain command' connote the idea of a 'continuance in command'. It should be observed that these words are

48

not .'unfit to continue to be a captain in the Royal Australian Navy' or 'unfit to continue in command of any ship'. At the end of December 1963 it was known that H.M.A.S. Voyager was undergoing a refit at Williamstown in order to return to sea exercises under the command of Captain Stevens and in this context we are directed to inquire as to his fitness or otherwise to retain his command of that

very ship. In one sense; when a captain has been appointed to command a naval vessel, he is, during the term of his appointment, always in command of that ship whether he is on board the ship or whether he is performing some duties ashore. But, having regard to the fact, as we have pointed out above, that the

events of 10 February 1964 constitute the mainspring of the inquiry which we are directed to make, we have concluded that this question refers essentially to 'sea command' of H.M.A.S. Voyager. That is not to say, we hasten to point out, that the behaviour of Captain Stevens ashore during January to December 1963 is

irrelevant to the question of his fitness to retain sea command of H.M.A.S. Voyager after December 1963. Accordingly, we are of the opinion that we are directed to inquire into the fitness or otherwise of Captain Stevens to continue to exercise sea command of H.M.A.S. Voyager for a period reasonably connected

in point of time with the end of December 1963.

(6) We have already in Part D Section 5 (b) referred to Cabban's express di s­ avowal of any intention in his account of incidents of seamanship in the 'Cabban Statement' to su ggest that Captain Stevens was incompetent or unfit in his sea command. Nor did any one el se suggest that these or any other incidents suggested

such unfitness. We therefore leave aside these incidents for the purposes of our present consideration of Question 1. We will in a separate Section of our Report make brief findings of fact in relation to them.

In the remaining part of this Section and in Section 2, 5 and 6 of this Part we therefore deal only with the issue of unfitness to retain sea command in the light of the late Captain Stevens' drinking habits and health.

(7) Then what is intended by the word 'unfit' itself, in this context? It would, of course, be possible to assert of a naval officer that he was unfit to exercise command at sea of a vessel if, despite the fact that his physical health was otherwise in no way affected, he was either a chronic alcoholic or drank

to excess with a sufficient degree of regularity or was known to make a practice of drinking at sea even with the utmost moderation. It would also be possible to make a similar assertion of a naval officer who, whilst he did not drink at all at sea and did not regularly drink to excess on shore, nevertheless partook of alcohol on shore with such sufficient regularity as to have such an impact upon his physical

health with the result that, when he went to sea, his ability to exercise sea command of a naval vessel was adversely affected.

During the course of the Inquiry it became apparent that the evidence could not possibly sustain a finding that the late Captain Stevens was frequently intoxi­ cated, let alone a chronic drunkard or alcoholic, and the essential issue that emerged was whether he had become physically unfit to retain sea command of Voyager

by reason of periodic re-activations of his duodenal ulcer to which consumption of alcohol had contributed. In considering whether the late Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command at a point reasonably connected in time with December 1963, it is therefore necessary to assess the potential risk of future re-activations

of his ulcer condition in the light of the events of the cruise and his past history.

49

If in December 1963 he was subject to recurring re-activations of his ulcer as a real possibility, he must be taken to be unfit to retain sea command because of the potential risk involved, notwithstanding that he appeared to those around him to be physically fit and may in fact have been physically fit over substantial periods. In this connection it is important to understand exactly what degree of physical and mental fitness is required of a Captain in command of a 'Daring' class destroyer engaged in the type of seafaring operations that Voyager was. We would adopt the criteria suggested by Mr Samuels when he submitted that-

The criteria are these, it is suggested, and we submit. Firstly: physical fitness, sound sight and hearing, alertness and endurance and the absence of any debilitating disease or chronic defect. Second: mental fitness, alertness and endurance, ability to think soundly in face of emergency, ability to think accurately during any phase of command.

Thirdly, professional fitness; that is to say, knowledge of a hi ghly specialised job and how to execute it to a .high level of efficiency. There we would again refer, if we may, to something which fell from Your Honour Mr Justice Asprey to this effect: it is no good having a high level of professional fitne ss if for some reason you are

prevented from applying it, because it is lost, wasted. As an instance, the captain in his bunk; it does not matter bow good be is when he is on the bridge. Similarly, if you have a captain on the brid ge who is potentially of a hi gh level of professional fitness but in the event, on the day, for some reason he is incapable of a ppl ying it, then of course in effect you have an incompetent captain. [pp. 5360-1]

It will be seen at once that the standard of fitness required of a naval captain exercising sea command is ex virtute officii of a very high order. He may fail to maintain this exacting standard of fitn ess without any fault on his part. Illness or instances of insobriety which may not seriously affect the fi tness of many members of the community holding responsible positions ashore may, nevertheless, result in a naval officer being unfit to re.tain sea command of a destroyer.

(8) Accordingly in order to evaluate the possible unfitness of Captain Stevens t::> retain sea command by reason of his drinking habits, it is essential to attempt to obtain a true perspective of him in relation to consumption of alcohol as possibly affecting his health and consequently his fitness according to the standard we

have adopted. For this purpose it is incumbent upon us to commence at a point of time considerably before 31 January 1963.

(9) Except for one occasion in 1941 when he was a Sub-Lieutenant, aged 20, on active service during World War II in the Mediterranean (and as to which the evidence is equivocal) no evidence of over-indulgence in alcohol on the part of Captain Stevens prior to 1963 arises for consideration. It is very difficult to believe

that in the years prior to January 1963 he was a man who had such a weakness for alcohol that he was unable to behave in relation to it in the same manner as the average person who partakes of it, and the evidence points the other way. Up to January 1963 he was continuously under the observation and supervision of senior naval officers, either Australian or British, and he was in constant and close association with his fellow officers and other naval personnel. Whenever

the occasion presented itself he himself actively participated in vigorous sporting activities of various kinds and made a point of organising such games for the men under his command. He was regarded as a dedicated naval officer and one who was keenly anxious to succeed in his chosen profession. Though given opportunities

to leave the Navy for what may be supposed to have been greater material benefits in civilian life--opportunities which, through the position in the business world of his father Sir Jack Stevens, may have been more advantageous than would

50

have been available to most other naval officers--be preferred to pursue his career in the Navy. His progress as a naval officer was accompanied by the good reports of numerous of his seniors whose duty it was to observe him. Such evidence as was given in this Inquiry as to his behaviour in England during his attendances at the Staff College and at the Admiralty, e.g. by Admiral McNicoll and Captain Robertson, is consistent only with normal behaviour. It is scarcely to be supposed that his promotions in the service and ultimately to the important rank of captain

would have come about bad his conduct not been exemplary. He drank liquor but in moderation. Since May 1949 be had been a happily married man with a child of his own and a step-son. So far as is known-and the evidence supports it-he bad no domestic or financial worries. His only concern was to make a

personal success of his naval career.

(1 0) On 31 December 1962 Captain Stevens bad taken a marked step forward in his chosen path, he was promoted to Captain and early in January 1963 assumed command of H.M.A.S. Voyager . During the period of the crui se l e appears to have continued without domestic or financial worries. He wrote daily to his wife. The evidence is overwhelming that he ran a taut, well-disciplined

and happy ship. Except for the specific incidents to which later reference will be made, hi s dress and behaviour were impeccable and du ri ng the cruise of H.M.A.S. Voyager, where his command was reviewed by th ose who were obliged to report upon it, senior naval officers, in both the Royal and Royal Australian Navies, described his command as efficient and successful, both at sea and ashore. It is not alleged that during the 1963 cruise to the Far East be had suddenly become

a chronic alcoholic. The cruise of H.M.A.S. Voyager occupie d from 31 January 1963 to 3 August 1963, a period of 184 days of which we calculate that approxi­ mately 98 days were spent at sea. It is common ground at this Inquiry that Captain Stevens did not drink alcoholic liquor at any time whilst the ship was at

sea throughout the cruise. This appears to have been his rule throughout his naval life. It is asserted that on specific occasions whilst the ship was in harbour on this cruise he was adversely affected by liquor and that the excessive consumption of alcohol on these occasions resulted at times in illness which prevented him from exercising active command of his ship at sea. These were occasions, if, for the

moment, it be assumed that the assertions are true, which reveal an aspect of Captain Stevens so out of keeping with his general character and behaviour over a long period of naval service, as to demand some reasoned explanation. They cannot be accounted for simply on the basis that Captain Stevens either chose to

drink too much or was indifferent to the effects of alcohol upon him; nor can they be resolved as being the effects of alcohol upon a person for whom alcohol was a novel experience. The number of days which H. M. A. S. Voyager spent in harbour during the cruise we estimate to be approximately eighty-six. The fact that a destroyer is in barbour in the Far East does not mean that its captain can spend

his time in rest and relaxation. Each day he bas multifarious tasks to perform in the ship and on many of the days he has duties on shore which require his attend­ ance upon senior official persons whom, in tum, he must receive in his ship. It is expected of him that he should attend functions of an official or quasi-official

character and to participate in sporting activities for his crew or to encourage them by his patronage. We will return to the many demands upon the time of Captain Stevens in harbour in more detail later. But these considerations and the evidence show that we are not dealing with a compulsive alcoholic. The incidents in the

'Cabban Statement' which allege excessive drinking on the part of Captain Stevens

51

only relate to a small number of occasions out of a total of 86 days in

harbour. In themselves they could not constitute such a settled practice as to £all within the category of a habit of drinking alcohol to excess.

(11) Now, whilst Captain Stevens may have had no domestic or financial worries, he did encounter a serious problem of health from a very early stage. An examination of his medical record in the Royal Australian Navy reveals (inter alia) the following diagnoses:

9. 2.36-Gastro enteritis 25. 6.36-Gastro enteritis 24. 5.41-Gastro enteritis 4. 2.45-Gastro enteritis 30.10.46-Acute gastroenteritis

2.12.50-Acute gastritis 14.12.50-Acute gastritis 2 . 7.55-Gastro enteritis (pain in abdomen and vomiting) 31. 7.57-Gastro enteritis

It may be interpolated here that when Sir William Morrow read the report of Dr McLeod-Murphy which relates to the Mediterranean incident of 1941, he said: 'Well, I could not deny that perhaps this could be explained on the grounds of acute gastritis, although it would be very unusual. It would be much more likely to me that, even in 1941, Captain Stevens had an ulcer' (pp. 4509A-10).

Retired Surgeon-Commander McNeill, who had become friendly with Captain Stevens on Manus Island, states than in 1954 Captain Stevens' ... was complain­ ing of symptoms of an ulcer: in particular, pain and vomiting of food' (p. 1 of Exhibit 65: transcript 933), that in January-June 1955, whilst he was at H.M.A.S. Penguin, Captain Stevens was still complaining of pain and vomiting and was then and for some time past had been taking amphogel (p. 4 of Exhibit 65: transcript 935-6) . Dr McNeil stated that that state of affairs was true up to

1956 (p. 936). He continued to complain of stomach trouble up into the year 1958 and took antacids for its relief.

On 11 May 1959, whilst he was executive officer of H.M.A.S. M elbourne, Captain Stevens became ill and was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital at Hong Kong with, according to the hospital records bearing the signature of a Royal Navy medical specialist, 'a typical history of duodenal ulceration'. He was diagnosed, after X-ray examination, as having a duodenal ulcer and, after some three weeks of treatment in hospital in Hong Kong, was transferred by air to the naval hospital in Sydney. An X-ray report made in Sydney on 9 June 1959 reads: 'No organic lesion detected in the oesophagus, stomach or duodenum. The duo­ denal cap now appears quite regular and no ulcer crater is visible'. For some months Captain Stevens adhered to a very rigid diet and ceased smoking and the taking of alcohol. On 5 November 1959 a medical specialist who examined him reported

that he had remained free of symptoms since his last X-ray, that he was avoiding condiments, fried foods and alcohol, that he had stopped smoking and was gaining weight and that he was now fit for full duties Category 'A'. On 15 December 1959 Captain Stevens was medically examined and passed as fit for service abroad for a period of two years and in January 1960 he proceeded to England to further his naval experience where he remained until the end of 1962.

52

Up to the period of hospitalisation in Hong Kong in 1959 his widow described Captain Stevens as having a fairly consistent symptom of what she called 'indiges­ tion' (p. 4041). This is in keeping with the history given to the medical examiners by Captain Stevens himself in 1959. He recommenced drinking alcohol in modera­ tion in about November 1959 and tended to confine his drinking to spirits and water. After 1959 he drank quite a lot of milk. He always kept a supply of amphogel on hand (pp. 4042-3). During his term in London which ended just

prior to the 1963 cruise, Mrs Stevens said that'. (h)e would be uncomfort­ able at times with indigestion or flatulence' but that he did not complain of pain (p. 4044). These symptoms, however, were precisely the same symptoms which he had experienced for some eleven years prior to 1959 according to a history which he gave to a medical specialist in Sydney in June 1959. Mrs Stevens was with him throughout this period in England and prepared the meals which he

ate at home. She said that she always avoided anything greasy or anything highly seasoned (p. 4044). She described him as a moderate drinker and that when, for instance, he drank brandy he would take about i in of brandy with a lot of ice and water in a long glass. Mrs Stevens said that occasionally in the period before February 1964 he suffered from stomach pains which he treated with brandy and

water (p. 4049). Sir Jack Stevens said that he had personal knowledge that after 1959 Captain Stevens drank milk frequently and '. (e)xperienced on odd occasions a stomach disturbance which he complained of usually

after food' (p. 4225). Captain Robertson was with Captain Stevens at the Royal Naval Staff College in 1962 and he saw him on various occasions and observed that Captain Stevens appeared to be normal in every respect (p. 655). His friend, Surgeon-Commander McNeill, thinks that he can recall that Captain Stevens told him that he had had no exacerbations of his ulcer during this period of nearly three years in England (p. 960).

( 12) The evidence clearly establishes that during the Far Eastern cruise Captain Stevens suffered from what we will for the moment term 'a stomach disorder'. We propose in this paragraph and in the following paragraphs of this part of the Report to refer to instances of illness which cannot be described as attributable to

alcoholic excess. Their relationship to the intake of alcohol on the part of Captain Stevens we shall discuss subsequently.

Commander Lancaster, who had known of the stomach troubles of Captain Stevens in 1959 and who in 1963 was on loan to the Malaysian Navy and the Executive Officer at the Naval Base at Singapore, entertained both Captain G. J. Willis and Captain Stevens to an evening meal at his home on 13 February 1963

(which was the day the destroyers arrived at Singapore on their first visit to that port). On that occasion Commander Lancaster was told by Captain Stevens that he was having a recurrence of his stomach trouble. Captain Stevens at first refused an alcoholic drink and drank all the fresh milk in the house which is both difficult

to come by and expensive in Singapore. After the milk and a meal had been con­ sumed, Captain Stevens drank a brandy or whisky, particularly asking for a very thin drink which was served to him in a very long glass of a larger size than the others present were using. He had two, or perhaps three, of these drinks (pp.

1949-50, 1952).

On the second visit of H.M.A.S. Voyager to Singapore (19 March 1963 to 25 March 1963), on another visit to the Lancaster home for dinner, which the Commander can identify as Thursday, 21 March 1963, a separate course, e.g. an

53

1

omelette was prepared for Captain Stevens at his request instead of the food which had been cooked in the Chinese or Malaysian fashion (p. 1593). On that same evening Captain Stevens informed Mrs Lancaster that he had been invited by his officers to dine with them on the following Saturday (23 March 1963) on board the Voyager in the wardroom. He told Mrs Lancaster that he was not look­ ing forward to this because at this stage his stomach was 'playing up' and this was going to cause him a certain amount of discomfort in that it meant the full gamut of wines and four or five courses, and he was apprehensive of the effect it would have upon him. It seems that he informed Mrs Lancaster that he was conscious of the honour to be paid to him and that he felt it would be churlish of him to refuse the invitation (pp. 1593-4). The evening of 23 March 1963 is the important incident described as the 'Captain's Birthday Dinner' which will be recounted in some detail later herein.

On the occasion of the third of the ship's visits to Singapore (21 April 1963 to 23 April 1963) Commander Lancaster described Captain Stevens as having changed in appearance. He said that he did not look as fit as he had done before, his mouth was turned down, he had a drawn look, his cheeks were a little hollow and he seemed to have lost some weight (p. 19 51 ) .

On the last visit to Singapore ( 11 July 1963 to 20 July 1963) Captain Stevens visited the home of Commander Lancaster at least twice. Of the first of these occasions Commander Lancaster said: 'I think he seemed to suffer that night' (p. 1954). On another occasion during a day's outing with the Lancaster family he refused to drink beer and consumed the orange squash which had been pro­ vided for Miss Lancaster (p. 1955) .

During the first visit of H.M.A.S. Voyager to Hong Kong (29 March 1963 to 15 April 1963) Surgeon Commander McNeill was the Fleet medical officer on board H.M.A.S. Melbourne which was also in Hong Kong at that time and he saw Captain Stevens on several occasions on board Voyager. Captain Stevens

told McNeill that he had been in pain and had been vomiting (p. 938). He told him that he got intense pain periodically (p. 999), and that he was taking amphogel constantly in a dosage of ! spoonfuls which is double the normal dose (p. 242-3) . McNeill described these symptoms as 'a pre-ulcer state' to indicate no actual ulcer but an inflammation of the membrane of the stomach which, if ignored, might lead to the development of an ulcer (pp. 939-40). In his evidence before us we formed the impression that McNeill was endeavouring to minimise the seriousness of Captain Stevens' illness in Hong Kong, but he ultimately agreed that his statement to Captain Benson (a member of the House of Representatives whom he telephoned during the Voyager Debate) that Captain Stevens '

(h)ad a serious stomach condition at times the pain was so great that

the man was forced to double over and to gasp for breath' was substantially correct (p. 998). Cabban gave evidence that, after the ship arrived in Hong Kong, Captain Stevens at colours on the upper deck of Voyager said to the officers present that

' (h)e had had a crook stomach and he was doubling up with pain' and

that he told Cab ban that he intended to see Surgeon Commander McNeill (p. 103). There are other specific occasions which cannot be described as a condition of over-indulgence in alcohol, e.g. the luncheon hosted by Captain Place R.N. on H.M.S. Rothesay in Hong Kong on 16 May 1963 and Captain Dollard's picnic in Tokyo on 8 June 1963. These will be given a detailed description later herein as they fall within the scope of the 'Cabban Statement'.

54

Lyading Steward Freeman, who was the Captain's steward throughout the cruise, stated that at sea Captain Stevens regularly took amphogel and that the Captain had informed him that he had a 'crook stomach' (p. 1272-3). The sick berth attendant McDonald spoke of the Captain getting bottles of amphogel from him 'pretty frequently' and 'a fairly large quantity of it' by way of an extra

supply, stocked in the ship (p. 3154). When he took his meals on board Voyager he endeavoured to avoid fatty and greasy foods and to adhere to a bland diet (p. 3156). Able Seaman Murray, who spent many evenings in the Asdic Control Room on H.M.A.S. Voyager which was near the Captain's sea cabin and a toilet nearby, stated that at the latter end of the cruise he heard the Captain retching in

the toilet on a number of times at night whilst the ship was at sea. Murray said that this might have been heard by him for two or three times and then there might have been an interval of two or three weeks before he would hear him again (p. 4335). Murray was understandably vague about periods and times but he

impressed us as an honest witness.

There is other evidence to the effect that Captain Stevens had a stomach disorder during the cruise. Captain Boase of H.M.A.S. Yarra refers to a private social call on board his ship which Captain Stevens made on 7 April 1963 in Hong Kong when Captain Stevens refused a parting drink, putting his hand over

his diaphragm and saying words to the effect: 'This won't let me'. In Hong Kong Captain Boase attended various engagements at which Captain Stevens was present and, for reasons which he gave, gained the impression that Captain Stevens was suffering from some stomach ailment ( p. 2 of Exhibit 117). Early in the voyage

in the Far East, according to Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie, Captain Stevens said: 'My stomach is giving me a bit of hell today'. This, or words to that effect, were spoken by Captain Stevens to Blaikie at least once more and again after Tokyo (pp. 2719, 2728). Blaikie was the Supply Officer on Voyager and Captain

Stevens asked him to do something about the greasy food which did not suit him (p. 2741). Lieutenant Holmes stated that the Captain made no secret of a stomach disorder which troubled him from time to time (p. 3 of part Exhibit 135). There is evidence from other witnesses (e.g. Lieutenant Martin) who refer to the appearance

of the Captain as a man who was not well and to complaints made by him of stomach pain during the cruise (pp. 1158-9). It would appear that to many on H .M.A.S. Voyager, from an early stage in the journey to the Far East, it was no secret that Captain Stevens had a stomach disability. A letter written by the

widow of Captain Stevens to Dr Tiller on 27 May 1967 contains this important paragraph

Duncan and I were very close to each other & I knew from his letters that his

ulcer worried him from time to time. After official social occasions he knew he would suffer-which he did I am sure-but this is very different to drunkenness. [Exhibit 165]

Further, Captain Stevens did confess to Sir William Morrow whom he con sulted on 23 September 1963 that he had suffered pain or discomfort at times prior to the date of the consultation. That the Captain was generally able to take a fully active role in the life of ·the ship and its crew both at sea and on shore but at other times was disabled from so doing would appear to us to be consistent wi th the nature of the disability from which he suffered and, as will appear hereinafter,

the allegations with regard to an excessive consumption of alcohol require close examination in relation to the conduct of the Captain on each separate occasion.

55

( 13) On the return of Captain Stevens to Sydney on 3 August 1963 Mrs Stevens. said that he had lost a considerable amount of weight and that he looked very ti red and drawn (p. 4051) . Sir Jack Stevens also noticed the loss of weight and made a 'very strong suggestion' that he should be overhauled by Sir William Morrow in view of the importance of health to a naval officer (p. 4226). Although Sir Jack Stevens stated that he was not worried about his son's health at that stage, the fact that he gave that advice to Captain Stevens in such terms indicates. that at the end of this cruise his father could not have regarded him as a man in a normal state of health.

( J 4) On 10 August 1963 H .M.A.S. Voyager departed for Williamstown (Victoria) where it underwent a refit programme until 23 January 1964. The week in Sydney from 3 August 1963 to 10 August 1963 is the subject of allega­ tions in the 'Cabban Statement' as to a period of very excessive drinking on the part of Captain Steve ns which, as will be shown later, are not made out. However, it is a period when Captain Stevens was doubtless made very busy with social obligations in his home port in addition to his duties on board ship and with the proposals for the ship's refitting. Being ashore each late afternoon and evening, it would appear that, whilst there is no evidence that he drank to excess, he did take alcohol regularly. To Lieutenant Martin, the Captain looked very ill on leaving Sydney and, after Voyager cl eared the harbour, the Captain, according to Lieutenant Martin, turned in and his impression is that he remained in hi s cabin until the ship got to Port Phillip Bay (pp. 1171, 1215).

(I 5) On 23 September 1963 Captai n Stevens was examined by Sir William Morrow in Sydney and on that occasion he presumably said or gave the impres­ sion to Sir William that he 'drank too much at times on shore' having regard to the condition of his stomach. His only complaints to Sir William at that time were ' (a) little excessive wind and a little trouble passing his motion '

( p. 1053). Sir William noted: 'At the present moment he had quite an amount of lower disturbance really of lower bowel rather than related to hi s ulcer' (p. 1053). A liver function test was done by Dr E. M. Day whi ch was within normal limits (Exhibit 67). Sir William expressed the view that the tests did not support a diagnosis of 'heavy drinking', i.e. 5 to 6 ozs of spirit per day (p. 1054) . A barium meal was performed by Dr M. C. Dalgarno (Exhibit 67) and Sir William considered that the results of these presented a '. radiological picture of a duodenum in which there had been an ulcer of long standing producing deform ity', and no longer active (p. I 055 ) . However, as plainly appears from the evidence of Sir William and th e other med ical ex perts, the state of the Captain's ulcer at the time of this examination is quite consistent with an ulcer activity both before and after that date. Sir William th ought that the general health of Capta in Stevens was quite good and that '. there were no signs to suggest chronic

alcoholism of any description' (p. I 055).

(16) During the period in Williamstown from 12 August 1963 until the end of that year, whilst Voyager was engaged in the refitting operation, there is evidence from friends of Captain and Mrs Stevens, Mr and Mrs Higgerson, who resided at Hawthorn, Victoria and who saw a good deal of Captain Stevens both in Mel­ bourne and in Sydney, that he enjoyed normal good health (pp. 3078, 3090) . In this interval of time the Captain did various naval courses, performed certain ship duties and attended a number of functions in both an official and private capacity. There can be little doubt but that over the major portion of this period

56

he appeared to be in good health. Yet there are other witnesses who gave another side to the picture of his physical condition on different occasions. Following his return by train to Melbourne from the court-martial of Captain Dovers in Sydney at the beginning of December 1963, in company with Captain Loxton of

H.M.A.S. Yarra and Lieutenant Brooks, Captain Stevens was confined to his cabin for a period. J. R. Wilson, a Leading Sick Berth Attendant, states that he observed that the Captain had vomited in his cabin, that this caused the Captain some embarrassment, that he progressively got better but that he remained

in his cabin for approximately five days (pp. 2150-1). Wilson said that at Williams­ town Captain Stevens regularly took amphogel and that when he went on leave Wilson gave him two bottles of this compound (p. 2154). When, in early Novem­ ber 1963, Captain and Mrs Stevens stayed for a week with Mr and Mrs Higgerson at Hawthorn, Mr Higgerson noticed that the Captain drank a lot of milk and the regular household supply had to be increased because of this (p. 3077). At

the end of 1963 in Sydney, when Mr Higgerson observed Captain Stevens drink­ ing milk and made a jocular remark to the effect that he would have to keep his weight down, Captain Stevens replied: 'All I have got to keep down is my ulcer' (p. 3083) .

H.M.A.S. Voyager remained refitting at Williamstown until 23 January 1964, About mid-January 1964 Captain D . A. H. Clarke of H .M.A.S. Anzac, which ship was about to start a refit at Williamstown and had berthed alongside Voyager, observed Captain Stevens on the upper deck of Voyager bent over on a rail for

a short space of time. Both Captains bad been close friends for a great many years. Captain Clarke said: 'What's up with you?' Captain Stevens straightened up and replied : 'Ob, I'm a bit crook in the guts, and then he walked off' (p. 3009). The Captains used to see each other about 10 a.m. and on one occasion Captain

Clarke, observing that Captain Stevens did not look too well, asked him how he was and received the reply from Captain Stevens that his stomach was playing up (p. 3 of Exhibit 119). On another occasion on returning on 6 January 1964 from leave, Captain Stevens opened his suitcase in the presence of Captain Clarke

who, seeing a large bottle of white mixture in it, made some jocular remark and Captain Stevens said: 'Oh, that's for my guts' (p. 3009).

(17) H.M.A.S. Voyager arrived back in Sydney on 25 January 19 64 and Captain Stevens had some conferences and social meetings with Captain Robertson. Both Voyager and Melbourne were scheduled to exercise together early in February 1964 in the vicinity of Jervis Bay. According to a R .A.N. operational schedule, on 5 February 1964 Voyager sailed from Sydney and on that day carried out

exercises at sea. On Thursday 6 February 1964, further exercises were carried out by Voyager at sea from 8.15 a.m. until 7.30 p.m. when she was joined by Mel­ bourne and the two ships carried out radio sea trials until midnight. On Friday 7 February 1964, Voyager appears to have again exercised at sea between 8.15

a.m. ·and 9.30 p.m. , at times in conjunction with Melbourne. Saturday 8 February 1964 seems to have been an easier day. On Sunday 9 February 1964, when both ships put in to Jervis Bay, Captain Stevens attended a bufie't luncheon given on board Melbourne and he appeared to be perfectly well and normal to Captain

Robertson (pp. 659-60) . In the afternoon Captain Stevens spent an hour or two watching a cricket match in which the Voyager team was taking part. At about 5 p.m. he called on Captain D. H. D. Smyth (Captain of the Naval College at Jervis Bay) and Mrs Smyth. He drank at Captain Smyth's house '. (t)wo

average-sized brandies with water', declined to have a further drink or to stay for

12078/ 68-5 57

a meal on the ground that he was sailing early next morning and wanted to have an early night. At about 7.30 p.m. Captain Smyth drove Captain Stevens to the wharf. (Statement 175 in Exhibit 60.) Commander Coombs was in the ship's boat which later took Captain Stevens back to Voyager and he described the

Captain's appearance and behaviour as quite normal (p. 1783).

(18) On Monday 10 February 1964, Voyager sailed from Jervis Bay at 7. a.m. followed by Melbourne at 7.30 a.m. Voyager engaged in bombardment exercises between 8.30 a.m.-10.30 a.m. and in anti-submarine exercises, working with a submerged submarine, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. when Voyager joined Melbourne and between 6.30 p.m.-7.30 p.m. took part with Melbourne in radio sea trials. Between 7.30 p.m. and the time of the collision (approximately 8.56 p.m.) Voyager was engaged with Melbourne in manoeuvres associated with night-flying and Voyager was to act as the plane guard for the aircraft carrier Melbourne. It will be observed that the day's programme for Voyager was a very lengthy one, entailing long periods of concentration and responsibility upon the part of Captain Stevens and this, as will later appear, is a fact to which we attach considerable significance.

(19) The uncontradicted evidence is that in 1959 Captain Stevens had an active duodenal ulcer whilst he was the executive officer of H.M.A.S. Melbourne on a Far Eastern cruise. This had followed a period of stomach disorder over some twenty-three years. Sir William Morrow, as mentioned above, thought that the existence of an ulcer was probable as far back as 1941 (p. 4510). During the three years following the definite diagnosis of ulcer in 1959 Captain Stevens did not go to sea. He was in England living in a home with and under the care and attention of his wife and doing work which no one has described as strenuous;

at least it would not appear to be so in comparison with the duties of a destroyer captain on a Far Eastern cruise. However, even during this period the evidence discloses that he was not entirely free of symptoms and he experienced what Sir William Morrow has described as being within the category of the first symptoms of ulcer. It is not without significance that, despite his easier mode of life, he still drank milk constantly and had recourse from time to time to amphogel.

Captain Stevens flew back to Sydney on 23 December 1962 and, having been promoted to the rank of captain on 31 December 1962, took command of H.M.A.S. Voyager on 2 January 1963 from Commander A. A. Willis. This must have been an exceedingly busy period. Preparations were in hand for the cruise

to th e Far East on 31 January 1963 in company with H.M.A.S. Vamp ire under the command of Captain G. J. Willis. Completion of a long self-maintenance was effected on 13 January 1963. Between 15 January 1963 and 24 J anuary 1963 H.M.A.S. Voyager sailed ex-Sydney and ex-Jervis Bay on exercises in preparation for the cruise which commenced at 9 a.m. on 31 January 1963. His absence from the sea for a period of about three years would undoubtedly have caused

him to be somewhat rusty in sea command. This would impose an added strain. The results of this presumably were made apparent on 18 January 1963 when H.M.A.S. Voyager berthed on H.M.A.S. Vampire at Garden Island (see para. 3 of the 'Cabban Statement') and this incident, along with the pressure of the pre­

parations for the cruise, marked the onset of the pressures upon Captain Stevens in his role as commander of a destroyer after a long period ashore.

58

l209 At this point it is necessary to relate something of the functions of a destroyer captain in the position of Captain Stevens on H.M.A.S. Voyager. At the relevant period of time the Royal Australian Navy had undertaken to provide a contribution of two escort vessels to the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve.

H.M.A.S. Vampire and H.M.A.S. Voyager were allocated to these duties in 1963 and H.M.A.S. Vampire, under the command of Captain G. J. Willis, was the senior of the two Australian ships, the Reserve being under the overall command of an R.N. officer as Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet. A destroyer captain

has multifarious duties to perform at sea and in harbour. In the cramped and restricted space of a Daring Class destroyer such as H .M.A.S. Voyager, he lives at sea in a small sea cabin when he is not on the bridge or carrying out his

rounds throughout the ship, conducting parades of requestmen and defaulters and performing the many other duties incidental to his office. He has the prime responsibility for the safety and performance of a ship of war and the health, welfare and conduct of a crew of some 300 men. In harbour a captain is bound

to make and receive many official calls and he is obliged to attend a wide variety of functions and to offer the hospitality of the ship to naval officers of other ships in port, to official persons and important civilian personnel. He is called upon to encourage a sporting programme for the recreation of the officers and crew of

his ship. All this time a captain is responsible for the completion and verification of a very considerable number of official reports and documents and he has daily consultations with his departmental heads and senior crew members to ensure the smooth operation of the ship. Neither at sea when he is on call at all times nor

in port has he much chance for his own personal relaxation and rest. At sea the ship is frequently engaged in exercises in company with one or more other war­ ships under the eye of very senior naval officers and these require great vigilance on the part of a destroyer captain over lengthy periods both night and day.

Lieutenant Martin gave us a graphic description of a captain's life on a destroyer during exercises at sea which he described as very strenuous and requiring constant concentration ( pp. 1184-5). Such a captain would be in the operations room during most of the daylight hours. He would rest in his sea cabin when things

were quiet enough but every time there was a change of station or formation, or speed or otherwise, he has to be informed and this may require his return to the bridge. During night exercises he may well be wakened some fifteen times. His meals may be eaten on his knees on the bridge or he may have a sandwich

in the operations room. He may be roused in his cabin within ten minutes or two minutes of attempting to gain some rest. We have concluded that the per­ formance of the wide variety of responsible duties imposed upon a destroyer captain on such a cruise as was undertaken by H .M.A.S. Voyager in 1963 would

subject him to constant and considerable strain both at sea and in harbour.

In addition to the foregoing, where a captain is compelled, through his physical condition, to observe some dietary restrictions, the fare able to be provided by a ship's galley, the absence of fresh milk and the type of foods inevitably to be encountered in Far Eastern ports, would raise difficulties for him which could be

readily by-passed when he was living in his own home under the care of a wife who was aware of his physical disability.

The nature of the food normally to be met with at luncheons, dinners and cocktail parties in the Far Eastern ports has been described to us. Rear Admiral Coplans has stated that in such places as Hong Kong and Singapore he never eats ashore except in private residences (p. 1107). Various witnesses who enjoy

59

normal health have described stomach disorders as common after visits to tbe:se ports. When offered food at official functions, a visiting captain bas little option but to partake of what is offered; the hazards to a person pre-disposed to gastric trouble need no emphasis.

(21) We have bad on the aspect of duodenal ulcers, the benefit of medical evidence of a very high order from Sir William Morrow (a consultant physician), Dr Kerry Goulston (a physician specialising in gastroenterology, a subject which includes particularly within its field duodenal ulcers), Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans (the Medical Director-General of the Royal Australian Navy), and Surgeon-Commander Haughton, R.A.N. We have also bad the advantage of a written opinion obtained by Sir William Morrow from Dr Stanley M. Goulston, the Physician-in-Charge of the Gastroenterology Department at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney (Exhibit 181). From this body of expert medical evidence the following con­ clusions may be drawn. The duodenum is the first part of the small bowel which follows immediately on the stomach. An inflammation of the duodenum is termed

'duodenitis'; if an ulcer develops in the duodenum it is termed a 'duodenal ulcer'. The cause of a duodenal ulcer, or the reactivation of a duodenal ulcer which bas healed, is thought to be the presence of acid and the resistance of the lining of the duodenum to the acid. The uncontradicted evidence supports the dictum that 'once an ulcer, always an ulcer', that is to say, that once a person bas bad a duodenal ulcer, the probabilities are that it will recur. Although, after treatment, a duodenal ulcer may be spoken of as 'healed', except in exceptional cases it remains as a condition which is always potentially recurrent.

The presence of the acid which affects the lining of the duodenum is considered to be brought about by a variety of different factors such as smoking, the con­ sumption of excessive quantities of alcohol, the consumption of alcohol without milk or food in the stomach, highly spiced or seasoned foods, strain and anxiety, lack of rest, irregular and hastily eaten meals, tenseness, worry and distress. The factors vary with the particular individual. Alcohol is only one of the factors which can operate to reactivate a duodenal ulcer which may be exacerbated for a number of reasons other than alcohol. A teetotaller with this condition is just as prone to activate his ulcer by reason of unsatisfactory food, irregular rest or strain as the man who partakes of alcohol. In fact, alcohol is not forbidden to the ulcer patient; modern medical advice is to the effect that alcohol may be taken in very moderate quantities but always with milk or food in the stomach before it is consumed.

The first symptoms of a duodenal ulcer may be what is generally referred to as indigestion; the sufferer gets a little discomfort, perhaps, a little flatulence, a sense of fullness; and at unpredictable time later a definite pain is usually experienced. Pain is the outstanding symptom and pain is more symtomatic of a duodenal ulcer than of gastritis which is an inflammatory condition of the mucous membrane of the stomach. Pain is unusual in gastritis. Nausea may also be an accompaniment of the duodenal ulcer. Both pain and nausea may be present together but pain is most likely to persist. Vomiting is also associated with a

duodenal ulcer. Fatigue is also not an uncommon symptom. Although a 'typical' patern of symptoms can be referre dto, in fact that there is no consistent pattern or degree of symptoms which are common to all individuals. For instance, a person can feel discomfort which over 20 or 30 minutes may work up to extreme pain-a slight nausea may become intense. The classical duodenal ulcer pain follows a meal after an interval of time; but it is also known as a 'hunger pain'

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and ometimes occurs rather before than after a meal. The pain resulting from such an ulcer may be very severe indeed and both pain and nausea may each be so acute as to impair bodily movement and intellectual judgment and concentra­ tion; vomiting can become 'projectile', that is to say, it can come on very suddenly and without warning and can be quite voluminous and extensive. The symptoms not only vary with the individual but vary with the same individual at different times. Whilst the symptoms usually develop gradually, a sudden onset in acute form is not unknown. Acute pain can be felt in 5 minutes. An ulcer that is quiescent can change quickly into activity and from activity to quiescence again. Sir William Morrow described a duodenal ulcer as one that 'characteristically

waxes and wanes' (pp. 1055-6). Quite severe pain may be felt for some days which will suddenly stop for no apparent reason. There may be a very bad cycle for a couple of weeks and a month later the ulcer has become quiescent again.

Medical evidence agreed that fluid, e.g. brandy and water, although not recommended as a cure, appears to give temporary relief from pain by diluting the acid content of the stomach. Amphogel is a proprietary compound containing a high content of magnesium and is used to equalise or negative the concentration

of acid in the stomach.

(22) Officers in the Royal Australian Navy are subject to annual medical examina­ tions but the system of examination which prevails in the Royal Navy is different. Captain Stevens was given in England on 7 July 1960, by Surgeon Commander R.N. , what is described as a 'routine medical' examination. The

history noted in the examination card reads: 'Duodenal ulcer-now resolved­ continues with treatment with Prodexin'. No reference is made to any continuance of the symptoms of indigestion or flatulence (but see Paragraph 11 above) and unless these were disclosed to the examining medical officer there would be nothing

to put him on inquiry. No further medical examinations of Captain Stevens were carried out in 1961 and 1962. His next annual medical examination was conducted by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller on board Voyager on 12 February 1963, being the day before the ship reached Singapore on its first visit to that port. The medical record of that examination shows that no disability was discovered in Captain

Stevens. Although Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller would have had before him the prior medical history of Captains Stevens in the Navy, the last record would have been the medical examination at the end of 1959 prior to his departure for England early in 1960 when he was placed in category 'A'. There would have been nothing in the records before Tiller to indicate a recurrence of the ulcer symptoms. These

would be subjective and Tiller would be dependent upon information as to them being volunteered to him by Captain Stevens. Tiller's belief is that the Captain told him that he felt well (p. 1499). On that particular day that may have been the case and at that stage in the cruise Tiller had not been consulted by Captain

Stevens for any medical reason concerning himself (p. 1498). Furthermore, it appears to us to be very conceivable that Captain Stevens himself was unaware of the true significance of the signs of a possible latent ulcer reactivation and may have regarded his intermittent indigestion and flatulence in England as unrelated

to an ulcer which he may have believed had healed back in 1959. This was an early stage in the cruise and the first port out of Australia had not yet been reached. The absence of a more specialised medical examination in the case of Captain Stevens for a period of three years has, we believe, great relevance to

the events which occurred in 1963.

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1035

(23) At the end of 1962 Captain Stevens underwent a rapid change from his rela­ tively ordered life at the Admiralty and in his home with his wife in England to the responsibilities of the command of H.M.A.S. Voyager, its intensive cruise preparations and to the life of a destroyer captain at sea and in Far Eastern ports. He was a man who has been described by Surgeon-Commander Haughton, who

at one stage was in a position to observe and assess him closely, as tense, impatient and self-critical. After listening to a great deal of evidence as to the events on Voyager during 1963 we think that Surgeon-Commander Haughton's appraisal is a penetrating one. This is the description of a person who is prone to an ulcer according to the medical witnesses. The stresses of command and its entailed duties, both at sea and in harbour, the irregular meals, the lack of rest and the consequences of Far Eastern hospitality speak for themselves.

Leaving out of account, for the moment, the instances specified in the 'Cabban Statement', the evidence 10 which we have previously referred satisfies us beyond any doubt that from time to time throughout this 1963 cruise and during the balance of 1963 and into 1964 Captain Stevens suffered, in varying degrees of intensity,

reactivations of his duodenal ulcer. This is a factor of fundamental importance in considering the particular allegations which are the subject of our inquiry and it is in this setting that we proceed to do so. However, in weighing the evidence of his observers, it is essential to bear in mind that they did not possess the knowledge of

the Captain's physical condition which we now possess and their evidence must be evaluated with this fact constantly in mind.

SECTION 2-DETAILED COLLATION OF THE MATERIAL EVIDENCE AND FINDINGS OF THE PRIMARY FACTS IN RELATION TO THE LATE CAPTAIN STEVENS' DRINKING HABITS AND OCCASIONS OF ILLNESS

(a) INTRODUCTORY

In this Section of Part E of our Report we shall collate the material evidence and set out our findings of the primary facts relating to Captain Stevens' drinking habits and occasions of illness during the whole period of the operational cruise of Voyager from Sydney in January 1963 to her return to Sydney in August 1963 and thereafter until the night of the disaster on 10 February 1964. We are con­ cerned in this Section to state our detailed findings of objective facts. We shall deal in Sections 5 and 6 of this Part with the inferences which we think should be

drawn from these findings in the background of Captain Stevens' medical history and other circumstances.

To put the evidence and our findings of fact as to Captain Stevens' drinking habits and occasions of illness in proper perspective it is essential to consider them in the background of the duties carried out by him during the cruise at sea and ashore and of the activities in which he was engaged (including social and sporting activities). We have, of course, taken all these duties and activities into account in assessing the likelihood of the allegations relating to his drinking habits and

occasions of illness being true.

For convenience of reference we have prepared from the Reports of Pro­ ·ceedings and the evidence a chronological summary of the events of the cruise which will be found in Appendix G. We have, in that summary, incorporated references to our findings in this Section. These references are underlined.

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As far as possible, in this Section we refer to the evidence and make our findings of fact in chronological order. We shall accordingly first deal with the evidence of drinking habits and occasions of illness which relate to specific ports and to particular stages of the cruise. But as much of the evidence is of a general

character unrelated to any particular time or occasion it will be necessary in a later part of this Section to consider evidence of a general character relating to Captain Stevens' drinking habits and occasions of illness and to make findings of a more general nature.

(b) EVIDENCE AND FINDI GS OF FACT RELATING TO SPECIFIC PORTS AND STAGES OF THE CRUISE (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)

Tuesday, 29 January 1963 (Farewell Party on Voyager) (Paragraph 11 of the 'Cabban Statement')

On the night of Tuesday, 29 January 1963 the Captain and officers of Voyager gave a farewell party on the ship. This was a wardroom buffet supper which began at 7.00 p.m. and was due to finish about 10.30 to 11.00 p.m. (because of dockyard restrictions on the time of exit of guests). This was attended by about

sixty semi-official guests and private guests of officers.

Cabban did not assert in his sworn evidence that the Captain was under the influence of alcohol at this party. He said that it was only at the end of the evening when most of the guests had left that be observed anything unusual about the Captain. This was about 11.30 p.m. when the Captain and Mrs Stevens joined

Cabban and a few other officers and their wives on the fo'c'stle. The group con­ sisted of about six people. Cabban said (p. 87): (A)t that time I noticed that he was rather slow; he was very quiet, although quite happy, I thought. He had a fairly vacant expression on his face, and my only

concern at that stage was that it was time that everybody was going and I did not know quite how to clear everybody. I do remember that the lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, those which illuminate the side of it, had gone out, and that drew my attention to this time factor.

In an swer to a question whether he formed any opinion as to the Captain's sobriety he said: (I) thought that he had had a little more to drink than I would have hoped, as my captain, at that stage. [p. 87]

He said that Mrs Stevens told her husband it was time to go and the party then broke up. It appears that Cabban himself was anxious to get the guests away at the proper time and he was concerned that there were still some guests left.

A number of officers, two of the stewards and Mrs Stevens gave evidence as to this farewell party. This evidence was to the effect that the Captain's condition was completely normal and there was nothing to suggest that he drank excessively that night. Cabban's evidence as to the fact th at Mrs Stevens told her husband it was

time to go was corroborated by Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie (p. 2776) and by Mrs Stevens herself. But so far as Paragraph 11 of the 'Cabban Statement' suggests that Mrs Stevens had to tell her husband publicly that it was time to leave because he was under the influence of alcohol it is not even supported by Cabban's own

evidence. In fact, as he conceded, it had no significance to him at the time but only assumed some significance in retrospect.

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031

We find that so far as Paragraph 11 in the whole context of the 'Cabban Statement' implies that Captain Stevens was under the influence of alcohol on this occasion it is untrue. The evidence clearly establishes that Captain Stevens con­ ducted himself with complete propriety and the only suggestion that he was under

the influence of alcohol comes from the 'Cabban Statement' and not from any evidence.

Cabban's statement that 'I thought that he had had a little more to drink than l would have hoped as my Captain at that stage' (p. 87 ) is obviously a reconstruc­ tion looking at the incident in retrospect and influenced by later events.

As an isolated incident it is of little significance. But it is not without importance to note that it appears that Captain Stevens was in fact drinking alcoholic liquor (which on Cabban's evidence and in the light of other general evidence as to the Captain's drinking habits we find was brandy and water) during the course of the evening. This is not to suggest that he consumed an amount of alcohol which would be regarded as excessive.

Cabban said that curry was served at the buffet supper but salad was available as well and he was unable to say that Stevens had curry. If he did this might well have contributed to his stomach upset when Voyager left Sydney thirty-six hours later.

31/anuary 1963 (First day out of Sydney) (Paragraph 12 of the 'Cabban Statement')

Voyager left Sydney in company with Vamp ire for Darwin at 0900 hours on her commission to the Far East. Cabban said that Captain Stevens was on the bridge until Voyager cleared Sydney Harbour and that the Captain then said ' . . (t)bat be was feeling ill and I was to take command of the ship for the next twenty-four hours, and to inform Captain Willis by signal that the Captain was sick and that I had command I suggested to him that, not having been to sea for some time, it was understandable' (pp. 88-9). He said the assessment he made at the

time was that the Captain was seasick. He said that he made a signal to Vamp ire. He further said '. (I) think be said he felt bad in the stomach and I

remember quite distinctly him putting his hand over his face . I did think he was sick' (pp. 86-9). The signals would have been destroyed. (Exhibit 26-Minute dated 31 May 1967 from the Navy bearing on the retention of certain signals.) In final cross-examination by Mr Ash Q.C. Cabban conceded that the following extract from his proof was correct: '. (M)y guess at the time was that

he was seasick. He looked ill and was complaining of the sick feeling in the stomach' (p. 4482). He added that he did not recollect any occasion when the Captain was seasick and his guess may not have been right.

Cabban's evidence as to the Captain being turned in for twenty-four hours out of Sydney was corroborated by ·the evidence of Lieutenant-Commander Scott Griffith. He said: . . . (I) do recall that there was a short period after we left Sydney that the

Captain did retire to his cabin, and that all general matters were referred to the

executive officer. [p. 2294]

He added that his personal feeling was that all matters that would normally be referred to the Captain if they did require the Captain's decision were to be referred to the executive officer but he felt confident that if a very important decision had to be made the Captain would have been consulted and in that regard he thought

64

it was fair to say that the Captain was still in command of the ship. In cross­ examination Lieutenant-Commander Griffith said that the Captain was turned in on the first day out of Sydney (p. 2358) . He further said that he thought the period was about twenty-four hours and, in fact, about from eleven a.m. the first day

to eleven a.m. the second day (p. 2475).

Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale in a letter to his wife dated 8 February 1963 (Exhibit 171) said the Captain 'went ill with gastro-enteritis' for twenty­ four hours and was not seen at all for that time.

Cabban's evidence that the Captain was turned in for some period immediately out of Sydney is corroborated by documentary evidence in the form of a number of Punishment Records. Punishment Records serial numbers 9, 10, 11 , 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 are records of punishment of ratings on Monday, 4 February

1963. They all relate to offences committed on 29 January 1963 and

in each case in section 3 there is the notation 'Reason for delay; Captain indis­ posed'. In a memorandum from Rear-Admiral McNicoll to the Captain of Voyager dated 3 May 1963 (sic) (apparently received on 20 May) Admiral McNicoll wrote:

The punishment return for February 1963 has been examined and the fo llowin g points noted: AS241 Nos 9 to I 6---the reason fo r delay 'Captain indisposed' is not suffic ient. A more specific reason in future is to be given.

Captain Willis in his Statement (which he deposed to as correct), said that when Vampire and Voyager left Sydney at the commencement of the Far Eastern cruise he had a vague recollection that Captain Stevens was turned in and he had some idea that some signal to this effect was received but be was not certain of it (Exhibit 100).

Paragraph 12 of the 'Cabban Statement' is therefore partly corroborated and we find as a fact that the Captain was ·turned in ill for a period of about twenty­ four hours out of Sydney. Mrs Stevens gave evidence that her husband on numerous occasions had

written to her that when he first went to sea after being ashore for long periods be became seasick. (Statement, Exhibit 167 page 12 and her evidence at p. 4048.) Sir Jack Stevens said 'It was a standing joke in our small family that he almost always felt seasick the first day he went to sea after a spell ashore' (p. 4 of Exhibit

170). Captain Domara Andrew Heap Clarke (who had known Captain Stevens since boyhood) said that when Captain Stevens was a lieutenant and before that when he was a midshipman he was very prone to seasickness on the first day or two

(or if it became very rough later), and on many occasions he said he had seen him seasick as a young officer when be had spent a perfectly sober night the night before in some anchorage where there were no chances of drinking anyway (Exhibit 199-deposed to as true p. 3014).

Captain Stevens had not been at sea for some time before he took command of Voyager on 2 January 1963. However, on Tuesday, 15 and Wednesday, 16 January Voyager was at sea and a programme of exercises was carried out. She arrived in Jervis Bay on Wednesday 16 and then returned to Sydney on Friday, 18

and some exercises were carried out. Then on Monday, 21 January Voyager left Sydney to carry out exercises and anchored in Jervis Bay on Wednesday, 23 January. She sailed from Jervis Bay to Sydney on 24 January.

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There is no evidence to suggest that the Captain's period of illness after the ship left Sydney on 31 January was associated with excessive consumption of alcohol (or indeed consumption of alcohol at all). It may be that it was seasick­ ness but as he had been at sea during several periods in January before 3 1 January for a total period in excess of nineteen hours we think it is more probable

that his illness even at this early stage was associated with his ulcer trouble. E vidence as to the period of twenty-four hours out of Sydney was also given by Chief Petty Officer Robert William Barker, who was the Communications Yeoman. Barker said that having regard to his duties he would be in a position to know whether the Captain was turned in after the ship cleared Sydney Heads. Barker was prepared to swear positively that the Captain was not turned in for a

period of twenty-four hours or something of that order out of Sydney and swore that he could not remember sending a signal to Vamp ire to this effect ( pp. 187 4-1875) . This is a matter which seriously affects Barker's credit and we can accordingly place little reliance on evidence which be gave as to other matters.

Darwin (7 February 1963 to 8 February 1963)

Cabban did not allege that Captain Stevens drank to excess in Darwin and there is no evidence to suggest that be did so. The February Report of Proceedings shows that Captain Stevens entertained the Administrator to lunch and attended an evening reception given by the N.O.I.C.

At sea-Darwin to Singapore (8 February 1963 to 13 February 1963) At 0900 hours on Friday, 8 February 1963 Voyager in company wi th Vampire left Darwin for Singapore. When Cabban first gave evidence he did not claim that the Captain was 'turned in' or that he was given command during any period out of Darwin and he did not assert this in the 'Cabban Statement'. When he was fi rst

recalled (after he had heard the evidence of Mr Smyth, Q.C., and Mr Sheppard that he had told them that he was given a period of command ex a North Queens­ land port) (sic) he said that this evidence and his perusal of the Report of Proceedings brought back to his mind that he in fact had command of the ship on Friday 8 February and Saturday 9 February, i.e. the two davs immediately

after leaving Darwin (pp. 1151-3A). Cab ban said that the Captain sent his steward (Freeman) along to ask Cabban to see him and that when he did see him '. (T)he Captain was cheerful but had obviously been drinking' (p. 1 1 52). He said that Griffith took the ship out an d that:

. . . (t)he Captain said he was not feeling well and went down to his sea cabin

leaving his cap on the bridge, intending to come back. I sent for the doctor to go and see if the Captain was all right. The next thing I remember is Tiller saying something to me about the Captain . . . So I went down to see the Captain and he gave me

command for two days. [p. 1153A]

Lieutenant Redman said that he did recollect that there was an occasion other than out of Tokyo for may be one or two days when Cabban told him that the Captain had been 'turned in'. He thought this may have been Singapore early in the commissi on, but it might possibly have been Darwin (p. 2204). He knew there

was one other occasion but he did not remember the port ( p. 2212) . Andrew Richard Eddy, who was an Ordinary Steward on Voyager during the Far Eastern cruise, gave hearsay evidence that Captain Stevens was 'turned in ' out of Darwin. He said he was told this by the Petty Officer Steward Bruce

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Watson who told him to keep quiet because the skipper was 'turned in'. He said that this was for a day or two out of Darwin (pp. 2233 and 2240-1).

The witness Eddy was the only witness who provided any corroboration of Cabban's claim that the Captain was 'turned in' ill out of Darwin, but we do not regard him as a witness whose recollection as to the stage of the cruise that this occurred could be relied upon.

Punishment Record Serial No. 20 which relates to an offe nce committed by one Peter Graham Stocker on 27 January 1963, on the face of it shows that attended a Captain's defaulters parade and was punished on Saturday, 9 February. Punishment Record Serial No. 27 which relates to an offence committed by one Garth Lindsay Nantes on 7 February 1963 shows on the face of it that he

attended a Captain's defaulters parade and was punished on the same day. Punish­ ment Warrant No. 1 relates to an offence committed by one John William Bannister on 6 February 1963, and shows on the face of it that his case was investigated on 9 February 1963 by the Captain. Neither Stocker nor Bannister gave evidence. Nantes did give evidence. He said that this was the only occasion

he had been a Captain's defaulter on the whole trip (and this is confirmed by the records) and he remembered then 'fronting up' to the Captain. He said he believed that the charge was heard on the day after Voyager left Darwin and said that he had no reason to disagree with the dates on the punishment record. He did not know what time of the day the defaulters parade took place (pp. 2713-5).

In his evidence Cabban said that the reference in Appendix B to the Report of Proceedings for February 1963 to 'exceeding economical speed on Friday, 8 February for a surface throw off firing and dummy torpedo firing exercise' and the entry on Monday 11 for 'R.A.S. approaches and manoeuvres' enabled him to say that in fact he had command of the ship on the Friday and Saturday

and that the Captain did the Monday exercises and he Cabban did the Friday exercises (p. 1151). But Lieutenant David James Martin, who during the Far Eastern cruise of Voyager was the gunnery officer, said that he recalled that they had a throw off gunnery firing the day Voyager left Darwin or the day after and that

' (I) certainly remember the Captain being on the bridge during that

exercise but I don't remember anything that sticks in my mind about his particular state or condition' (p. 1181). He was shown the Report of Proceedings and said that the exercise that he recalled the Captain being on the bridge for was the one referred to in Appendix C of the Report of Proceedings on Friday 8 February

as S.U.T.O.F. He further said '. (I) do remember he was terse on that

occasion, and so was I because it was one of those exercises that was not going very well' (p. 1181). He further said that although the actual exercise might take only ten minutes there would be quite a lot of working up and preparatory work in getting things ready (p. 1187).

The Report of Proceedings for February 1963 (paragraph 6) states that the Captain carried out rounds of machinery spaces, mess decks and upper deck, magazines and store rooms during the passage from Darwin to Singapore (which would have ordinarily been done on a Saturday).

Captain G. J. Willis said that he had no knowledge of Captain Stevens being turned in on the day out of Darwin (p. 2 of Exhibit 100). Sub-Lieutenant Howland recalled a gunnery shoot carried out on 8 February but was unable to recall whether the Captain was on the bridge during this exercise (pp. 2649-50). Lieutenant­ Commander Scott Griffith said that he had no knowledge or recollection of Cabban

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assuming command in any form out of Darwin (p. 2298). Leading Steward Freeman had no recollection of the Captain being turned in or of the message of which Cabban spoke (p. 1255). Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie also had no recollection of the Captain being turned in for any period out of Darwin (p. 2740-1).

John Ennor, who was the coxswain's writer on Voyager during the cruise, said that he remembered there were a couple of times at sea when the Captain was in his cabin and he was told he was 'crook' but he could not remember whether one of these was out of Darwin. He had no idea what points of time these were

(p. 3034). We see no reason to doubt the accuracy of the Punishment Records and the Report of Proceedings in relation to the period out of Darwin, and (for reasons which we have given elsewhere) we regard Lieutenant Martin as a very reliable witness and we have no hesitation in accepting his evidence that the Captain was on the bridge taking part in exercises on the first day out of Darwin. Cabban's evidence that the Captain 'gave me command for two days' and that the Captain

was 'turned in' ill for two days cannot be true and we so find . It would seem that Cabban seized on the evidence of Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard and persuaded himself by a process of reconstruction that in fact he had command for two days out of Darwin. We should add for reasons which we have given in another section of this part we are satisfied that there were two periods (including the first day out of Sydney) before Tokyo when the Captain was turned in because he was ill for a short period up to two days immediately Voyager left harbour. It may be

that Cabban had in his mind that there was another period of this kind between Sydney and Tokyo and has wrongly assumed that it was for two days out of Darwin. However, when be gave evidence about this when he was recalled he swore positively to the fact that the Captain had given him command for two days out of Darwin. This is a circumstance which immediately seriously affects the reliability of his evidence and we say no more about it at this stage.

Singapore, 13 February 1963 to 25 February 1963 (First Visit) At sea-Singapore to Trincomalee, 25 February 1963 to 1 March 1963 Trincomalee 1 March 1963 to 5 March 1963 and 8 March 1963 to 10 March 1963

At sea-Trincomalee to Singapore, 10 March 1963 to 19 March 1963 Singapore, 19 March 1963 to 25 March 1963

It will be convenient to collate the relevant evidence as to this whole period. Some of it relates specifically to incidents in these ports but much of it is of a general character. Cabban said that he intended Paragraph 13 of the 'Cabban Statement' to apply to all ports up to Tokyo except the third visit to Singapore

and the visit to Pulau Tiamon (p. 2553). We shall deal separately with the evi­ dence as to the Wardroom dinner given in honour of Captain Stevens' birthday on23 March. We have already referred to Commander Lancaster's evidence as to Captain Stevens' state of health during the first visit to Singapore.

Cabban gave general evidence as to the Captain's condition between 13 February 1963 and 18 March 1963 (covering the first visit to Singapore and the two periods at Trincomalee) (pp. 90-3). He referred to various sporting acti­ vities in which the Captain took part (p. 90). He said the Captain tended to drink

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brandy and water during the day while the ship was at Singapore (first visit), Trincomalee and again at Singapore (second visit); that he recalled him drinking before lunch, in the afternoons he tended to have a glass of brandy but did not appear to be drinking quickly (pp. 91, 208-9). He said that he was 'in a state between sobriety and drunkenness', that his speech on some occasions was 'slurred to some extent and he would become depressed and over-confiding at times' (p.

91). He referred to the Captain drinking from an 8t oz glass with two inches to half a glass of brandy in it filled up with water (pp. 92, 211) . He said that he recalled that on one occasion of a football match between Vamp ire and Voyager he had to apologise for the Captain's absence because he was sick (p. 90). He was not

sure whether it was on this occasion or some other occasion during this period that he went into the Captain's cabin and found that he had been sick (p. 92). He placed the occasion in February.

Cabban also gave evidence that between 13 February and 18 March 1963 the Captain often took meals ashore when attending official and social functions (p. 101).

In answer to questions by the Chairman he said that the Captain's drinking pattern was a drink or two before lunch at 11.30 and drinking slowly in the after­ noon when working on papers. He said he did not suggest that he was incapable of carrying out the duties he was performing and 'at that time he was perfectly capable of doing anything he had to do' (pp. 4 79-80).

Cabban gave no evidence of specific instances of excessive drinking by Captain Stevens during the period now being considered (13 February to 25 March) except on the occasion of the Captain's birthday dinner on 23 March. But he said in answer to a question whether Paragraph 13 of the 'Cabban Statement'

referred to the first visit to Singapore: . . . (H) aving heard Commander Lancaster and his reference, that indicates that the captain was still not feeling well following Darwin and I was obviously aware of it at this stage and worried about how things were going to develop and wondering at

what stage following Darwin I might be called upon to act and make any report to a senior officer. [p. 2553]

Cabban's evidence that Captain Stevens on occasions when Voyager was in harbour drank brandy and water in the late forenoon and in the afternoon received some corroboration from Lieutenant Martin's evidence (pp. 1195-9). He said there were certainly occasions between Darwin and Tokyo when he saw

the Captain working in his cabin at 11.30 and having a drink (when the ship was in harbour) (p. 1197) . He also said that he held his liquor less well than average (p. 1234).

Leading Steward Neil Richard Freeman (the Captain's Steward) said that it was not normal for the Captain to drink in his day cabin when he was working while the ship was in harbour but he probably did so on some occasions and more likely on a Saturday-a 'make and mend day' (p. 1263). He did say however

that 'on a few occasions, not too many occasions', brandy was added to the Captain's coffee at breakfast and that he would put 'probably about an ounce, or less than an ounce probably' into the coffee (p. 1264). He thought that the first occasion when he served a coffee mixed with brandy was before Voyager

reached Tokyo (p. 1272). We shall deal later with other aspects of Freeman's evidence. Freeman was most reluctant to say anything adverse to the Captain. So far as his evidence corroborated that of Cabban it can be accepted with confidence.

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Norman John Gardiner, Naval Sh ipwright, who was the Captain's cabin hand up to the first visit to Hong Kong on Voyager and worked in conjunction with Freeman, the Captain's steward, also gave evidence that while Captain Stevens never drank at sea he would drink brandy and water when the ship was in

harbour and that occasionally he 'looked sort of glassy eyed' in the late afternoons in his day cabin (pp. 1380; 1383-4; 1385). We accept Gardiner as an honest and truthful witness. This evidence was not related to specific ports but it does afford important corroboration of Cabban's evidence as to the Captain's drinking habits when in his day cabin when Voyager was in harbour and the effect the drinking had on him. We shall deal more fully with his evidence later.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller al so had the impression that Captain Stevens drank a good deal when Voyager was in harbour (pp. 1614-6) .

Sub-Lieutenant Howland (pp. 2654, 2672 ) said th at he never saw the Captain drinking in hi s cabin. Simil ar evidence was given by Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie (pp. 2757-8 ). Lieutenant R. J. Wright (the Captain's secretary up to

12 April) said he did not recall the Captain drin ki ng in his day cabin when he was working and would have recalled it if he had seen it ( pp. 3 309-1 0 ; 3 315) . Lieutenant Wright saw the Captain every morning when Voyager was in port. If his evidence is accepted Paragraph 13 of the 'Cabban Statement' cannot be

literally true as to any periods in port up to 12 April (p. 3320) . But Lieutenant Wright's evi dence does not exclude the possibility of Captain Stevens drinking brandy and water from the late forenoon as described by Caqban.

There is no evidence that Captain Stevens drank so excess ively as to become intoxicated at any time during the period now being consi dered ( 13 February to 25 March ) except on the day of his birthday dinner on 23 March. It follows th at paragraph 13 of the 'Cabban Statement' so far as it alleges that Captain Stevens was in toxi cated when Voyager was in harbour is not true as to D arwin, Trincomalee or the firs t two vi si ts to Singapore ( subject to our find ing as to the

Captain's birthday dinner ).

However, we are satisfied that Cabban's evidence that it was the Captain 's habit during this part of the cruise to drink a number of glasses of brandy and water during the day fro m the late forenoon when he was working in his day cabin when Voyager was in harbour is sufficiently corroborated an d we fin d that thi s was the fact. It is impossible to quantify the amount, but it is cl ear th at on none of these occasions did the Captai n drink enough to become intoxicated. We find that Cabban's all ega tion in Paragraph 24 of the 'Cabban Statement' (reiterated in his evide nce) th at Captain Stevens' 'standard brandy' was almost half a

tumbler full of brandy topped up with water (particularised in his evidence as 2 inches to half an 8} oz glas s) (pp. 92 , 211) is cl early an exaggeration and is against a body of other evidence (which we accept) that be only drank 'thin' brandies and water.

We add that during this period it is probable that Captain Stevens more frequently bad recourse to alcohol because of the onset of ulcer trouble.

Cabban said that he was certain Captain Stevens was ill at some time between 18 and 21 March at Singapore (p. 4445). He recalled that he excused himself from attending an official function.

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We have already referred in Section 1 of this Part to the evidence of Com­ mander Lancaster as to Captain Stevens' state of health during the second visit of Voyager to Singapore from 19 to 25 March.

The Captain's cabin hand, Norman John Gardiner (pp. 1377-8 and 1381), said that he recalled that when Voyager left Singapore after the first visit the Captain went to his cabin and stayed there. He said that he was told by Freeman that he would not be required to go up to the Captain's sea cabin to carry out his

normal duties because he, Freeman, was looking after the Captain and he was in bed. He said that the period was for two to three days. He said that there were two or three occasions altogether (including the first occasion out of Singapore) when this occurred after Voyager left harbour (p. 1378). Gardiner spoke of these occasions not from seeing the Captain himself but from Freeman telling him he

would not be required to go up to the Captain's sea cabin. But Gardiner's evidence is important as identifying one of these occasions as being out of Singapore after the first visit and corroborating other evidence that there were two or three such occasions up to Tokyo. Lieutenant Redman said that Cabban told him there was

an occasion before Tokyo when Captain Stevens was 'turned in' for a couple of days and thought this was early in the Commission and probably ex Singapore (p. 2204).

We have studied the programme of exercises in which Voyager was engaged between 25 March (when she left Singapore) and 1 March (when she reach<:d Trincomalee). There is no direct evidence as to the occasions when Captain Stevens was on the bridge during these exercises but it is probable that he

for some of them. It is unlikely that between 25 February and 1 March he was absent from the bridge for an uninterrupted period of two days but the programm:! of exercises is not inconsistent with him being confined to his cabin for one full day and part or parts of other days. We were impressed with the evidence of Gardiner and Redman and find that there was an occasion early in the Far Eastern

Cruise (and more probably than not during the passage from Singapore to Trin­ comalee) when Captain Stevens was unwell for a period up to two days and for a substantial part of that time was confined to his cabin. There is nothing suggest that his illness at this stage was associated with excessive consumption

of alcohol.

Sunday, 24 March 1963-Condition of Captain Stevens the day following Wardroom Mess Dinner

Cabban's evidence that Captain Stevens was ill on the day after the dinner (pp. 4444-5, 4548-9) is corroborated by Leading Steward Freeman who said that the morning after the birthday dinner the Captain told him he had 'a tummy upset' (p. 1277). We find this was the fact.

We are satisfied that Captain Stevens was unwell on the day following the wardroom dinner; but it is impossible to say for how long, if at all, he was confi ned to his cabin.

Summary of Findings as to drinking habits and occasions of illness during the period 13 February 1963 to 25 March 1963 (excluding the Wardroom dinner in honour of Captain Stevens' birthday on 23 March 1963)

(1) For a period of up to two days during the passage from Singapore to Trin­ comalee (25 February to 1 March) Captain Stevens was unwell due to a stomach

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disorder and was confined to his cabin for a substantial part of this period. This illness was not associated with excessive consumption of alcohol.

(2) There were at least occasional days during the first visit to Singapore (13 February to 25 February) during the visit to Trincomalee (1 March to 10 March) and the second visit to Singapore (19 to 25 March) when Captain Stevens drank a number of 'thin' glasses of brandy and water during the day while he was working, but he did not drink sufficient to become intoxicated. Cabban himself said that the performance of Captain Stevens' duties was not affected by this drinking. We believe that he began drinking brandy and water during the day

at the early stage of the cruise because of the onset of his old ulcer trouble. We should add that the evidence does not suggest that he was attempting to conceal the fact that be was drinking occasional glasses of brandy and water during the day, nor is it to be supposed that there is any sinister implication from his drinking alone. As we have said elsewhere, the Captain only goes to the wardroom by invitation of his officers.

(3) Captain Stevens was suffering from stomach trouble during the second visit to Singapore between 19 and 25 March. Apart from the evidence to which we have referred the circumstances of the birthday dinner themselves on 23 March strongly suggest that Stevens was unwell before he attended it. In the background of the whole of the evidence as to this period Cabban's statement that the Captain was ill at some time between 18 and 31 March and bad to excuse himself from an official function, we accept as true.

( 4) The evidence does not establi sh th at at the port s visited by Voyager during the period up to 25 March there was any port where as alleged in Paragraph 13 of the 'Cabban Statement' Captain Stevens 'drank for very long periods in barbour until be became violently ill and then would spend days in bed being treated by the doctor and his steward until he was fit to again start drinking'. In the sense in which we have said this Paragraph must be interpreted the statement is untrue. It is not merely that the evidence does not support it. The evidence positively establishes that it was not the fact.

Saturday, 23 March 1963- W ardroom Mess Dinner given to Captain Stevens by the Officers in honour of his birthday (Paragraph 16 of the 'Cabban Statement')

We have already referred to Commander Lancaster's evidence as to the con­ cern expressed by Captain Stevens to Mrs Lancaster on the night of 21 March as to the effect the forthcoming Wardroom Mess Dinner might have upon him (p. 1954).

Before stating our findings as to Captain Stevens' condition and conduct at this dinner we should make it clear that it was a formal occasion. Captain Robertson was asked as to the degree of formality and said: . . . (I) t is formal in the sense that the wardroom would spend a lot of time getting

ready for it, having a well selected menu, being properly dressed and there on time themselves, but I would not call it a solemn occasion. It is a friendly occasion, which the wardroom would endeavour to conduct as punctiliously as they could until such time, late in the evening perhaps, when a bit of horseplay m ight come into it.

He further explained that on an occasi on of this kind the senior steward formally announces to the President of the Mess that dinner is served and that the President of the Mess asks the Captain if he is ready to dine (p. 693).

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Evidence as to the Captain's condition and the events that occurred at the dinner was given by fifteen officers (including Lieutenant-Commander Cabban) and five stewards. As might be expected there are discrepancies in matters of detail in their respective accounts. But for the purposes of our Inquiry it is unnecessary

to attempt to resolve these discrepancies or to make findings of fact in meticulous detail. We find the material facts to be as follows:

(1) At about 11.30 a.m. on that day Captain Stevens gave a talk to the petty officers about the future of the Navy and there is nothing to suggest that he was then under the influence of alcohol (Lieutenant Thomas Ainsworth Hall, p. 3772).

(2) The Captain's Steward, Freeman, gave evidence that the Captain had a number of glasses of brandy and water during the day. As we have said elsewhere Freeman was very loyal to the Captain and we unhesitatingly accept such evidence as he gave as to the Captain's drinking habits. The following extract from his evidence is important:

Q. I would like you to tell the Commission what you can recall of the captain during that day and prior to the actual dinner starting. Perhaps we can split the day up into a morning and an afternoon. What was the captain doing during the morning of that day? A. Early in the morning-! could not recall very rnuch-1 would say round about

10 o'clock he had a drink and probably had two or three more before lunch. Q. Where was he? A. In his day cabin. Q. Can you remember whether he had any lunch?

A. No. He may have gone into the wardroom that day. From what I can remember of it, he may have gone in there at lunch time. Q. You cannot recall setting lunch up for him in his day cabin? A. No.

Q. What then happened as the day went on into the afternoon so far as the captain was concerned? A. He had a couple of drinks in the afternoon; probably on and off he might have had five or six drinks. Q. Throughout the afternoon? A. Yes. Q. Where was he drinking them? A. In his day cabin. Q. Was he on his own or did he have somebody with him?

A. I am almost certain that officers carne in during that day to have a drink with him. I am sure that Lieutenant-Commander Cabban was in there at one stage, and possibly other officers. I cannot recall who they were. Q. For the most part, would you say he was on his own or in company during the

afternoon? A. That is a bit hard to say. I am not too sure. Q. He, of course, had to get dressed for dinner: can you recall where it was that he did get dressed? A. In his sea cabin.

Mr BURT: What did he do then? A. He carne back down to the day cabin. Q. What did he do then in the day cabin? A. He sat down and had a drink. He waited there for Lieutenant-Commander Cabban.

Q. Was he in fact called for by the first lieutenant?

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A. I know the fi rst lieutenant was in there and having a drink with him. I can recall that quite clearly; but whether he really left with the first lieutenant or not, I do not know. Q. D uring the day had the first lieutenant said anything to you concerning the captain? A. Yes. Q. Just tell Their Honours what your memory of it is?

A. He just asked on a couple of occasions 'How is the captain ?' I said he had been drinking, he was a bit unsteady. A couple of times he carne to me and asked me the same question. Q. By the time that the dinner hour approached and after the captain had got dressed

for dinner, did you see him then? A. What, prior to the dinner in the wardroom? Yes. Q. What was his condition then? A . Unsteady. [pp. I256-7]

Commander William H enry Money had some recollection of havin g some­ thing to drink with the Captain about midday on 23 March (p. 2036). In a letter written by Commander Money to the Deputy Commonwealth Crown Solicitor on 8 July 1967 giving his comments on the Cab ban allegations he said ·. I

attributed his indisposition' ( i.e. at his birthday dinner) 'to a recurrence of his former ailment, brought on by an unusual number of drinks taken with his many Royal Navy friend s who had called to wish him a happy birthday' (para. 7 of Exhibit 91) . In hi s evid ence he said that he had the impression that a number of people came on board during the day to have a drink with the Captain (p. 2037) . We suspect that Cabban's evidence is correct that Commander Money and Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie did see him before the Captain was due to arrive at the dinner and told him that the Captain was in bad shape. It is , however,

unnecessary to make any finding upon this as the direct evidence clearly establishes th at during the day Captain Stevens had consumed a substantial quantity of alcohol.

(3) We find that when the Captain entered the wardroom for the dinner he was mildly intoxicated but not grossly drunk. It is important to note that Cabban himself did not claim in his evidence that Stevens was grossly drunk when he entered the wardroom. He said: '. (H)e was able to walk, but obviously

heavily affected by alcohol Although he could walk he was not standing quite as well as normal. He looked terribly excited and he was flushed. I think he just did not look the way he did when he was sober at all' (p. 97). In cross­ examination Cabban said : '. (H)e had a very excited look on his face. He looked like a young child on Christmas morning, if I can describe it that way. His face was alight with pleasure.' In answer to a question 'There was nothing abnormal about that, having regard to the occasion, I take it?' he answered 'No. At the same time, though, I could tell that he had been drinking quite heavily

He was excessively buoyant I thought he was in a condition

where if we had the dinner everything would be fine and he would be all right' (pp. 220-1). Cabban conceded that the following statement in his signed proof of evidence was correct: At fir st he appeared bright, obviously affected by alcohol, but able to walk and full of

good humour. It appeared that everything would pass off provided he was given some food and drank moderately, if at all, from then on. [p. II of Exhibit I 82]

He said that the Captain was given one drink before th ey sat down to dinner but he was not sure that he drank it (p . 448 3). The ex tent to whi ch Captain Stevens was under the influence of alcoh ol when he entered the wa rdroom is of

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considerable importance, because it is clear on the evidence that the Captain did not have more than one drink (if that) after he entered the wardroom before he left the dinner table. We therefore quote extracts from the evidence of a number of witnesses which we accept:

Surgeon-Lieutenant Michael Clifford Tiller Tiller said that when the Captain entered the wardroom he thought he looked different to normal, was looking a little confused and he thought he was drunk (p. 1501).

Surgeon-Lieutenant Allan Leslie Kyd Surgeon-Lieutenant Kyd said that when Captain Stevens presented himself at the door, he did not look terribly well and that '. (h)e appeared

to me to be a bit unsteady' (p. 1735).

Commander Wiliam Henry Money Money said that when the Captain entered he was speaking rather thickly and '. (I) felt in my own mind that he had been drinking. He seemed pretty well in control of himself, though, and I rather expected that the

dinner would set him up' (p. 1998).

Lieutenant Robert John Wright Wright said that when the Captain entered the though he had been drinking and that he '. slightly unsteady' (p. 3316).

wardroom he looked as (J)ooked flushed and

We accept Cabban's evidence that after Captain Stevens entered the wardroom he joined Cabban and some of the other officers and talked briefly with them.

(4) We find that before the Senior Steward announced that dinner was served, Captain Stevens said to Cabban 'Come on No. 1 let us get this thing started' (p. 98) and that after Stevens made this remark he did drop down onto his hands and bound along for at least a few feet in this position towards the dinner table.

Varying accounts of this piece of horseplay were given by a number of witnesses. It is important to note that neither Cabban nor any other witness suggests that Stevens did this because he was incapable of walking. All agreed that it was intended as a piece of horseplay. The Captain's Steward, Neil Richard Freeman

(to whom we have before referred as being very loyal to the Captain) gave the following account in his evidence: Q. What did you observe of the Captain at the time the dinner was about to begin? A. I did not observe too much, but once they commenced to move the Captain got

down on his hands and moved towards the table, with a slight grin across his face . Q. It was not hands and knees, I do not think, as you have described it to me? A. He just went down on his hands and galloped along. Q. I do not think that is really right, is it? A. His knees never touched the ground. Q. He was not walking on his hands?

A. Oh no.

MR BURT: What did you regard this as? A. I just thought he was having a joke, that is all, a bit of horse play. Q. How far did be move across the deck this way? A. I would say roughly about eight feet or ten feet; it may have been more, but that

is what I can remember. [pp. 1257-8]

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We accept this account as substantially true. We are not satisfied that Captain Stevens crawled along on his hands and knees as Cabban alleged. Freeman's account is much more probable. No doubt Captain Stevens' action was inappro­ priate to the occasion, but it by no means follows it should be characterised as outrageous conduct, and we do not regard it as a matter for any grave censure

at all. We think far too much was made of this piece of jollification by Cabban and by others during the course of our Inquiry. It was an action of which Cabban greatly disapproved, but we doubt whether many would take such a serious view of the incident.

That the Captain did indulge in some piece of horseplay of this kind was corroborated by a number of witnesses, including the steward Menkins (p. 1291) . This witness at first pretended ignorance of the incident when interviewed by Mr Burt, but later decided to 'tell the truth' (Lieutenant Leslie William Thomas Somerville (p. 1972), Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Russell Vasey (R.N.)

(Exhibit 130 deposed to as true at p. 3326), Lieutenant Ian Fletcher Holmes (p. 3488).)

Some of the officers said that they did not see it or did not recall it occurring. (Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller p. 1501, Surgeon-Lieutenant Kyd p. 1735, Commander Money p. 2040, Lieutenant Redman p. 2196, Lieutenant-Commander Griffith p. 2301, Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie pp. 2742-3, Lieutenant Wright pp. 3319-20, Acting Sub-Lieutenant Forrest p. 3380). Of these witnesses

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Forrest in his letter to the Deputy Commonwealth Crown Solicitor, committed himself to the statement that he was certain that the Captain did not crawl on his hands and knees (p. 2 Exhibit 132), Lieutenant­ Commander Blaikie also asserted in his signed statement that the Captain did not go down on his hands and knees and characterised it as 'Rubbish'. (p. 3 of state­ ment No. 3/38). We think it possible that at least some of these officers may not have seen the incident. Captain Stevens was seated on a low fender and, on Freeman's account (which we accept), he dropped quickly on to his hands (with­ out going down on his knees) in the position of a runner about to begin a race and moved along in that position for a few feet. A number of witnesses said that he only moved along the deck in this position for a few feet. Having regard to the crowded wardroom and its 'geography' it is quite conceivable some of those present may not have witnessed Captain Stevens' unusual method of locomotion.

( 5) Cabban said that after they sat down to dinner he said grace and the first course was served, that be then talked to Captain Stevens but that there was not much talk at ·the table because everybody was watching the Captain. He said the Captain: '. (s)tarted to slump forward or bend forward towards the table.' Cabban then presented the officers' gift (a Ronson cigarette lighter) to the Captain giving him birthday greetings and then said to him '. (I) do not think

you are feeling very well and I would like that I should help you to your cabin' (p. 99). Cabban's general account of the progress at the dinner was amply corro­ borated by a number of witnesses. We quote the account given by Lieutenant­ Commander Vasey (p. 2 Exhibit 130):

I watched the Captain during dinner; the atmosphere was one of suspended tension. I think the Captain coped with the oysters but the sweet com was pinioned between forks and this presented a problem for him when one fork came adrift. During this period the Captain was not saying much and looked to be drunk. After the sweet corn the 1st Lieutenant m ade a presentation of a lighter. I am not clear as to

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whether the Captain responded but I do remember that he then left assisted by the 1st Lieutenant. When he went there was a general air of deep disappointment in the wardroom; I for one was certainly disappointed.

Li eute nant Ho lmes in his letter to the Deputy Crown Solicitor dated 5 July 1967 said: I attended the Mess Dinner in honour of Captain Stevens' birthday. The Captain was, in my opinion, drunk and the proceedings were cut short (whether after the

soup course or later I am uncertain) when the Mess President, Lieutenant­

Commander Cabban, made his presentation speech. The Captain's reply was short and incoherent and he was then helped from the mess. [p. 1 of Part of E xhibit 135]

Lieutenant Holmes said that the reasons that made him think the Captain was drunk was the falling to his hand and knees, the nature of the way he spoke during his reply and the fact that he had trouble while sitting at the table in keeping his head upright (p. 3513). Lieutenant Holmes was an impressive and candid

witness, but as in the case of other witnesses we think he naturally jumped to the conclusion that the Captain's condition was solely due to excessive drinking. As will later appear we do not think that this was a case of 'passing out' through gross intoxicati on , and that the consumption of alcohol was only a contributing factor.

( 6 ) Various accounts were given of the Captain's appearance at the dinner table before he left. Leading Steward Freeman said that'. (H)e was bent forw ard in the chair; he had his head bowed' (p. 1259). Steward Menkins said that when the Captain picked up the corn on the cob he missed his mouth a little bit, and

the party just 'wrapped up' a little after that (p. 1291). Surgeon-Lieutenant Kyd said that '. ( t) he Captain sort of half rose to his feet and seemed to be

getting a bit of support from the table, and tried to say a few words and sat down rather quickly' (p. 1735). Petty Officer Steward Watson said that'. (H) e seemed to be very ill and was assisted reasonably early during the course of the dinner to his cabin. He had a bit of trouble with a corn-on-the-cob '

(p.1794). He further said that the Captain '. seemed to have a grim ace,

a slight furrow, grimace on his face. He did not look very good at all I got the impression from the grimace, that he might have been in a bit of pain' (p. 1800). Commander Money said that they went to dinner in some has te because '. (I) felt that everyone else also thought that the Captain wo uld

recover with food' (p. 1998). H e said that the Captain '. ( s) eemed

to have a p ained look in his eye He was a bit glassy-eyed and he

seemed to be in pain; and as I remember, he more or less slumped in the middle. Shortl y after that he left' (p. 1999). He said that the Captain's speech was definitely thick (p. 2038) and that the Captain seemed to have pain in his eye and th at '. (h)e had a look as though something was hurting him'

(p.2042). Lieutenant Redman said that he recollected the Captain slumping forward and thought he was extremely ill and that when he got up and went out of the wardroom he did look quite ill (p. 2196). Sub-Lieutenant Howland sat next to Captain Stev ens at the dinner. He was certain that the Captain spoke intelli­

gibly to him asking him how he was getting on in the ship having regard to the fact that he had recently joined, but he had the impression that the Captain was deliberately speaking carefully. He also recalled that the Captain made a specific complaint to him about experiencing stomach pain and that afte r brief

speeches the dinner was terminated (Statement Exhibit 104 pp. 3-4) . His evidence is impor:tant. He said the Captain's speech was quite intelligible and not slurred though it was obvious to him that he had been drinking. He said he got this

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1051.

impression mainly because the Captain was talking with unusual care in the enunciation of his words. Acting Sub-Lieutenant Forrest described the Captain as doubled up with pain immediately before be left. He said that during the soup course the Captain was '. (d)oubled up obviously in pain' and said

(I) have the picture of the Captain almost sort of sitting but then putting his knife and fork down, whatever he was using at the time, a spoon in this case I presume, and then doubling up and holding his stomach and taking a drink of water. That sort of picture.'.

D o you remember anything about the expression on his face? Were you able to see his face at that time? A. I have the impression that it was screwed up in some sort of pain. [p . 3357]

He said the Captain left, '. (h)e walked doubled up and sort of slouched walking slowly and bent over a bit' (p. 3357). Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller said that he thought the Captain was drunk and did not seem to be fully aware of what was going on. He said that after Cabban told Stevens that be wanted to present him with a gift from the officers as a birthday gift, the Captain '.

(w)as cued to speak. and he spoke sitting down, he did not stand up. He mumbled. I could not understand a word of what he said' (pp. 1501-2).

(7) Cabban said that he half supported the Captain and ·took him to his cabin (i.e. day cabin). He said he thought he undid his collar and tie. He said '. (H)is eyes were open and he was gazing straight ahead. I said that I would leave the gift on his desk, which I did in front of him, and he still did not acknowledge it.' He said he did not say a word and that be was completely limp and that he left him '. (s)itting in his armchair' (p. 99). Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller

said he went up to the Captain's sea cabin to have a look at him later that night. He said: . . . (I) am not very clear but I feel I did see him. I do not remember prescribing

anything or making any move to give any treatment. I remember seeing him and I was then satisfied in my mind he was suffering from alcohol and not some other cause for his condition. [p. 1502]

In cross-examination Tiller said that he thought that he went up to see the Captain shortly after he left. He did not know how he got to the sea cabin and thought that he would have difficulty in making it on his own. (To get to the sea cabin from the day cabin it is necessary to climb up a perpendicular steel ladder.) He said

he seemed to remember opening his shirt and checking his tummy to see if he was all right (p. 1554). Tiller said that he did not make any inquiries next day to see how the Captain was because be thought that it was merely a case of drunkenness (p. 1555).

(8) Cabban gave a somewhat dramatic account of calling the stewards together in the wardroom after the Captain left, and saying to them and the officers that be did not want a word of the incident to reach the Fleet: . . . . (I) demanded their complete loyalty and si lence and I went further than

I should have and I said that if it ever reached me from a ny other source I would do my best to destroy the career of the person who was responsible for leaking it. [p. 99]

Lieutenant Holmes corroborated Cabban's evidence that be did call the stewards together to tell them there was to be no discussion of what bad taken place, but said that Cabban said that it went without saying that the officers would not discuss the matter either (p. 3488).

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(9) We are satisfied on the whole of the evidence that the Captain was moderateiy intoxicated on the occasion of this dinner, but not to the extent that he waul<.! luJVe passed out or been unable to see the dinner through if he had been well. lt is we think apparent from the evidence as to his conduct and ability to converse

intelligibly, that he was not so grossly intoxicated as to be on the point of passing out through drunkenness, and it follows that his slumping down in the chair and failure to see the dinner through must be attributed substantially to causes other than excessive consumption of alcohol. We are satisfied that on the occasion

of this dinner he was suffering from stomach pains of a severe nature as evidence.:! by observations of witnesses to whom we have referred and his complaints to them.

At sea-Singapore to Hong Kong 25 March to 29 March There is no evidence that Captain Steve ns was ill at any ti me during thi s passage from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong 29 March to 15 April Cabban said that Hong Kong was one of the ports to which he intended Paragraph 13 to apply (pp. 2553-4). This statement must be treated as an allega­ tion rather than as evidence. He, in fact, gave no direct evidence that Captain Stevens drank to excess in Hong Kong. Lieutenant Martin (pp. 1161-2 and 1226) gave evidence that Captain Stevens was on one occasion at Hong Kong affected by alcohol 'in a fairly small way'. He said that '. (H)e was not quite as

steady in speech or step as usual'. He put this as an occasion between 5.00 and 6.30 p.m. (p. 1162). As we have said elsewhere we regard Lieutenant Martin as a completely honest and reliable witness. We accept his evidence as to this incident.

Apart from this evidence and the evidence as to the incident on 6 Aprtl when Captain Stevens is alleged to have been carried on board by some ratings, there is no other evidence that Captain Stevens drank excessively or was intoxi­ cated during the first visit to Hong Kong. For reasons which we give in our findings

relating to the alleged incident on the night of 6 April we are not satisfied that Captain Stevens was then intoxicated. We are satisfied, however, that during the first visit to Hong Kong Captain Stevens' stomach disorder intensified.

Cab ban said that during the first visit of Voyager to Hong Kong Captain Stevens on one occasion on the upper deck complained publicly to the officers at colours that he had a 'crook stomach' (p. 1 03). Cab ban said that he was doubling up with pain and that when walking back with him to his cabin he

(Cabban) suggested that the Captain should see Tiller. He said Captain Stevens said that he would not see Tiller, but would see Surgeon-Commander McNeill who was a friend of his, because he was anxious that it should not appear in his record as he might lose his command (p. 103). Cabban said that

because of his anxiety as to the Captain's condition he sought with Captain Stevens' permission an appointment with Captain Peek. It is apparent that the conduct of the Captain at the Mess Dinner made a great impact on Cabban's mind. He said:

. . . (I) was not sure whether what I had seen was a pattern that was going

to continue or if it was just an unfortunate series of events which this would climax and finish . I hoped that at this stage the Captain would realise he should perhaps be more careful with himself and that everything would be all right. [p. 102]

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Cabban said that it was just after the arrival of Voyager at Hong Kong on 29 March 1963 that he saw the Captain actually doubled up with pain (p. 4584). He said 'I can still see that quite clearly on the upper deck'. Cabban said that within a period of four days from 30 March to 2 April the Captain was ill. He

was not able to pinpoint the time more definitely (p. 4445-6).

Cabban's evidence that the Captain was ill about this time was corroborated by the evidence of Able Seaman James Frederick Irvine (pp. 1393-4 and 1397-9). He said he though the period that the Captain was turned in wo uld be about three or four days but it was vague and he could not quite recall it. He said he thought it was at a week-end (p. 1394). He did recall that there was a visitor for the Captain but the Captain was not well enough to see him. He said the visitor was Ping Kee, a shoemaker (p. 1397). He said he saw the Captain 'turned in' in pyjamas and he was drinking milk for breakfast (p. 1399).

More importantly Cabban's evidence that the Captain was suffering from intensified stomach pains is corroborated by the evidence of Surgeon-Commander John Roger McNeill. We shall have occasion to deal with McNeill's evidence in more detail in another part of this Report but for the present purposes it is sufficient to say that although McNeill was obviously endeavouring in his evidence to minimise the seriousness of Captain Stevens' illness in Hong Kong he ultimately

agreed that his statement to Captain Benson (a member of the House of Repre­ sentatives whom he telephoned during the Voyager Debate) that Captain Stevens ' (h)ad a serious stomach condition', at times '. (t)he pain was so

great that he was forced to double over and gasp for breath' was substantially correct (pp. 1001, 1000). McNeill further said that Captain Stevens got inten se pain periodically (p. 999). He also said that Stevens complained to him of pain and that he had been vomiting (p. 93 8) .

It is interesting to note that in Punishment Record Serial No. 107 (signed by Captain Stevens) relating to the punishment of one A. L. Hayles on 2 April 1963 for an offence committed on 27 March 1963 there is a notation 'Delay due to ship's exercise programme'. Voyager berthed at Hong Kong on Friday, 29 M arch. The ship's exercise programme cannot explain continuing delay to hold a Captain's defaulters parade after Friday, 29 March. There were no exercises on Monday,

1 April and no official calls or functions (Report of Proceedings for April). We think this is an instance of Captain Stevens not wishing to disclose the fact that he was unwell.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Kyd gave evi dence that he saw the Captain on the bridge on the occasions of the 'cold move' on 6 April and that he looked distinctly unwell (pp. 1736-43). Captain Neil Alan Boase (in command of H.M.A.S. Yarra) gave evidence that on an occasion (7 April) during the firs t visi t of Voyager to Hong Kong, when Captain Stevens called on him at about 1800 hours he had a couple of drinks and when Captain Boase offered him a parting drink 'he put one hand to his diaphragm and said something to the effect 'This won't let me' (p. 2 of Exhibit 117, transcript pp. 2995-8). He also gave evidence that at a dinner to

Admiral McNicoll on 10 April Captain Stevens seemed quiet and subdued (p. 2996-7).

We are satisfied on the whole of this evidence to which we have referred that Captain Stevens' stomach disorder had become serious during this first visit to

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Hong Kong. We are further satisfied that during some part of this visit (probably between Saturday, 30 March and Tuesday, 2 April as claimed by Cabban) Captain Stevens was 'turned in' in his cabin through illness.

Hong Kong, 6 April 1963 One Peter Edward Mead who was an Ordinary Seaman on Voyager gave evidence that on one occasion about dusk during the first visit to Hong Kong when Voyager was berthed alongside Vampire he and some other ratings were told by

the Chief Petty Officer of the Watch (whom he was unable to identify) to go onto Vampire and help Captain Stevens back onto Voyager. He said they went onto Vampire and some of the other ratings helped the Captain along the qu arterdeck of Vampire to the gangway between Vampire and Voyager while he, Mead, walked

behind them. He said that when the Captain reached the gangway he 'walked over by himself and saluted' (pp. 1306-9 and 1319). He did not say that Captain Stevens was drunk but said that he was 'mumbling' (p. 1317). He said that the Captain was in civilian clothes. He said the other ratings involved that he could

recall were Brown, Collins, Graham and Frederick (pp. 1318-9). Mead was very vague about the details of the incident and there are inconsistencies in his evidence. He was a most unimpressive witness and it would be impossible to place any reliance on his evidence in the absence of corroboration. Ordinary Seaman G. R.

Graham and Able Seaman G. D. Brown were called but denied any knowledge of the incident. Leading Seaman Arthur Victor Eric Hann however gave evidence th at he saw an incident of this kind about 6.30 p.m. on the day when Voyager was moved in Hong Kong harbour by a tug and its stern was damaged (which is

identified from the Report of Proceedings as 6 April). H ann had that day been ashore drinking heavily. When he got back he was ill and vomited. He con­ ceded that he was 'half drunk' (p. 2795). Shortly after he got back he said that 'fairly early in the evening, half-past six in the evening, I think it was about half­

past six, by this time it was fairly dark, I heard some voices. It was a fair few sailors around this man. This man was wearing civilians, but who the man was I would not have a clue' (p. 2794). He said the sailors were around the man on the quarterdeck of Vampire and they were helping hi m back on board V oyoger with thc;r arn·s :ound his shoulders (p. 2794). In his evidence before us Hann was not

prepared to identify the man being helped aboard as Captain Stevens. As in the case of other witnesses a signed statement was obtained from Hann by Counsel as<;is ting us (Exhibi t 107 ). In the course of this statement he said that he \Yas there at the time the sailors helped the man back and 'we surmised then it was

Captain Stevens'. He said that 'I have a fair idea who it was' and that later Mead told him th at it was the Captain. He said 'I do not wan t to say it was the Captain. All I know is that the bloke is dead and he was a beauty. He was the best Captain I sailed with.' In his evidence before us he insisted that he did not recognise the man as the Captain and that be 'surmised that it was the Captain' because Mead

had told him it was (p. 2816). He was not prepared to say that the man whom he saw was affected by alcohol (p. 2813).

Cabban said that on the following morning, 7 April, he had a conversa­ tion with the Captain because he had understood that the Captain had not attended a party given by a group of Australians in Hong Kong the night before as he was unable to do so. He said ' ... (I) asked him, I said to him, "Sir, what am I going

to do with you when you are drunk?", and he said "Say, 'Sir, go to bed' and I will go; but you must call me Sir"' (p. 109). In cross-examination he conceded that it

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was a very extraordinary conversation but he claimed that he asked the question seriously, the Captain took it seriously, and meant his answer seriously (p. 1225). In Cabban's evidence in chief we excluded evidence by him as to a conversation with Commander Money and Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie the night before

for the reasons we have mentioned before we excluded hear5 av or

hand evidence as to occasions when the Captain was alleged to be drunk. However in the course of the evidence of both Commander Money and Lieutenant­ Commander Blaikie it was put to them that on the evening of 6 April,

Money and Blaikie saw Cabban at so me time before 7.00 or 7.30 p.m. when the party given by the Australian group was to take place and that one or other of them said to Cabban' ... "(F)ather's full. He's as blind as a bat. You can't let him go ashore" and that I should stop him before he made a scene' (p. 4458). It was further put to them that they claimed that it was Cabban's job to stop him because be was second in command, but he said if they were so concerned about

it they bad got him into that condition and should look after him. Both Commander Money (p. 2064) and Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie (p. 2731-2) denied that the conversation took place and we permitted Cab ban to be recalled to give evidence of it.

Andrew Richard Eddy (who was an Ordinary Steward on Voyager) said thaf he recollected that on one occasion when Voyager was in harbour he overheard a conversation between Cabban, Money and Blaikie in the wardroom when he was in the pantry. He said:

. . . (a)ll I heard was that I heard voices raised and more or less took notice,

and I heard Cabban say, 'You have got him in this condition, you can look after him' and he was very angry and Money and Blaikie were, you know, a bit tiddly . That is about all I heard. [p. 2236] We were not favourably impressed by the evidence of either Commander Money or Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie as regards this incident. Their denials of tbis conversation were not convincing. We accept Cabban's evidence that some such conversation did take place between Money and Blaikic

and himself. But this evidence was only admitted as going to the credit of Blaikie, Money and Cabban and it could not properly be used as evidence of drunkenness against the late Captain Stevens. For one thing it is possible that Money or Blaikie were told by one of the ratings or by some one else that Stevens was intoxicated.

So far as Cabban's evidence of the conversation with Captain Stevens on the morning of 7 April is concerned it is not corroborated and for reasons wbich we develop elsewhere we are not prepared to act on Cabban's evidence except so far as it is corroborated. And in any event it would be unsafe to rely on the conversation as an admission by Captain Stevens of drunkenness. If it did occur Captain Stevens may have said what is attributed to him facetiously and not

seriously. We have said that Mead was a most unsatisfactory witness. Hann we regard as an honest witness. We do not think he invented the incident but it must be remembered that he himself was drunk on the night in question which makes his evidence as to details entirely unreliable. We are satisfied that in the late afternoon

of 6 April Captain Stevens was assisted in some way along the qua..rterdeck of Vamp ire to the gangway between Vampire and Voyager. The evidence falls short of establishing that he was drunk on this occasion. It is consistent with him being unwell. Mead and Hann were both intoxicated to some extent and they may

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have thought that Captain Stevens needed assistance because he was intoxicated whereas in fact he was bent over with stomach pain. For all we know Mead may have told Blaikie or Money that the Captain was drunk. If they were mis­ taken as to this it destroys any evidentiary value th at might otherwise be given

to their statement to Cabban that night and Cabban's statement to Captain Stevens next morning.

We add that it is conceivable that Mead and Hann were mistaken when they said that this incident occurred at Hong Kong. It may be that an incident of this kind occurred in Tokyo after an occasion when the Captain became unwell ashore. Some support for this possibility was given by the evidence of one Stanley Cecil Chandler, the editor of Melbourne Truth Newspaper. Chandler gave evidence

that he was informed in his capacity as a journalist that on one occasion in Tokyo Steve ns was so drunk that a party of ratings had to carry him on board. He was not prepared to give the source of his information and was subsequently prosecuted and convicted for refusing to answer th e question. This piece of second hand evi dence cannot, of course, in any way be used against the late Captain Stevens,

but it affords some ground for supposing that an incident in which Captain Stevens did receive some assistance al ong the quarter deck did occur but it might have been in Tokyo and not in Hong Kong. Some slight support for the view th at an incident of this kind may have occurred at Tokyo is gi ven by the evidence

of Lieutenant Martin (pp. 1204, 1226).

At Sea-Hong Kong to Singapore 15 April to 21 April There is no evidence that the Captain was ill at any time during the passage from Hong Kong to Singapore.

Singapore-21 April to 23 April Cabban said th at Paragraph 13 did not apply to thi s third visit to Singapore (p. 2553) . Commander Lancaster said th at it was more likely that it was on this third vi sit to Singapore that he noticed that Captain Stevens did not look well ( p. 1951) .

At Sea-Singapore to Pulau T ioman 23 to 27 A pril There is no evidence to suggest that the Captain was ill at any time during the passage from Singapore to Pulau Tioman.

Pulau Tioman-27 to 29 April Cabban said that Paragraph 13 did not apply to the vi sit to Pulau Tioman (p. 2553). There is no evidence to suggest excessive drinking or ill health at Pulau Tioman.

At Sea-Pulau Tioman to Manila 29 April to 8 May There is no evidence to suggest that the Captain was ill at any time during this passage.

M anila-8 to 1 0 May Cabban said that Paragraph 13 did not apply to Manila (p. 2553) and there is no evidence to suggest excessive drinking or ill health at Manila.

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At Sea-Manila to Hong Kong 10 May to 13 May There is no evidence to suggest ill health at any time during this passage.

Hong Kong-13 to 20 May 1963 (Second Visit) Cabban said that Hong Kong on this visit was a port to which Paragraph 13 was intended to apply (p. 2553) .

Evidence as to drinking habits and health during this visi t was confined to two specific occasions: (i) The fo'c'stle party given on Voyager for a British Army group on 13 May 1963;

(ii) Luncheon given on 16 May 1963 by Captain Place on Rothesay for Captains of other ships.

We shall now deal with the evidence and state our findings as to these two !'unctions.

(I) Hong Kong 13 May 1963 Buffet Party on Voyager given by the Wardroom to a British Army Garrison Group and other guests. Cabban said that at this buffet party which was given on the fo'c'stle the Captain was a co-host. He said he arrive d on the fo'c'stle finding difficulty in walking or even standing properly and that he

was improperly dressed because his cummerbund instead of being around his waist was drooping down and his trousers were loose. He said that he was very cheerful his voice was slurred and that he was obviousl y under the impression that he was creating a good image of himself and he turned and put his fingers in his mouth and whistled to the stewards to bring in drinks. He said this was a complete departure from the Captain's normal demeanour and dress because be was normally absolutely immaculate and very well mannered. Cabban said that he was fearful that he might have bad to ask the Captain to leave and that it was the Captain's

behaviour at his birthday dinner that was uppermost in his mind and caused his anxiety. Cabban said that he himself had been ill from fo od poisoning but had returned to the party twice because he was anxious about the Captain's condition (pp. 118-9, 236-7). He further said that he regarded the incident as signifi­ cant because ' (i) it was the first occasion on which the captain had been drunk in front of civil ia ns. and other personnel than Navy perso nnel ' (p. 549).

This incident is not referred to in the 'Cabban Statement' but was referred to in a letter that Cabban wrote to Vice-Admiral Hickling dated 1 May 1965. We regard it however as clearly coming within the scope of the general allegations as to drinking habits in the 'Cabban Statement'.

Cabban's account of the Captain's condition on this occasion received some corroboration from Lieutenant Martin (a witness who, as we have said before, we regard as completely reliable). Martin said he had no clear recollection of this occasion but he did have a mental picture that the Captain was slightly dishevelled (p. 1223). He further said: ' (I) have the mental picture that

he was slightly flushed that he wa s talking slightly more loudly and slightly more than usual, and I remember feeling a twinge of embarrassment for my guests who were in the group at the same time' (p. 1224). He said this indicated to him that the Captain was not himself and that 'Looking back on it I would say this indicated that he did not have the control over himself that he would have expected to have at social functions normally'.

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Among the guests at the party were a Mr and Mrs Liebenschutz and a Mr and Mrs De Lange (Mr Liebenschutz's brother-in-law and sister-in-law). These people were all guests of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban with whom they had struck up a friendship in Hong Kong. Mr Liebenschutz was the General Manager of the Royal Inter Ocean Steamship Line for the Far East. He said that his party was met

by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and he took them along to introduce them to the Captain. He said they were talking to the Captai n for about ten or fifteen minutes. He said : (W) hat I observed was that the Cap.tain had difficulty in speaking which I

attributed to him having had drinks before he received his guests. He did not make a very good impression on us because his uniform or his whole appearance rather I should say, was a bit shabby. [p. 3722]

Mr Liebenschutz did not recall anything about the Captain's cummerbund but said that his shirt was not clean and the coat seemed to be ill fitting and that his tie was not very straight (p. 3731). He further said ' (H)is face was

perspiring and I am sorry to say he looked to me as if he had had a few drinks before he received us. That is what it amounts to' (p. 3732). He put his difficulty in speaking down to drink (p. 3732).

Mr Liebenschutz on 10 August 1967 made a statement on oath before a Notary Public. During the course of his sworn evidence before us he said that this statement was true. In the course of this statement he said: We talked to the Captain for about ten or fifteen minutes. I cannot recollect exactly

what we talked about but from the manner in which Capt. Stevens uttered his

words (and in particular the movement of his lips and tongue) and from his appear­ ance it was quite obvious to me that he had been drinking before we arrived. He

was able to talk but had difficulty with his speech. The Captain was shabby in appearance; h is clothes did not appear clean and seemed ill-fitting. I clearly remember comparing him in my thoughts with Captains of my Company's vessels who were always neatly attired for social occasions of this

sort. I took into consideration that in the F a r East more alcohol is consumed on the whole than in countries with a colder climate but, notwithstanding this, Capt.

Stevens made a very poor impression upon me and in my eyes his behaviour did great harm to the Australian prestige abroad and the good name of the Australian Navy. [Part of Exhibit 146]

In answer to questions directed to him by the Chairman (p . 3740) as to what behaviour on the part of Captain Stevens he thought did 'great harm to the Australian prestige abroad of the Australian Navy' he said: As I said, I do not have to repeat what I found about his appearance. But all the

other officers on board were at that particular moment when we were talking to the Captain very neatly attired and neatly dressed, and he was not. As the host, I thought that made a terribly poor impression and was something which a captain of a destroyer could not afford to do. He is the man in my opinion who has to keep

up the name of the ship, the name of the Navy, the name of the country be represents, and if be as the number one of the ship makes that poor impression, whereas the others did not, and at the time of the reception it was not at the end of the reception, it was at the beginning of the reception, the party, that it what made me say that.

In a letter that Liebenschutz wrote to Cabban on 12 June 1967 in response to a request from Cabban as to whether he recalled the party he said: I very clearly remember the shabby impression the commander of the Voyager made upon me and in my thoughts I compared him with captains of my company's

merchant vessels who were always so neatly attired on those sort of occasions. the manner Captain Stevens uttered his words (movement of the lips and tongue) Jt

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was quite obvious that he had been drinking before we arrived. I do not wish to

say that he could not talk sense, but he had difficulty with his speech. Taking into consideration that in the Far East more alcohol is consumed on the whole than in other countries with a colder climate, I regret to state that Captain Stevens made a very poor impression upon me and in my eyes, his behaviour did great harm to the Australian prestige abroad.

In the same letter he said: I do recall that during the several visits you, and also your friend, Scotty Griffiths, paid us in our home in Hong Kong, you never failed to express your great concern about the drinking habits of your commander and your anxiety for the safety of the vessel in case you would not be forewarned in tin1e to take over command of the vessel. You told me on one of your visits that you had to sail the Voyager all the way

from Tokyo to Hong Kong as Captain Stevens lay inebriated in his cabin during the whole voyage and you were terribly upset about it. You have also told me that

quite often you had to sail the ship upon departure from a port as the Captain

was incapable of doing so. [Part of Exhibit 146]

Liebenschutz was at a later stage recalled and in answer to Mr Hiatt said that when he saw the Captain, his opinion was that the> Captain was not drunk but he was on the way to getting drunk (p. 3981).

Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie gave evidence about his party and he denied that the Captain was dishevelled or there was anything unusual about him (pp. 2756-57). But as we have said elsewhere we can place little reliance on this witness.

Mr Liebenschutz was cross-examined in some detail about discrepancies and details about where be was introduced to the Captain but this in no way affected his credit. We have no hesitation in accepting Mr Liebenscbutz's evidence as to what he observed. The only qualification that perhaps ought to be made is that Cabban in the course of conversations with Mr Liebenschutz before the Buffet

Party had expressed concern about the Captain's drinking habits (pp. 3720, 3741) and it may be that Mr Liebenschutz was expecting that the Captain might show signs of being under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Liebenschutz's evidence was corroborated by an affidavit sworn by Mr De Lange on 17 August 1967. Mr De Lange is a chemical engineer at present living in Baarn, Holland and in 1963: was working for the Holland China Trading Company in Hong Kong. He said in his affidavit:

I remember that it was obvious to me that the Captain had had already too much to drink to be in proper control of himself. His attire was fairly in disorder. I thought it a very poor performance for a host. He moved unsteadily away thereafter and I cannot remember having seen him again. [Exhibit 173]

No evidence was given by Cabban or any other witness as to the Captain's condition later on during the party.

We find that on this occasion Captain Stevens was mildly intoxicated. (II)Hong Kong. Luncheon on Rothesay to Captains of visiting Naval Vessels, 16 May 1963. (Paragraph 19 of 'Cabban Statement'.) The allegations made by Cabban in paragraph 19 of the 'Cabban Statement' were based on the signal which he claimed was sent from Rothesay and from what Commander Irwin told him. We excluded his evidence on these matters in his evidence in chief by reason of the ruling to which we have already referred.

Cabban in his evidence before us said that the Captain was 'perfectly all right' when he left for the luncheon about 11.30 or 11.45 a.m. and that he was

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'completely sober' when he returned at 2.00 p .m. (pp. 115-6, 237). After Cabban gave this evidence a number of witnesses said that the Captain did not get back to Voyager until late in the afternoon, and when Cabban was recalled he said that this might have been so. He did not assert, however, that either

when the Captain left or when he returned be was otherwise than sober. We received an affidavit from Captain Basil Charles Godfrey Place, (R.N. ) (who is at present in command of the Albion and living in England). He deposed to the truth of the following statement as to Captain Stevens' condition at the luncheon:

I do recall Captain Stevens arriving a few minutes early, but what little recollection I have of our conversation is that it was quite normal and that he was in normal

health and spirits.

After we sat down to lunch, Captain Stevens said he felt far from well and

would I excuse him for a few minutes. I can recollect no particular feelings I had at the time, but I cannot have been seriously concerned as neither I nor any of my other guests accompanied him when he left my cabin, and he left by the door to the flat and upper deck, not to my sleeping cabin. Shortly afterwards I had a message from my Officer of the Day, I assumed initiated by Captain Stevens, that he was

lying down in the Engineer Officer's cabin and would rather not return to the lunch party.

After my other guests had left, I can remember satisfying myself that Captain Stevens was comfortable and not in need of medical attention, but I cannot recall precisely the action I took. I went ashore-probably about 1430-and remember on my return before dinner being informed that Captain Stevens had returned to his

ship. I saw him next day : be assured me he was back to normal health and regretted being obliged to leave my lunch table. [Part of Exhibit 200]

In his affidavit he deposed: 3. I do not believe there ca n have been anything unusual about the appearance of Captain Stevens when he left my lunch table, or prior to that time, or I feel certain I would have remembered. I do remember casting my mind back to what we bad

talked about before lunch and recalling that be had seemed his normal self, although I do not now remember what we talked about. 4. I must confess th at I assumed at the time that he had had too many late nights

and social engagements-possibly exacerbated by my rather hot cabin (it was not air-conditioned). I think I must have understood him to be more in need of fresh air than anything el e, as I did not suggest him lying down in my sleeping cabin. [Exhibit 200]

Commander Thomas Peter Irwin, R.N. (Rothesay) gave evidence that he saw a naval captain who appeared to be ill come down from the luncheon early and he took him to his cabin. He was himself, unable to identify the naval captain as Captain Stevens, but there is no doubt that it was Captain Stevens. Commander

Irwin gave a straightforward account of the Captain being brought down to the wardroom deck by a steward with a me ssage from Rothesay's Captain that he was unwell and that he wanted him to have Commander Irwin's cabin to rest in. Commander Irwi n said that the Captain looked unwell and that he accompanied

him to his cabin and the Captain took his coat and shoes off and lay down. He said he did not appear to be under the influ ence of alcohol but he thought he was genuinely unwell (pp. 3526-8) . In a letter to Vice-Admiral Hickling dated 5 June 1967 which comprises part of Exhibit 136, Commander Irwin said:

Your letter did remind me vaguely of an incident quite forgotten. I do not believe I can assist you in your inquiries-the only recollection I have is that there was an Officer who passed out at a lunch given by my Captai n (which I did not attend) and he spent some hours asleep in my cabin subsequently. I could not say who he

was nor, I am sure, would I be able to recognise him again.

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r". r} . . .....

We accept Commander Irwin's sworn evidence given before us as to the con­ dition of the Captain as he observed him.

When he was recalled Cabban gave evidence as to the signal which he claimed was sent by Rothesay to Voyager stating that 'YOUR CAPTAIN HAS PASSED OUT AND WILL BE RETURNED TO YOU WHEN HE IS FIT' and also as to a conversation which he had with Commander Irwin after the incident. As Cab ban is unable to give any direct evidence relative to this incident (other than his evidence that the Captain was sober when he left Voyager and sober when he returned) it is inappropriate to deal in this section of the Report with his evidence as to the signal or as to his conversation with Irwin. We will deal with some aspects of this in the section in our Report relating to Cabban's credit.

We find that on the occasion of this luncheon, Captain Stevens was genuinely unwell and that this was not associated with excessive consumption of alcohol. It is important as one incident in a series of incidents when Captain Stevens through illness was unable to see a social function through.

At Sea-Hong Kong to Karatsu 20 to 24 May There is no suggestion that the Captain was ill during this passage.

Karatsu-24 May to 28 May 1963 Cab ban said that Paragraph 13 was intended to apply to Karatsu (p. 2553).

Cabban at no stage of his evidence said that he saw any signs of excessive drinking by Captain Stevens at Karatsu, but it appears from his initial evidence that be had some anxiety about the Captain at Karatsu notwithstanding the obvious success of this goodwill visit (pp. 245-6). When Cabban was recalled after Squadron Leader Farrelly had given evidence, he said this evidence brought

back certain incidents to his mind (p.4589) (including a conversation with Farrelly when he told Farrelly about his concern as to the Captain's condition) (pp. 4455-6). His evidence however did not go beyond saying he had an impression that all was not well at Karatsu.

Evidence was given by a young rating Barry James Britton that on one night in Karatsu he was at a 'strip joint' with some companions when Captain Stevens 'sort of come bursting through the doorway'. He said ' (H)e seemed

very flushed. He looked as if he was under the weather a bit', and that ' (h)e seemed a bit unsteady on his feet'. (p. 1331) . He said ' (H)e

more or less just come in and when be seen there was sailors there he turned round and left'. (p. 1336). Britton cheerfully volunteered that he was 'under the weather' himself and it was just his personal opinion and he could not really remember. While we have no reason to doubt that Britton honestly held the opinion he gave, his evidence in the absence of any corroboration is insufficient to satisfy us that Captain Stevens was intoxicated on this occasion.

We should also refer to the evidence of a ship's writer Phillip Ian Farmer. He gave an account of seeing the Captain stumble coming up the narrow gangway, and being assisted by the quartermaster one night when Voyager was in Karatsu. In his sworn evidence be said he was not in a position to say whether the Captain

had been drinking or not (pp. 3117-9) . In his signed statement he said that 'He certainly was not looking the best and I had the impression that he was a bit full'

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(p. 2 of Exhibit 125) . ln his sworn testimony he said he formed this impression because it was late at night and the Captain stumbled (pp. 3128-9). He

further said that he could not remember whether the quartermaster did any more than help him to his feet and that the Captain may then have continued to walk up the gangway unassisted (p. 3141). In the result his evidence is consistent with a momentary stumble on the gangway not associated with excessive drinking. Farmer's observations as to the Captain's appearance are perhaps worth quoting.

In answer to a question what be meant in his statement that ' (H ) c

certainly was not looking the best' he said:

Well, the Captain was a man who on some days looked very well, and on other

days he had a face which was very wrinkled and he did not look well. I am not

suggesting that he had been drinking at the same time, but it was just one of those days when he looked older than perhaps he normally did. [p. 3129]

The only evidence suggesting heavy drinking by Captain Stevens at Karatsu comes from Squadron Leader Maurice Farrelly. Squadron Leader Farrelly was attached to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo at the time of the operational cruise. He went down to Karatsu on official duty as interpreter to Captain Stevens. He

made it clear in his evidence that the whole of the goodwill visit to Karatsu was eminently successful. He did not say that at any time he saw Captain Stevens intoxicated at Karatsu but did say that his impression was that the Captain drank too continuously for the good of his health and that 'he looked listless, heavy-eyed

and had to push himself to get through some functions'. His cross-examination demonstrated that this general impression must have been drawn from his observa­ tions on only a very limited number of occasions. While his evidence falls far short of establishing that Captain Stevens became intoxicated at any time during

the Karatsu visit it does suggest that Stevens was drinking unwisely having regard to his health. The evidence of Squadron Leader Farrelly as to Captain Stevens, Commander Money and Lieutenant-Commander Blaikie having a drinking session with him at hi s Inn after a .function on Voyager is of no great significance but it

perhaps forms part of a pattern of drinking habits exemplified by other instances. On this and other occasions Captain Stevens unwisely went on to private parties and continued drinking after official functions. Farrelly also gave important evidence of a discussion he had with Cabban towards the end of the visit by

Voyager to Karatsu. He said he recalled Cabban telling him he was worried about the Captain's condition and he thought the Captain was drinking more than was crood for his health. He said he was sure that Cabban never suggested to him that ;he Captain was intoxicated and that his worry was for the Captain's well-being

(pp. 4111-2). He also recalled that the Captain himself had told him that he was suffering from some stomach trouble (p. 4117) . Farrelly also said that it came as no surprise to him when Cabban told him he was concerned about the Captain's health because it was consistent with his own observations (pp. 4117-8). In

another part of his evidence he amplified his account of his discussion with Cabban and said that Cabban said that he told him that be would be terribly relieved when they all got back to Australia and the worry would be off his shoulders and on to someone else's (p. 4111) .

When Cabban was recalled he gave evidence that in fact he did have this conversation with Farrelly (pp. 4455-6) .

Captain Dollard was in Karatsu to welcome Voyager on May 24 and to help start the goodwill visit off. He noticed nothing unu sual about the Captain's

12078/68-7 89

health (p. 1886). It appears that he left Karatsu to return to Tokyo on 25th May (p. 4370). He was with the Captain on May 24 when he made official calls and attended a Japanese dinner that night. His evidence is not inconsistent with Squadron Leader Farrelly's evidence as to his observation of the Captain during

the Karatsu visit.

We accept Farrelly's evidence as to his conversation with Cabban. This indicates that by the time Voyager bad reached Karatsu, Cab ban was concerned about the Captain's health and thought he was drinking more than was good for him but was not alleging intoxication.

We believe that Cabban genuinely had this concern. The evidence as to the Captain's condition at Singapore and Hong Kong supports it.

At Sea-Karatsu to Tokyo 28 May to 5 June There is no suggestion that Captain Stevens was ill during this passage. Voyager left Karatsu at 0900 hours on 28 May. The next 48 hours were spent on passage to join Hermes off Okinawa. Then on Thursday 30 May a series of

exercises were carried out. Further exercises were carried out on Saturday 1 June, Sunday 2 June and Monday 3 June. Voyager then ran into bad weather which made her late into Tokyo (p. 1887) .

Tokyo, 5 to 10 June 1963 A mass of detailed evidence was given by numerous witnesses as to Captain Stevens' condition and behaviour during this five day visit of Voyager to Tokyo. This is an important period relating both to Captain Stevens' drinking habits and c.ondition of health, and it will be necessary to canvass the evidence in some detail. It will be convenient first to deal chronologically with the evidence relating to the official and social functions attended by Captain Stevens and to incidents in which he was involved and then to deal with evidence of a more general

character relating to his drinking habits and condition of health while Voyager was in Tokyo.

A. Evidence relating to specific occasions and incidents Wednesday 5 June. Voyager berthed alongside Vampire at 1815 hours and shortly afterwards Captain Stevens attended an official reception in H.M.S. Alert given by the Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief Far East Fleet (Vice-Admiral Sir Desmond Dreyer). There is

no evidence suggesting that Captain Stevens was otherwise than completely sober or conducted himself other than with complete propriety at this reception.

Captain Dollard, the Services Attache at the Australia n Embassy (now Commodore Dollard) gave evidence that he attended this reception which began at about 6.30 p.m.\ and ended about 8.30 p.m. He recalled that Voyager was a little late into Tokyo because of bad weather and that Captain Stevens '

just made it .' to Admiral Dreyer's reception (p. 1887). Cab ban referred to having hurried off ' to the reception (p. 123). Captain

Dollard said that after the reception Captain Stevens and Captain G. J. Willis invited his wife and himself to have a quiet dinner on board (probably Vampire). He said that his wife recalled that Stevens came in to the cabin and said 'Thank Christ that's over' (referring to the 'Alert' reception). He said Stevens was ' (a) bsolutely normal' and that the dinner finished up about 10.30 or 11.00 p.m.

(pp. 1887-8).

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Thursday 6 June. Captain Stevens paid an official call on His Excellency the Australian Ambassador Sir Laurence Mcintyre, and was entertained by Sir Laurence and his wife to luncheon. Sir Laurence Mcintyre gave evidence before us and deposed to the truth of a signed statement which he supplied on 11 July 1967

(Exhibit 123). Sir Laurence had no particular recollection of the luncheon when he entertained Captain Stevens and his fellow Captain G. J. Willis, but speaking generally of the Tokyo visit he said: All I can say is that at the conclusion of the visit, which to all appearances had

been a happy and successful one, the impression I retained of Captain Stevens was that of an agreeable and articulate personality and an efficient naval officer who knew his job and ran a good ship. On no occasion when I was in his company did I see anything in any way abnormal or unseemly in his behaviour. I saw nothing at

any time to suggest that he was in any way influenced by drink. Even if measures had been taken to conceal from the Ambassador any misbehaviour on the part of a visiting Australian naval captain, it is likely that I would have heard some whisper of it from within the relatively small Australian community in Tokyo. I can only

say that I heard nothing of any kind to Captain Stevens' discredit. [p. 2 of Exhibit 123]

l06S

(It is interesting to note that Sir Laurence Mcintyre did recall that one subject

of conversation that came up when he paid his return call to Captain Stevens on Voyager was that of how to fill in spare time during long voyages, and he said he clearly remembered Captain Stevens saying that he made a point of not drinking at sea) (p. 1 of Exhibit 123).

On the evenin g of Thursday, 6 June, Captain Dollard gave an official reception in the form of a cocktail party in honour of the visiting naval officers. This was a two-hour function beginning at 6.30 p.m. Captain Dollard said that both Captain Stevens and Captain G. J. Willis attended the reception. He had no

particular recollection of Captain Stevens' appearance but he sa id '( c )ertainly he did not look in an y way un usual , to draw my attention to it' (pp. 1888-9).

Evidence was given by Mr Arthur Barclay Jamieson (a counsellor attached to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo) that he attended the cocktail party gi ven by Captain Dollard. He said that he saw Captain Stevens at the cocktail party and that he had found him to have a ' gay, outgoing, quite charming personality'

(p. 4209). H e said: . . . At the beginning of the party when I fi rst met him he was fresh and alert,

and by the time we had left, or by the time my wife and I had left I thought he

looked a little the worse for wear.

In answer to a question why he drew that inference he said (W)ell,

it is rather hard to describe after this length of time, but I would say that he looked as if he had had more drinks than the other people at the party' (p. 4209). In cross­ examination by Mr Hiatt he said that he had not met Captain Stevens before. He agreed that he was impressed with the sort of lively extrovert, cheerful personality

and that before the function finished he noticed that his appearance had changed to a considerable extent and gave him the appearance that he had drunk more than other people at the party (p. 4214). The Chairman questioned Jamieson as to what it was about Captain Stevens' appearance or behaviour that made him

think he had had more drinks than other guests saying: (I) know it is difficult to be specific, but if you can help us I would be

glad if you would? A. It is difficult. He was talking more volubly, repeating himself a little, talking not exactly to the point. Those are the best words in which I can describe it. [p. 4220]

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Captain Dollard was recalled after Jamieson had given evidence, and the Chairman put to him Jamieson's evidence that towards the end of the cocktail party Captain Stevens looked a little worse for wear'. Captain Dollard said:

(I) would go so far as to say that I do not agree with that, and I do not

think it is true. Because I, probably of all people other than the ship's company present in Tokyo at the time, saw more of Captain Stevens than anybody else, and of Captain Willis. When I saw Captain Stevens nodding at my buffet party, which is now established as the third night, I was struck by great surprise that this had

happened. I had no warning from my own observation or anything else or anyone else that things were leading up to this. The fact that I was struck by such great surprise le ads me to the firm conclusion that in my talks and company with Captain Stevens for the preceding two days and two nights, his conduct had been absolutely normal. I stand by that. I believe his conduct and his appearance were absolutely normal from my personal and constant observation right up until I was struck with surprise

by seeing him in a state which I did ·not expect to find him in on the third night

at my buffet dinner. [p. 4429]

There were about 150 guests at the reception but Captain Willis and Captain Stevens were the guests of honour. Captain Dollard would have no doubt fare­ welled Captain Stevens before he left. If Captain Stevens had shown any signs of then being intoxicated Captain Dollard would have undoubtedly noticed them.

The picture given by Mr Jamieson of Captain Stevens however does not really suggest that he was intoxicated. So far as he spoke from his actual recollection that Captain Stevens was talking more volubly and repeating himself a little and talking not exactly to the point, we have no reason to doubt it, but we cannot accept his statement that he was ' a little the worse for wear' as an

accurate judgment. This may have been another instance of fatigue and physical discomfort.

Mr Jamieson stated that he had a clear recollection that at Captain Dollard's cocktail party, he and his wife discovered that almost all the officers except the two Captains were '. lined up .' to go on somewhere else, that

they asked them to dine with them and Captain and Mrs Dollard at the Gaslight Restaurant (p. 4206), that their invitation was accepted, that he and his wife went on ahead arriving at the restaurant about 9.00 p.m. and their guests joined them about 10-15 minutes later. He said that when Stevens arrived he looked a good deal fresher and he put this down to him having had a shower at Captain

Dollard's home (p. 4220). He said that he was able to fix the date because he entered it as Thursday, June 6, in his half yearly representation return sent to the Department of External Affairs (for reimbursement of entertainment expenses) (p. 4212). But this return was prepared some weeks later and it cannot be regarded in the same light as a reliable contemporaneous record.

When Captain Dollard was recalled he said he was quite certain in his own mind that the Jamieson's dinner party at the Gaslight Restaurant was on Sunday night, 9 June (pp. 4372-4375). He said his recollection was quite firm and gave specific reasons for his recollection, but he conceded he might be wrong (p. 4375).

Neither Mr Jamieson nor Captain Dollard had the slightest motive for giving false evidence as to the date of the dinner party. It is quite obvious that one of them is genuinely mistaken as to the night when this dinner party was given. We are unable to resolve this conflict between them but it is unimportant. There is

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little conflict between Captain Dollard and Mr Jamieson as to the course of events at the dinner. Captain Dollard said that towards the tail end of the dinner: (o)ne or two of us noticed that Captain Stevens was again half asleep. From being quite alive and alert and quite normal in his behaviour and appearance, be was

suddenly, and quite suddenly- ! think this probably was the same sort of thing that happened at the buffet party in my house-his head dropped and be was half asleep. [p. 1895]

Captain Dollard further said: (I) went to him and suggested that he had had a ha rd day, or perhaps he

had had it, or whatever I said, and suggested he might like to go back to the ship. With this he agreed immediately and he got up, and we walked out. He was once again quite norma l in his manner. I think he was very quiet. I do not think we

talked at any length. In fact I am sure we did not. He got into his car, which

was standing right outside, unaided. I said good-night to him and told the driver 'Back to the ship'. That was the last I saw of Captain Stevens that night. [p . 1895]

Mr Jamieson had a clear recollection that Captain Stevens did not eat his main course at the dinner. He said that the Captain said he did not feel like eating it (p. 4209). His account of the Captain's condition at a later stage of the evening appears from the following extract from the transcript:

Q. You mentioned that when he arrived at the restaurant he looked fresh. Did that appearance remain constant throughout the three hours you were at the restaurant? A. No, I do not think-! cannot say that it did. Q. What change took place?

A. Well, he began to look a little more tired and I suppose he may have had a

drink or two that had some kind of cumulative effect. Q. What, on your observation, was the effect? A. Rather suddenly, at a fairly late stage in the evening, I was busy talking to some­ body at the table and I heard him say, 'You'll look after me, won't you, Jim?'

I thought he was addressing me, because despite my Christian names I am known to friends as Jim. I turned round and realised he was addressing Captain Willis, whose name was also Jim. Q. What did you observe concerning Captain Stevens at that time?

A. Well, h is head was nodding and he was rather slumped in his chair. Q. Would it be possible to make any estimate, approximate as it would no doubt be , of the time which had transpired from his arrival at the restaurant to the occurrence of this event? A. It would be about two hours, I would say-two hours or two-and-a-quarter. Q . What was his manner of speech as he spoke the words which you have just told

u!) about?

A. He spoke slowly and quite softly. [p. 4210]

Mr Jamieson said that they all felt it was time to call an end to the party. They accordingly all left together. He said that Captain Stevens '. O)eft it in good order. He looked as he had looked for some time, as though he had had one or two drinks more than he should have' (p. 4211).

Captain G. J. Willis bad no actual recollection of this supper party at the Gas­ ligh t Restaurant ( pp. 2508-11) although he had some memory of having a meal with Captain Stevens (p. 2510).

We are satisfied that Captain Stevens did quite suddenly nod off at the Gaslight Restaurant as described by Captain Dollard and Mr Jamieson. Although he had bad a good deal to drink he was not intoxicated and certainly did not 'pass out'

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because he was drunk. His remark to Captain Willis 'You'll look after me, won't you, Jim' suggests that Captain Stevens was not merely feeling drowsy but was feeling unwell. It appears however that he was able to leave unaided. Had this bcc>1 an isolated incident it would be of little importance-it would be in keeping with

nothing more than fatigue and consistent drinking. As will appear in Sections (5) and (6) of this Part we regard this incident as one where Captain Stevens' state of health made him more vulnerable to fatitgue, unusual food and alcohol. But it is one of a series of several similar incidents. We shall in another part of our Report consider what inferences should be drawn from this series of incidents.

Friday, 7 June. The Report of Proceedings lists the following official functions : (Appendix D June) Friday 7th-Luncheon in H .M.S. Alert by The Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Far E ast Fleet, Childrens Party. for sixty children. Queens Birthday Garden Party at

the British Embassy by His Excellency the British Ambassador Sir Oscar Morland and Lady Morland. Buffet dinner party by Australian Services Attache.

Captain Stevens attended the luncheon on H .M.S. Alert given by F.O.C.A.F.; the Queen's Birthday Garden Party and the Buffet Dinner given by Captain Dollard.

We accept Cabban's evidence that after 'colours' on the morning of 7 June when he went to Captain Stevens' cabin to discuss the day's programme he noticed that the Captain looked unwell and was having coffee mixed with brandy to get him 'back on the road'; that he suggested to the Captain that they take a steam bath in Tokyo to help to get him in better physical shape to attend a luncheon with a Japanese Admiral; that they had steam baths and had two or three brandies and ginger ale afterwards (pp. 124, 252, 253).

It appears that Captain Stevens attended the luncheon. Captain Stevens attended the Queen's Birthday Garden Party which was held between 6.00 and 8.00 p.m. (Captain Dollard's evidence p. 1889). There is nothing to suggest that Captain Stevens was other than completely sober or conducted himself other than with complete propriety on this occasion.

After the garden party Captain Dollard said that he took a number of the Australian officers (including Captain Stevens) and some other guests to his home for a buffet supper. His guests numbered about 30 and they arrived between 8.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. He explained that it was a 'sit down' buffet supper in two adjoining rooms with a variety of window seats and tables where people sat in small groups (p. 1889). Captain Dollard said that at the early part of the function Captain Stevens' 'manner, behaviour, was perfectly normal'. He gave the following account of the events that followed.

We sat down to supper, I would guess, at about 9.30. After some time I looked from the room I was in, I was moving around, looked into the other room and I saw that Captain Stevens, who was sitting at a small table, his head was nodding and he looked to be half asleep.

I was somewhat disturbed about this. I thought that he had been overtaken by fatigue and probably drink and so I went outside to arrange a car. I cannot remember whether I spoke to Captain Stevens immediately or whether I arranged transport first. I went outside and the two official cars which the officers were travelling in

were not there, they had been sent off for the drivers to get their supper, so I got hold of a car of a friend of mine who had a chauffeur to take Captain Stevens back

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THE WITNESS (continuing): I then was spoken to by one of Captain Steven's officers, who apparently had followed me out. He said, 'It's all right, sir: I'll look after it', or 'I'll see the old man home', or whatever he did say-I do not recall.

lie ind1cated to me that if I liked to get on about looking after my guests, he would look after this aspect. Captain Stevens left, and my mind is not clear on this-the recollection: I do not have the picture of him walking out. I believe I spoke to him and said, 'Duncan,

I think you've had it', or something, 'and it's time you went home', or I m ay have said some words of that nature. I have not a full recollection of this. He, anybow, left the house, and that was the last I saw of him that day. He went back in the

car I had arranged. [pp. 1889-91]

In cross-examination Captain Dollard said that it was about a quarter past or half past ten when he noticed Captain Stevens' condition. He said he assumed that alcohol had something to do with it (p. 1913). In a letter dated 29 June 1967 from Captain Dollard to the Deputy Crown Solicitor, in reply to a letter requesting

him to comment on the 'Cabban Statement' he said in relation to the buffet supper party: While dinner was in progress I noticed Captain Stevens was nodding, apparently half asleep, over his food. I considered that he had had too much to drink and I arranged

for one of his senior officers to accompany him back to his ship. He left without any fuss, and, apart from the nodding over his foo d he at no time drew attention to himself. He was not sick and few of the guests, if any, noticed anything amiss. To the best of my knowledge he walked to the car without assistance. He certainly

left the house under his own control. [p. 4 of Exhibit 178]

When Captain Dollard was recalled he was questioned further about the account he gave in this letter. He said that he was quite certain that drink bad some effect on his condition and it bad never occurred to him otherwise (p. 4413). Captain Dollard said that:

(I) would never have considered for a moment that drink did not enter

into it, and perhaps if not this situation would not have happened. However, drink was there, fatigue was there and so I believe I am consistent in my views on this matter. [p . 4430]

Captain Dollard's recollection was clear that be arranged with a senior officer from Voyager to get a car and take Captain Stevens back to his ship. He thought that the officer was Commander Money (pp. 4382-3). Commander Money insisted that he had no recollection of himself or of any naval officer taking the Captain

home early (pp. 2060-1, 2106).

Squadron Leader Farrelly gave detailed evidence as to Captain Stevens' con­ dition at the buffet supper and of the events which according to his recoll ection followed (pp. 4112-49). He said that when he first saw Captain Stevens soon after the guests arrived for the buffet supper he was talking to him for some little time. He said ' (I) have a recollection of his speech not being unintelli­

gible but certainly slurred, and he seemed to be a bit unsteady on his feet'. He said ' (T)he Captain appeared to me then to be pretty well under the

weather. He looked to me as though he was going to have difficulty seeing the evening through. This was the worst I bad seen him ever' (p. 4113). Although he was not absolutely positive he believes he saw Captain Dollard and warned him about Captain Stevens' condition and with Dollard's approval sat close to

Captain Stevens at one of the tables to keep an eye on him. He said his recollec­ tion was quite clear that after the buffet supper had been in progress for a short time he saw that Captain Stevens was slumped in his chair, that he had difficulty in replacing a wine glass back on the table-missing it on several occasions.

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106:::1

Farrelly was also quite clear that at this stage he went to see Captain Dollard and that Captain Dollard came over and suggested that Stevens was tired and might like to leave and that Dollard took him upstairs. Farrelly was also definite that three quarters of an hour later Dollard brought Captain Stevens down and a naval

officer and Squadron Leader Farrelly took him to a car. Farrelly said that he in fact arranged for the chauffeur of one of the civilian guests to take Stevens back to the ship. His recollection appeared to be clear that he spoke to a Japanese chauffeur of the civilian guest and arrange for the chauffeur to drive Stevens back

to the ship (pp. 4113-4) .

After Squadron Leader Farrelly 's evid ence had bee n given it was arranged for Captain Dollard to be recalled. Captain Dollard said that he had no memory of Squadron Leader Farrelly being at the buffet supper -but he was sure that the would have been invited (p. 4375). He said he had no recollection of Farrelly playing any part in the events of that night and that he believed he did not

(p. 4376). He said that he believed it was he (Dollard) who lined up the car to take Captain Stevens back to the ship. He thought that not more than ten to fifteen minutes elapsed from the time he noticed Captain Stevens' condition and the time Stevens left (p. 4377). He said that he did not, as he bad previously thought, see Captain Stevens leave but that he knew that he was with the officer

(whom he thought was Commander Money) and whom he had arranged to look after him (p. 4376). He seemed certain that he himself personally made arrange­ ments for the car and not Farrelly (p. 4382) and that almost certainly Captain Stevens was still at his table when he made arrangements for the car and for

practical purposes went directly from there out through the front door to the motor car (p. 4384).

Squadron Leader Farrelly's description of Captain Stevens' arrival at the buffet supper was put to him. The following extract of his evidence is important. (I) certainly would have met him on arrival, and certainly if be was in a state as Mr Farrelly described this would have struck me very much. Therefore, I

can only assume, and to the best of my recollection and belief, that Captain Stevens arrived in perfectly good order, and not until the moment he began nodding was there any indication or feeling or alarm in my mind whatever, nor in the mind of my wife. ASPREY, J. A. : On the assumption that Captain Stevens had been in the condition

so described by Mr Farrelly shortly after his arrival at your home, and that

you had observed it, would you have felt it incumbent upon you, having regard to his position and yours, to have done something about it? A. Certainly. I would have got a car and sent him back to his ship, or suggested he go back to his ship, which I have no doubt he would have followed. But I

would most certainly have found it incumbent upon me to avoid what by that description could be an imminent disgraceful scene. However a scene did not eventuate. [pp. 4388-9] He said that he had no recollection of any conversation with Squadron Leader Farrelly as to the Captain's condition and it was something he felt he would cer­

tainly recall (pp. 4389-90).

The conflict between Captain Dollard and Squadron Leader Farrelly as to the circumstances in which Captain Stevens left is curious. Obviously one of them is mistaken-neither has the slightest motive for telling a deliberate untruth about it. But this conflict is unimportant. Neither of them suggests that Captain Stevens was drunk and incapable or created any scene. Neither of them suggests that he was

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unal}le to leave without physical assistance. These details are unimportant in relation to any issue we have to determine. But what is more important is the conflict of evidence between these two apparently completely honest witnesses as to Captain Stevens' condition at the beginning of the buffet party. Squadron Leader Farrelly was not certain that he warned Captain Dollard about Captain Stevens'

condition as he saw it and no affirmative finding on this is therefore possible.

Farrelly, in Karatsu, had been made the confidant of Cabban who had told him that Captain Stevens was drinking far too much for his health's sake. In his evidence Farrelly described the buffet supper party as a party for the officers of Voyager and Vampire to meet Japanese service officers and their wives, and

stated that he had been invited mai nly for the purpose of acting as an interpreter and had arrived at Captain Dollard's home early for this purpose. Captain Dollard and the two captains and some officers of Voyager and Vampire had that afternoon attended the Queen's Birthday party at the British Embassy in Tokyo from 6 p.m.

to 8 p.m. a function for about 1000 guests. Farrelly did not attend the party at the British Embassy. Captain Dollard's home is about half an hour's drive from the British Embassy which he left in time to arrive at his own home at abom 8. 30 p.m. Before leaving he spoke to a number of the Australian officers and indicated to them that he expected them at his home in about half an hour or so.

Squadron Leader Farrelly appeared to us to be an honest witness but so also did Captain Dollard who was the host of the party and whose house it was where the party took place; and Captain Dollard's account of the appearance of Captain Stevens upon his arrival and his method of departure are in very sharp conflict

with that of Farrelly. It becomes necessary to pay regard to the probabilities of the version deposed to by F arrell y. These appear to us to be: (i) it seems difficult to believe that at a British Embassy party which we know included many British, New Zealand and Australian Naval officers

and which we presume would have included high ranking military, diplo­ matic and other personnel, Captain Stevens would have become adversely affected by liquor at a party of 1000 people at some time between 6 p.m.

and 8 p.m. where there was no bar at which ready service of drinks could be obtained and those requiring liquid refreshment were dependent upon waiters passing through a crowd; and he must have been in that condition at the Embassy to have arrived shortly afterwards at Captain

Dollard's home in such a state. (ii )

(iii)

Captain G. J. Willis and Captain Stevens usually went to functions together and, if Captain Willis had observed Captain Stevens proceeding to a party in the condition alleged by Farrelly where he and Captain Stevens were to be the guests of honour, it can only be presumed that

some intervention on the part of Captain Willis would have occurred. Even if Captain Willis did not actually accompany Captain Stevens, be would have observed the state of affairs immediately on his arrival. There were only 32 guests at the party and if the condition of Captain

Stevens was noticeable to Farrelly it would have been equally noticeable to everyone else present before the dinner including Captain Willis who has sworn that be never saw Captain Stevens under the influence in Tokyo. Captain Dollard, as host, would have certainly observed the condition of

one of his two guests of honour. He described the manner and behaviour of Captain Stevens upon his arrival as perfectly normal and that there

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was nothing in it to attract his attention; and Captain Dollard introduced Captain Stevens to his guests who included an admiral in the U. S. Navy and his wife and representatives of the U. S., Italian, Burmese, N.Z. and Australian Embassies. Captain Dollard said that, if Captain Stevens

had been in the condition as described by Farrelly, having regard to the Captain's position and his own, he would have arranged to send him back to his ship by car. He said: 'I would most certainly have found it incumbent upon me to avoid what, by that description, could be an imminent disgraceful scene' (p. 4389). As Captain Dollard did take the course of arranging for the departure for Captain Stevens when he appeared to be half asleep during dinner, there is good reason to suppose that he would have been all the more disposed to have taken the same course at the point of time when his guest of honour arrived at his house

in a state of intoxication. Captain Dollard also said that he had no recol­ lection of Farrelly speaking to him about the condition of Captain Stevens and thi s is something he would be unlikely to forget.

The inherent probabilities seem to be against the correctness of Farrelly's recollecti on and it was subsequently proved that in one material respect his recollection wa s very much astray. Farrelly had said that this was a party to enable th e Australian officers to meet Japanese service offi cers and their wives. that that was the reason why he was at the party i.e. to act as interpreter, and th at when he returned to th e dining area after the departure of Captain Stevens he explained to the Japanese present at the Captain's table that he was not well

and the Japanese accepted the expianation. Captain Dollard swore that no Japanese were present at this function and he produced a detailed guest list (Exhibit 176) which completely corroborated his recollection. But Farrelly had been present at the cocktail party at Captain Dollard's home on the previous evening (6 June

1963) at which about 150 people were present including quite a number of Japanese service personnel according to the detailed guest list (Exhibit 176). 1bis was a gathering which had entirely escaped Farrelly's memory. It is also not without significance that Mr K. C. Gale, an Australian, wh o, like Farre!Jy,

had also been made a confidant of Cabban as to the Captain's indulgence in drink and who was present, amongst 32 persons at Captain Dollard's home on 7 June 1963, noticed nothing unusual and had 'no positive recollection' that night of Captain Stevens whi ch would hardly be the case if, after having been warned by Cabban, Captain Stevens had been in the noticeable state described by Farrelly.

These considerations tell against the reliability of Squadron Leader Farrelly's recollection. It must also be borne in mind that he had been 'conditioned' by Cabban in Karatsu to expect to see Captain Stevens affected by alcohol. This no doubt complied with what he interpreted to be a 'passing out' by Captain

Stevens through excessive drinking (and, not having any knowledge as to the condition of his health), may easily have led him to form an erroneous (but honest) impression that Captain Stevens was intoxicated. We have no doubt that on that evening Captain Stevens was a very tired man and far from well.

Having regard to the whole of the evidence of the events of Friday 7 June, it must be taken to be the fact that Captain Stevens had drunk unwisely . We think it fair to say that at some point of time during the buffet supper he had re ached a condition to which drink had contributed in some degree, but it is

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neces£ary to bear steadily in mind that his condition of health and fatigue were important contributing factors. This is another occasion when it would be impos ible to say that he had 'passed out' through excessive drinking alone. As we have said before the evidence does not suggest that he was drunk and incapable.

We have previously referred to the possibility that it was after Captain Dollard's buffet supper that Captain Stevens received some assistance from ratings getting aboard the ship. In this connection we observe that Lieutenant-Commander Griffith said that from recollection the officers at Captain Dollard's party wore

civilian clothes (pp. 2443-4).

Saturday 8 June. The only official function listed in the Report of Proceedings is the cocktail party given by the Chief of the Maritime Staff (Admiral Nakayama). As will later appear Captain Stevens was unable to attend this function because he was unwell.

Cab ban said that on the morning of Saturday 8 June he saw Captain Stevens in his day cabin and that he was looking worse than he did the previous morning (p. 126). He said ' (H)e told me he felt sick. He looked very drawn

and shaken and his ge neral demeanour was that of somebody very sick.' Cab ban said that he suggested that they go to the steam baths again and invite Commander Money to join them. He said the three of them went to the steam baths and that afterwards he and Captain Stevens had two brandies and ginger ale before Commander Money joined them; then they each bought a rou nd of brandy and ginger ale and returned to the ship (p. 127). Cabban said that he and the

Captain had five brandies and ginger ale each (p. 257).

Cabban's evidence as to this second occasion when Captain Stevens took a stea m bath and had a number of drinks following it was corroborated by Commander Money (pp. 2001-2, 2048-9). Money said that they 'had about three or maybe four brandies' (p. 2049) . He said that he did not remember the

Captain looking particularly sick but it was possible that he was because of his hectic programme.

Mrs Stevens in her evidence referred to a letter that her husband had written to her in which she said that he and Money had taken Cabban to the steam baths to relax him. This is an interesting sidelight on the relationship between the two men (p. 4084).

It is quite apparent that Cabban was genuinely anxious about Captain Stevens' condition and drinking habits at this time and that his consistent drinking on both the Friday and Saturday mornings when he was obviously not well had given him some cause for alarm (p. 4584).

Later on the Saturday morning Captain Dollard and his wife took Captain Willi s, Captain Stevens and Commander Were (Commander of Royalist, a New Zealand cruiser) in their car for a picnic luncheon some miles out of Tokyo. Captain Dollard gave the following account of the Captain's condition:

. . . (T)hroughout this picnic or certainly from shortly after we started he was

very unwell. I think it probably became apparent when we were on our way down the Y okobama Road, but we pressed on and stopped. When I say 'unwell', be was si tting in the back of the car. He was looking ill.

He was feeling ill. And when we got to where we had our picnic he did not get out out the car; he sat where he was. My wife made him a sandwich, which he made it quite clear to us he did not want to eat--or drink. He was sick. He was not feeling

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well. I do not think he ba d very much of the sandwich if any. I think be would

probably, or was offered or had one glass, one drink of something-! do not know what- which I would doubt from recollection that he drank at all. Obviously he coul d not take food or drink at this stage. He was considerably uncomfortable. I took it without any doubt in my mind that he had a very bad attack of stomach

trouble. We finished our picnic as fast as we could, went back to my house and arrived there in the middle of the afternoon. He was still this way, no better. We, my wife and I, suggested that he should go to bed, which he did, in our house. Q. This instead of going to the function that was listed for that evenin g, the cocktail

party?

A. Yes. The function, I believe, was a dinner party by the admiral. It is listed as a cocktail party but I do not think that matters.

A. So he went to bed and I got a substitute who came in his place. We went off

and I believe the time we went off was probably about 5 or 5.30. We finished our dinner party or cocktail party, whatever it was and came back. I would

think the time was about 10 or 10.30. It may well have been earlier. The time m ay have been, perhaps 10. [p. 1892)

We received without objection the following piece of second band evidence from Ca ptain Dollard. He said that when they- he and his wife-returned from the Japanese Admiral's party about ten o'clock: Captain Stevens had left. My maid met us in the lounge room and she said that he

bad got up, come and ordered a drink, a brandy and soda, or brandy and something. He had immediately been sick and be bad then asked for a taxi and he had gone-to take him back to his ship. Q. Was there any evidence there for you to see? A. The only evidence of him being sick was a patch on the front of a chair and

on the floor just beneath it where the maid bad sponged up. She told us this

is where he had been sick. It was a fairly concentrated patch, not as big as the top of this table. [p. 1893]

We rece iv ed 3 n affida vit from Commander Were. In the cour se of his statement anne xe d to his affidavit a;: d deposed to as true he During the drive back to Captain Dollard's residence in Tokyo Captain Stevens became unwell. He leaned forward in his seat, doubled over as it were, and appeared

to be in some pain. He was asked if be wanted to get out of the car, but declined.

He was obviously suffering considerable discomfort, and on arrival at the residence he was assisted from the car and taken upstairs. That was the last I saw of him. A short time later Captain D ollard came downstairs and said that Captain Stevens was resting and would not be able to attend the dinner which senior Japanese Naval Officers were giving for Commanding Officers of the visiting ships. I was then invited

to substitute for Captain Stevens at this dinner, and I did so. [p. 2 E xhibit 185)

This incident no doubt was the genesis of the statement in Paragraph 17 of the 'Cabban Statement' that Captain Stevens '. was carried from Captain

Dollard's home after be bad disgraced himself there. I've learnt subsequently from Captain Robertson that be had in fact been sick all over the place on this occasion in Captain Dollard's home.' It is interesting to note that in the context in Para­ graph 17 of the 'Cabban Statement' the incident of Captain Stevens being physically

sick at Captain Dollard's borne is placed on Friday 7 June (the day of the Japanese Admiral's lunch). This is a good illustration of how an incident of this kind can become distorted and exaggerated by rumour. We are not saying that it was distorted or exaggerated by Cabban. We did not receive evidence from him as to what be was told about the incident as this would have infringed our ruling

that second hand evidence of this kind would be worthless.

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It'appears that Captain Stevens must have left for the picnic very shortly after the steam bath. Captain Dollard thought that he picked him up about 10.00 a.m. (p.1915).

In describing his condition further Dollard said that Stevens was sitting in the back seat of the car holding his stomach (p. 1916).

Captain Dollard said that in his mind there was no drink at all concerned with Captain Stevens' illness on this day. He said that he offered him a drink in the car but he did not know whether he drank it or not. It was the only drink that he knew of that Captain Stevens had had that day apart from what he heard from

his maid that he had bad a brandy before leaving Dollard's home (pp. 1933-4 and p. 1940).

Captain Dollard's account of Captain Stevens' condition at the picnic was cor­ roborated by the evidence of Captain Willis (G.J.) (p. 2493).

It is possible that it was on this Saturday night in Tokyo that Captain Stevens had to receive some assistance from ratings when he returned to Voyager. This was an occasion when he was obviously very unwell and was in civilian clothes.

Sunday 9 June. Cabban dealt with the events of Sunday 9 June in Paragraphs 17 and 18 of the 'Cabban Statement' and for convenience we quote the relevant passages: This pattern continued but it reached a climax during the visit to Tokyo. In Tokyo the

Captain became worse to a degree that we hadn't seen before and on two occasions I took him (on one accompanied by the Engineer Officer) to steam baths to get him fit to deal with his social engagements at lunch time. One a lunch with the Japanese Admiral. But to little avail , he was carried from C aptain Dollard's home after he had

disgraced himself there. I've learnt subsequently from Captain Robertson that he had in fact been sick all over the place on this occasion in Captain Dollard's home. And on the Sunday, which was the fourth day in Tokyo, he sent for me at 0630 to inform me th at he would be unable to attend the church service that morning and

I was to inform Capta in Willis to this effect. The Captain when I saw him had his head on a pillow with a towel over it. The towel was soaked in vomit. I asked if 1

should get the doctor because he looked wretchedly sick and he said no. I saw the doctor and the doctor said that he wouldn't treat him-that be had warned the

Captain th at this would happen-and that it was his opinion that should the Captain rupture h is ulcer at sea the Captain would die. I went on board Vampire and informed Capta in Willis of the Captain's condition and his message and of the doctor's opinion and explained my worry on the Captain's

behalf. Captain Willis asked me to send the doctor to him, which I did, and he then went on board Voyage r and went to the Captain's cabin where be spoke to him. Nobody else was present when Capta in Willis spoke to Captain Stevens but during the next two months Captain Stevens did not have a single drink and that covered the period between Tokyo and Sydney which was quite a remarkable feat.

Cabban said that he was woken up by the steward Freeman (the Captain's steward) about 6.3 0 a.m. on Sunday 9 June and the steward asked him to go to the Captain's cabin. He said he went to the Captain's cabin (sea cabin) and said that the Captai n was in his bunk. 'He was very ill. His face was haggard! and his

pillow had a towel on it and the towel was soaked in vom it. ' He said that; Captain Stevens instructed him '. . . (t)o report to Captain Willis on Vampire

immediately after colours, and to inform Captain Willis that Captain Stevens would be unable to attend church because he was sick , and ask would Captain Willis take the combined service for the two ships ins tead' (p. 127) . He said that he asked Captain Stevens if he could get th e doctor but he said he did not

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want the doctor near him. Cabban said that he saw Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller and that he then went to Vamp ire and gave the message to Captain Willis. He said that he also said to Captain Willis ' (t)bat I was very worried about

my captain, that the doctor refused to treat him, and the doctor considere d that if the captain ruptured his ulcer be would die, that the ship did not have facilities to enable him to give a blood transfusion that would be necessary with a haemorrhage in a typhoon' (p. 129). Willis asked him to send Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller to him. Cabban took Tiller to Captain Willis' cabin, introduced them and left them. Later that day Captain Willis went on board Voyager to see the Captain and after this the Captain sent for him and discussed with him the command of Voyager ex Tokyo . It will be convenient to deal with th is latter conversation later.

Cabban's account of the events of the morning of Sunday 9 June is confirmed by a contemporaneous tape recording be made and sent to his wife. In the course of this tape recording be said: Oh! I've got a note here to tell you about Jim Willis-apparently I didn't tell you

that when I was in Tokyo-! think I told you- when I was in Tokyo on Sunday

that I was very worried about the Captain's health and he was so sick that I went and saw Jim Willis and told him exactly-well, I tol d him that the doctor was

worried too, because if he ruptured his ulcer he would die in all probability. If

we were at sea this is-if it haemorrhaged because there would be insufficient time and facility to give him a blood transfusion should it be needed. So Jim Willis sent for the doctor-! took him over there and they had a talk about it and Jim came over and saw our Captain and lai d down the law to him about all he had to do and

what the consequences were to himself, hi s health and his career if he didn't, and since then as I say he's not had a single drink. Must be a bell of an effort for him,

a man who's drunk so much all his li fe . . I'm not belittling Harold's effort-!

think Harold is a very strong character-I'm just saying it's a hell of a thing for

this man to have to do. And he's not as nast-cranky as he might be. Not like me when I gave up smoking as you may remember. But Jim Willis was glad I saw him and sorted things out very well I thought.

In passing we would observe that Cabban's narration of the events of Sunday 9 June in the tape recording sent to his wife is an instance of h is tendency to dramatise an incident and to see himself as the principal actor in it. His- statement that Captain Willis 'laid down the law' (impliedly at Cabban's urging) illu strates

this point. Cabban was not present at the interview between the two Captains and it is inconceivable that either of them would have told Cabban that Captain Willis 'laid down the law'. It is one example among many of reconstruction by Cabban.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller said that be did not see the Captain on Sunday 9 June but to his recollection saw him in his sea cabin after Voyager left Tokyo (pp. 1537-8).

Captain G. J. Willis in his evidence in chief swore to the truth of the following account in his signed statement of the events of Sunday 9 June: On the Sunday before we left Tokyo Cabban came over to say that Captain Stevens was unwell and could not attend colours or prayers. It had probably been arranged

that one of the Captains wo uld read prayers for both ship's companys. Normally in Singapore we got a parson or se nt the ship's company off to a dockyard church. When the se rvice was performed upon one of the ships it was very brief and one of us would read the service. Cabban must have come over pretty ea rly, probably just

before colours. He told me substantially what he has said in his statement, it did not come as a surprise to me because I knew that Captain Stevens had been unwell on the previous day. I was well aware th at he had previously had tummy trouble. He had not complained of any symptoms to this moment but he bad mentioned in

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' passing that it was his practice to take things pretty quietly because he had had

stomach trouble. It did not occur to me that the old trouble was coming back

as such, it did occur to me that he was prone to stomach upset and as he had had

an ulcer the possibility of recurrence was always there. The feeling I had was that he had a sensitive tummy and was more prone than myself to stomach upset. I do not remember Cabban saying specific things but something to the effect of what he says in his statement, my recollection is not precise. I do not specifically remember any reference to vomit. I think Cabban conveyed to me that he was worried about Captain Stevens. I asked him to send Dr Tiller across to see me and Dr Tiller came.

As far as I remember I tackled Dr Tiller on the statement that he would not

treat Captain Stevens. He denied this, he did say that he was worried as to the

possibility of a recurrence of Captain Stevens' ulcer. He was not as dramatic as Cabban says he was, I do not recollect him saying at all that if it happened at sea the C aptain would die. The impression I got was that Captain Stevens had had a severe stomach upset and was not at all well.

I went over to V oyager, Captain Stevens was pretty weak and wan, he complained of being unwell. I did not see any sign of vomit, I do not remember him saying

that he had vomited I saw no evidence of it but I have no reason to doubt that

he may well have done so. I saw the Captain in his sea cabin, Cabban was not

there. Captain Stevens had not turned out, he was still in bed and did not make

the church parade. As to how I felt about it at that point I was prepared to wait and see what sort

of recovery he made. I think that I sa w Cabban because the ladder from the sea cabin goes down to the ward room flat just outside the 1st Lieutenant's door. I spoke to Cabban either in the ward room flat or in his cabin. The substance of what I said was that Captain Stevens would have to take care of himself and I had told him so,

but nothing other than something fairly general like that. I had told Captain Stevens that he would have to take it easy; I had suggested that he would have to be careful about what he ate and drank. I had not told him to cut out drink. I think I then

went back and took the service. [p. 7 of Exhibit 100]

We shall return to Captain Willis' evidence when we come to consider Cab ban's claim that he was given command of Voyager for 5 days out of Tokyo. For the moment it is sufficient to say that Captain Willis corroborates Cabban as to the Captain's' physical condition on the morning of 9 June. At p. 2495 in his sworn testimony Willis said that when he saw Captain Stevens he appeared

' pretty washed out and tired and slightly sorry for him self I think.' He said that he thought his stomach was playi ng up but he did not see any signs that he bad vomited. It was, however, later in the morning that Willis saw him.

Despite Captain Stevens' sickness on Sunday morning he managed to pull himself together and act as host to a luncheon on Voyager to the Australian Ambassador Sir Laurence Mcintyre and his wife, Captain Willis and others. In his statement Captain Willis gave the following account of this luncheon party:

I saw Captain Stevens later that day in his day cabin, we had another joint luncheon party, I think that it was attended by the Australian Ambassador and his wife, some Embassy people, the manager of Qantas and his wife and the manager of Rootes and his wife. They all attended in the Captain's day cabin on Voyager, it was a joint buffet party in the day cabin with about ten guests. It was a sli ghtly different cabin to that in

Vampire having its own pantry to which a door opens from the out board side of the cabin. At the lunch Captain Stevens appeared to be a little weak but perfectly all right otherwise, I think that he ate at the lunch which was between about 1 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. I do not remember specifically seeing any more of him that day, I think possibly he went to bed that afternoon and had a sleep. [p. 7, Exhibit 1 00]

The Australian Ambassador in Tokyo Sir Laurence Mcintyre gave sworn evidence before us and he said that there was nothing in Captain Stevens' appear­ ance at the luncheon to suggest that be was unwell or had been unwell or that be had been ill and unable to take the combined church service. He said '

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(H) e gave me the impression that be was in complete command of himself and his ship and able to take on any duty that he was called upon to perform'

(p. 3095). In fact be described Captain Stevens as ' (B)rigbt, alert,

agreeable, articulate' and agreed that he was ' (v)ital and energetic'

(p. 3095-6).

There is no direct evidence as to what Captain Stevens did after the luncheon although Captain Willis thought that he probably retired to his cabin.

We have already referred to Captain Dollard's evidence that the dinner party given by Mr Jamieson was according to his recollection on the night of Sunday 9 June. If the dinner party was not on Sunday, 9 June but on Thursday, 6 June it would seem that Captain Stevens dined out at the Mikado Restaurant on Sunday night. Captain G. J. Willis in his statement (p. 9, Exhibit 100) said:

I do not remember seeing him (Captain Stevens) that evening (i.e. Sunday, 9th). I rather think I went off with my officers to see the bright lights of the Ginza. By a process of elimination having regard to the functions on other nights I place the night that we went out to see the Ginza as Sunday night.

Mrs Stevens in her evidence referring to her supplemental statement which she deposed to as correct (p. 5, Exhibit 167) said that her husband wrote saying that he had been to a theatre restaurant known as the Mikado. Restaurant and in fact sent her a programme (pp. 4055-6). If Jamieson's evidence is correct that his dinner party at the Gaslight Restaurant was on Thursday 6 June the only night available when Captain Stevens could have gone to the Mikado Theatre

Restaurant would have been Sunday 9 June. This, however, is of no impor­ tance as there is no evidence to suggest that on the occasion when Captain Stevens went to the Mikado Theatre Restaurant that he nodded off. It is, however, to be noted that despite Captain Stevens' state of health on Sunday morning he dined out that night.

B. General Evidence as to Captain Stevens' Drinking Ha bits and Illness ar Tokyo Lieutenant-Commander Peter Thomas Cabban. Paragraph 17 of the 'Cabban Statement' states that ' (t)his pattern continued but it reached a

climax during the visit to Tokyo. In Tokyo the Captain became worse to a degree that we hadn't seen him before and on two occasions I took him (on one accom­ panied by the Engineer Officer) to steam baths to get him fit to deal with his social engagements at lunch time'.

We have already referred to the evidence as to Cabban accompanying Captain Stevens to the steam baths on two occasions. In the course of his cross-examination Cabban maintained that the situation did, so far as he was concerned, become quite 'desperate' (p. 240) . He said '(I) thought I was in a situation-I think I described it in my statement-rather similar to that in the Caine Mutiny'. In further explanation of his statement that the situation bad become desperate he said ' (I) bad no certain pattern or guide as to where I could tum or

what I should do under these circumstances I did not know if a continuation of this situation would adversely affect the safety of the ship. I felt that if I were to report my feelings in this way and I were wrong, I would be committing both the captain unfairly and myself to an extent that was not going to help. If I did not

report it and anything happened, I did not know where I would stand then. I felt that the situation was close to being out of hand but I just could not see how l

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would explain what I saw so intimately to senior authorities' (p. 240). Cabban was later questioned by the Chairman as to this statement. The following extract from this part of his evidence is important: THE CHAIRMAN: In the course of your evidence you said: 'I did not know if a

continuation of this situation would adversely affect the safety of the ship?' A. Yes. Q. Why had you any fears for the safety of the ship knowing that Captain Stevens never drank at sea? A. Because I was also concerned, and genuinely concerned, about his health and the

influence this might have upon it. I had discussed this with the doctor. THE CHAIRMAN: But at no time when the captain was actively in command of the ship was the ship going to be at risk? A. At sea, no. We had many incidents, but not through this cause.

Q. That is to say, neither through drink or ill health did you see any action on the part of the captain which endangered the ship during his command? A . Only when we reached Tokyo. Then I felt that this point had arrived. Q. I am talking about any incident in the navigation of the ship? A. No. [pp. 480-ll

There can be no question that Cabban was genuinely and deeply concerned about his Captain at Tokyo. Confirmation that this was his state of mind came from the evidence of Mr Keith Compton Gale who is a director of a company known as Gollin & Company, a trading company in Tokyo. Mr Gale as a member of the Australian community in Tokyo took an active part in arranging entertain­

ment for the visiting naval officers. He saw Cabban on a number of occasions and said that: (I) have the most distinct memory of Commander Cabban telling me of his concern for C aptain Stevens and of what amounted almost to a personal crisis which

he had, of weighing his concern for the safety of the ship against his loyalty to the captain of his ship. And he described to me in some detail the problem which he believed that Captain Stevens had with his drinking. That epitomised the impression and memory which I have. [p. 4462]

He further said that as he understood the reason for Lieutenant-Commander Cabban's concern (i)t was that he was in an equivocal position because he was second-in-command of this ship and he had this conflict of loyalty to the people to whom he was responsible after Captain Stevens, and to Captain Stevens,

and to the navy, and he was a conscientious man, and, accordingly, was concerned as to what was the right thing to do' (p. 4463). Further confirmation that this was Cabban's state of mind also comes from the transcript of the tape recording sent to his wife.

Lieutenant David James Martin. Lieutenant Martin gave important evidence as to his impression of Captain Stevens' condition in Tokyo. He said that he had a very clear recollection of thinking in Tokyo that the Captain was drinking more than he thought he should although he could not recall specific incidents (pp. 1175,

1204). He said that his impression was that the Captain was drinking more than he should, drinking so that it showed that he had been drinking, and it was not merely that he was drinking too much in relation to his ulcer condition (p. 1204). He said that he had the feeling of losing respect for the Captain in Tokyo and had felt it before Tokyo because of what he was told after the Captain's birthday dinner

and that he certainly felt it in Tokyo (p. 1243). He described the Captain's appearance as the 'Tokyo look' (p. 1204) . He also referred to being 'disappointed' (p. 1209).

12078/ 68-8 105

1 f';J

We were concerned to get from Lieutenant Martin the extent to which his impression of the Captain's condition was based in his own observations as distinct from what he had been told. In answer to questions by the Chairman as to what caused him to lose respect for Captain Stevens in Tokyo and as to the nature of the

general pattern to which he referred, and asking him to tell us precisely as he could what it was that brought him to these opinions he said: (t)his is my biggest problem, trying to recollect particular details, and I am sorry I cannot do better. I can certainly remember being told by the first lieutenant on

the occasion of the captain having to go, or going to a steam bath, that he had to be taken. because, through the effects of drink, he was in no shape to deal with his official social functions during the day. And I can remember another trip to the steam bath: I cannot remember exactly when it was. And I can remember being told that this was for the same reason. [p. 1236]

He further said: (I) can remember quite well the Captain looking unwell and being less than his usual efficient self during this period but, as happened yesterday, I cannot remember a particular occasion when I saw him looking unwell.

He said that apart from being told by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban and possibly also by Commander Money as to Captain Stevens being taken to the steam baths his conclusion about Captain Stevens was ' (d)efinitely based on my own observations. I remember it being a very strong feeling that I had. I still cannot remember precise incidents or who said what' (p. 1236). In his statement Lieutenant Martin had said 'I for one was disappointed at Tokyo that he had

allowed himself to get into the condition in which I saw him and this inevitably lowered my respect for him'; but in his evidence he said he regretted perhaps using the expression 'saw him' because he could not recall specific occasions (p. 1175).

Sir Laurence Mcintyre. In Sir Laurence's signed statement (which he deposed to as being true) he said in relation to the visit of Voyager and Vamp ire to Tokyo: All I can say is that at the conclusion of the visit, which to all appearances had been a happy and successful one, the impression I retained of Captain Stevens was that of

an agreeable and articulate personality and an efficient na val officer who knew his job and ran a good ship. On no occasion when I was in his company did I see anything in any way abnormal or unseemly in his behaviour. I saw nothing at any time to suggest that he was in any way influenced by drink. Even if measures had been taken to conceal from the Ambassador any misbehaviour on the part of a visiting Australian naval captain, it is likely that I would have heard some whisper of it from within the

relatively small Australian community in Tokyo. I can only say that I heard nothing of any kind to Captain Stevens' discredit. [p. 2, Exhibit 123]

Captain Dollard in his letter to the Deputy Crown Solicitor dated 29 June 1967 (which he de posed to as being true) sa id: (M)y opinion of Captain Stevens' conduct throughout this visit was that he was unwise to drink at all with his ulcer so obviously worrying him. He did not appear at any

time in my presence to have drunk excessively, but drink certainly had, on the two occasions mentioned, affected him. At no time did Captain Stevens disgrace himself in the sense of being sick in public or in conducting himself in a drunken manner, or in any other way. [pp. 7-8, Exhibit 178)

In the course of his evidence before us Captain Dollard said he had known for a long time that Captain Stevens had suffered from an ulcer and that: (I)t was quite apparent to me, without trying to step into the doctor's shoes or diagnose; I believed his ulcer was troubling him and the heavy social round on top of

the heavy exercise schedule of the Far East Fleet had caught up with him. I think

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• having the drinks also reacted badly on him. I believe his condition, on those two occasions when he went to sleep, was because of his ulcer being aggravated by some drinks. [pp. 1896-7]

He said he had the impression very firmly that the Captain never did drink excessively or more than anyone else did but it affected him in this way. In answer to a question by the Chairman whether he meant it affected him in the sense of affecting his health he said ' (Y)es, it affected him by making him , on

top of fatigue and heavy social rounds, go to sleep but not in the sense of putting him under the influence' (p. 1897).

General Conclusions as to the Period in Tokyo from 5 to 10 June 1963 We are satisfied that during this period Captain Stevens drank far too much for a man with an ulcer condition. His drinking can only be described as unwise and undisciplined. We are not satisfied that on any occasion he showed obvious signs of being under the influence of alcohol but there were occasions when he approached that stage. We have no doubt that this relative excessive drinking seriously affected his health, caused him to be ill on Sunday 9 June and subse­ quently caused him to be confined to his cabin through illness for several days

out of Tokyo.

At Sea-Tokyo to Subic Bay-10 to 17 June Voyager cast off and proceeded in company with H.M.A.S. Vamp ire at 0900 hours on Monday 10 June for passage to Singapore and to carry out a schedule of exercises arranged by the Flag Officer, Second-in-Command, Far East Fle•;!t

(Captain McGeoc h of H .M.S. Lion).

Paragraph 21 of the 'Cabban Statement' states: I'm sorry, I completely omitted the fact that immediately following our departure from Tokyo Captain Stevens told me that I had command of the ship for the next five days. That he wouldn't be coming from his cabin and my command was complete and I

was to inform all the officers but not to send any signals indicating my command. He directed me that be was not to be disturbed on any account by anybody and this is exactly what happened. We were with the British Far East Fleet and running before a typhoon carrying out exercises.

In his letter to Vice-Admiral Hickling on 1 May 1965 Cabban asserted that Captain Stevens was 'horizontal' for 5 days out of Tokyo. (Letter marked for identification as 'A'.)

In his evidence in chief Cabban said that after Captain Willis' visit to Captain Stevens on the morning of 9 June (Sunday) Captain Stevens sent for him before lunch on the same day and said that '. I would have command of

the ship for 5 days after we left harbour, that my command would be complete and be was under no circumstances to be disturbed during those 5 days' and that ' nobody outside the ship' was to be advised (p. 129). He said that the

Captain stayed on the bridge after Voyager left Tokyo for about an hour until the ship bad cleared Tokyo Bay; that be asked permission to signal the Commander in Chief, Far East Fleet, that he bad command but Captain Stevens said that under no circumstances was a signal of that nature to leave the ship (p. 130).

In the course of cross-examination Cabban was confronted with a number of Punishment Records of punishments awarded at Captain's defaulters parades held (on the face of the documents) on 11 June 1963 (Serial Nos. 174-5, 177-180, 182 and 184-188), 12 June 1963 (Serial No. 176). All these Punishment Records

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lO S_t

were signed by the Captain. Cabban maintained that despite the date shown on the Records the Captain did not take any parades during the 5 day period out of Tokyo because he (Cabban) was in command (p. 268). When first confronted by the Punishment Records Cabban suggested that the Captain must have awarded them after the 5 day period. He could not then recollect that he (Cabban) had taken any defaulters parades. His cross-examination on the Punishment Records began on Friday, 21 July. Shortly before the adjournment at 3.55 p.m. he was looking intently at the Punishment Records and asked for permission to speak to his Counsel. His request was refused as he was under cross-examination (p. 278). When the Commission resumed on Monday, 24 July, Cabban's Counsel, Mr Hiatt said that during the adjournment Cabban had brought to his attention a matter which went to the very heart of the evidence he was giving on the Punishment Records and he asked for leave to lead further evidence from him before his cross­ examination was continued (p.280). No objection was made by Counsel to this course and Cabban then gave evidence that in Subic Bay (where Voyager arrived on 17 June):

(I) was sitting in my cabin working at the time the ship was at anchor and Captain Stevens stormed into my cabin, asked me to come across to his, and he thrust the punishment records at me, which bore my signature, and he said 'You are not going to get me like this'. He said 'Nothing is going to leave this ship that is going to

be evidence that you have had command'. He said 'You might think that M artin can support you--'. THE CHAIRMAN: Martin? A. Yes, the gunnery officer. He said 'Griffith is going to back me'. He said 'Pilot' not

'Griffith'. MR HIA TI: That means Griffith? A. Navigator, yes. And Money. And he said if I tried to get the support of any other officers he would have me arrested on a charge of mutiny. I went back to my cabin

and sat down--. Q. Just a moment. Was there some reference to any other officer? A. Yes. He said that if Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller made any record or said a word he would guarantee to him that his civilian career would be completely fixed . [pp.

282-3]

Cabban said that the Coxswain, Chief Petty Officer Rogers, later came to his cabin. He said : (T)he coxswain was in a state of emotional di stress. I had not seen him like that before. He said that in his whole naval career he had never been submitted to an

order as he had just received from the captain, that those records were to be retyped with the captain's rank instead of mine shown as the officer awarding the punishment. be wanted my help, and I said, 'As long as Captain Stevens is in command of this ship, coxswain, you are obliged to carry out his orders'. [p. 284]

In the course of his subsequent cross-examination on this alleged incident he said that Captain Stevens threatened him but that he did not actually recall him using the word 'mutiny'. He also said that the Captain said he was almost getting a dossier on him which would get him certified for admission to a psychiatric unit

at Concord (pp. 289-99).

Cabban was not prepared to commit himself to precise words used by the Captain but said that the Captain implied that he could charge him with an act of mutiny because he could say that he had taken command over his head.

Cabban said that he had forgotten the Captain's threats and the retyping of the Punishment Records until he was confronted with the Records themselves. lt

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was p'ut by his Counsel that thi s might have been something that he wished to for­ get and that the emotional impact of the collision caused it to be buried in his sub-conscious. Counsel went so far as to make a tentative application that Cabban be examined by a panel of psychiatrists who would report to us whether considered Cabban had genuinely forgotten the incident. This application was not

pressed and if it had been we certainly would not have acceded to it (pp. 278-9). The time has not yet come for the judiciary to hand over to psychi atrists its func­ tion of assessing the credit of witnesses.

As will later appear, however, we are satisfied that the Captain was confined to his cabin through illness for the whole day on Tuesday, 11 June, and could not have conducted a defaulters parade on that day. The date 11 June appearing on some of the Punishment Records is therefore incorrect. There was some expert evidence tendered before us th at the Punishment Records for June were signed

by both the Captain and the coxwain with the same pen , which was unusual (p. 4545). The regular practice was for the Punishment Records to be signed by the coxswain and brought along to the Captai n for signature. T he state of the evidence does not permit a positive finding that Captain Stevens did have Punish­

ment Records signed by Cabban destroyed and fresh ones typed out and signed by him . Another explanation that occurs to us is that Cabban in fact held a Captain's defaulters parade on 11 June but, in so doing exceeded his authority and the Captain subsequently had fresh records prepared for Cabban's own protection.

This was put to Cabban but he repudiated it. It is not a matter on which under our Term s of R eference we a re required to make any finding . lt is essentially a matter which goes to Cabban's credit. We do not exclude the possibility that some incident of the kind occurred, but we are unable to accept in its detail s Cabban's dramatised

account of the incident. It is an example of his tendency to dramatise a situation but it does not otherwise affect his credit.

When Cabban was recalled towards the end of the hearing of evidence he said th at he recalled some circumstanti al details of conducting a Captain· s defaulters pa rade ex Tokyo. He again reiterated that the period of command was a finite peri od of five days to the minute. He said that he recall ed the figure '7' which

suggested to him th at th e time Captain Stevens handed over command to him on Monday 10 June and resumed it five days later was 9.7 or 9.37 a.m.

(p. 4451).

There is no corroboration of Cabban's evidence that the Captain gave him command for any finite period and for reasons which we will shortly state we are not satisfied that he in fact was in command for a period of five days.

It is not without point to note that when Cabban was interviewed by Mr Sinclair at the time of the first Voyager Commission he said, according to Mr Sincl air's record, th at he had command for 'four or five days' out of Tokyo (p. 2, Exhibit 49).

According to Cabban it was Willis 'who laid down the law' to Captain Stevens and as we understand it, instructed him that he was to hand over command for five' days or remain in his cabin for five days (p. 2, Exhibit 31 ). The only basis for such an instruction given by Captain Willis could be medical advice which might conceivably have been that the Captain should rest completely for a full period of

five days. Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller however, said that he gave no such advice and Captain Willis deni ed that he so instructed the Captain. Cabban of course

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was not present at the discussion between the two Captains. In his signed statement which he deposed to as true Willis said that he saw Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller and tackled him on Cabban's statement that he would not treat Captain Stevens and that Tiller denied it. He said that Tiller said that he was worried as to the pol!si­ bility of a recurrence of Captain Stevens' ulcer but was not as 'dramatic as Cabban says he was'. He said the impression he got was that Captain Stevens had bad a severe stomach upset and was not at all well. He said that when be went over to Voyager to see Captain Stevens he was pretty weak and wan and he complained of being unwell that he told him that he would have to take it easy and suggested that he would have to be careful about what he ate and drank

but did not tell him to cut out drink (pp . 8-9, Exhibit 100). He gave oral evidence to the same effect (p. 2495). In his signed statement (p. 14) Captain G. J. Willis said ' (I) had no understanding with Cabban such as he suggests

I had no worries about him going to sea and I reported

nothing' (p. 14, Exhibit 100). Willis was certain that he did not say to Cabban that be had told Captain Stevens that he must hand over command of the sh ip to him for any finite period let alone for five days as claimed by Cabban in his evidence (p. 301) (Willis, pp. 2515-6). At all points in his evidence when Willis was questioned about this conversation with Captain Stevens after seeing Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller, he maintained that all he did was to talk to Captain Stevens, putting it straightforwardly, and told him that he would have to take great care of himself otherwise he was likely to have a recurrence of his ulcer

and suggested to him that if he continued to get his attacks he would probably have a recurrence of it ' (w)hich would certainly imply not retaining

sea going command but I do not remember putting it to him in terms of sea going command' (pp. 2588-9). He did put to him that he would have to take great care of his eating and drinking habits to avoid a recurrence of his ulcer (p. 2589).

Cabban's claim that he was given command for five days is inconsistent wi th the evidence of both Captain Willis and Tiller. Nor is there any contemporaneous record made by Cabban which confirms it. In fact the tape recording wh ich he made and sent to his wife, if anything, is more consistent with the account give n by Captain Willis (Exhibit 31).

We do not exclude the 'possibility that Captain Stevens did remain in his cabi n due to an illnes s for a period up to, five da ys, but we are not sati sfi ed that the perio d wa s as long as this. We accept the evidence of Captain Willis and Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller and we find th at Captain Stevens did not, in fact , hand over command of Voyager to Cabban for any finite period. We think the plain situation is that Captain Steve ns was in fact unwell and went to his cabin to recuperate for a few days

and go t up and resumed his duties when he was able to do so. We are satisfi ed that thi s is another case where Cabban has dramatised the incident and convinced himself by a process of reconstruction that he was put in command of Voyager for this finite period. We would add that apart from our ac ceptance of the evidence of Captain Willis and Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller it would be quite

impossibl e to accept Cabban's evidence that he was pl aced in command of Voyager for a finite period of five days out of Tokyo in view of his cl earl y erroneous similar claims in reference to a finite period of two days out of Darwin, and (less importantly) , in relation to the period of 'command' in Sydney and Willi amstown.

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We now turn to other evidence relating to the length of the period during which Captain Stevens was in fact turned in unwell out of Tokyo and the nature of the 'command' Cabban had.

We first turn to the evidence of Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller. Tiller said that he saw Captain Stevens in his sea cabin after the ship left Tokyo. He said he was lying down because he was unwell and that he remembered discussing witru him about the effects of alcohol on an ulcer and possible dangers resulting therefrom, and advising him to swap alcohol for orange juice or something similar (pp. 1510-

1511 ) . He said he should think that Captain Stevens told him he was vomiting and unwell. He said that he could not remember the specific days that Captain Stevens was turned in unwell. He had the impression that he was unwell for a couple of days and stayed in bed ' probably three or four days' and a

minimum of two. He said he saw him each day and that he took the full three or four days to improve and he was still a bit shaky (p. 1513). We accept this evidence.

The next witness we refer to is Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale, who had the great advantage of being able to refresh his memory from a contemporaneous letter written to his wife. (Exhibit 171). Basing his recollection on this letter be said for two days ex Tokyo the Captain was turned in and Cabban had '

(u)nofficial command' in the sense that (n)o external notification of

this fact would be made' (p. 4163). In his letter written to his wife on 11 June he said the Captain got up that night. He thought th at he saw him on the

bridge but was not sure. When Cabban was recalled he said that he remembered being told that Captain Stevens had been seen by Carpendale and someone else going to his day cabin ' (w)rapped not in a bathrobe, but in a large

white towel and that one of them mentioned it to him (p. 4568).

The importance of Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale's evidence (which we accept) is that it establishes that the minimum period during which Captain Stevens was 'turned in' was likely to have been two days which means that the Captain could not have conducted a defaulters parade on Tuesday 11 June.

A host of officers and ratings gave evidence as to the period the Captain was 'turned in' out of Tokyo. As might be expected after a lapse of three years recollections were hazy. Most of the witnesses spoke of a period of two or three days. One or two in their signed statements given to Counsel assisting us sugges ted

that it was a period of five days but none of them was prepared on oath to assert that it was a finite period oli five days.

Some twenty or more ratings who had been punished for various offences at defaulters' parades held out of Tokyo gave evidence as to their recollection of where and when the parades were held and wh o conducted them. Many of them we regard as completely honest witnesses. and doing their best to recall the details. Again as might be expected after a lapse of time of three years, most of them

were quite unable to remember details or be at all certain when the parades were held and who held them. Only two of the ratings concerned were sure that the Captain's defaulters parade which, on the face of the Punish ment Records was held on 11 June, was not held by the Captain. Graham John Luttrell (pp.

2940-2961) said he only attended one defaulters' parade during the cruise and he was sure that this was conducted by Cabban. He gave circumstantial detai ls about it which brought it back to his mind. Another rating whom we regarded as honest and reliable was William Alfred Glindeman (pp. 2962-2990). He was sure that

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108 5

Captain Stevens did not conduct the defaulters' parade which on th e face of the documents was held on 11 June. He seems certain that it was either Cabban or Griffiths and he again gave circumstantial details. Some of the other ratings who also seemed to be honest enough seemed sure that it was the Captain who conducted the defaulters' parade at which , according to the records, they were punished on 11 June.

As we have said we are otherwise satisfied that Captain Stevens did not conduct the defaulters' parade on 11 June because the weight of the evidence is against him being up and about on that day.;. The question whether Cab ban or th e Captain conducted the Captain's parade at which Glindeman,

Luttrell and others were punished, whether it was on 11 June or some other date, essentially became a matter going to Cabban's credit. We have considered this evidence in detail. Useful analyses of it were made by Counsel assisting us and other Counse l. A great deal of the evidence is imprecise and vague and there are many conflicts between seemingly honest and

reliable witnesses. Most of the inconsistencies are explicable bec ause of the lapse in time. Upon the whole mass of evidence as to the Captain's defaulters parades and as to the period he was confined to his cabin ex Tokyo, we find that Captain Stevens was 'turned in ' in his cabin by reason of ill health for a period between 2 and 5 days out of Tokyo. We are satisfied that the minimum period he was wholl y confined to his cabin was at least 2 days and that he continued to be unwell for a day or two thereafter.

As to the nature of Cabban's command his evidence that he explained to the officers that he had unofficial command for some period while the Captain was unwell was corroborated by several witnesses. We find it quite unnecessary to attempt to canvass the question of the legal nature of his 'command', although we are satisfied that Cabban during the period the Captain was 'turned in', was carrying out all the ordinary daily duties of the Captain. We do not exclude the possibility that some matters were referred to Captain Stevens while he was unwell, and we do not exclude the possibility that if some emergency had arisen in that period which required the presence of Captain Stevens on the bridge or in the operations room, the Captain could ha ve performed his duties in those places on the ship.

Relevant evidence as the period ex Tokyo was also given by Raymond Murray A. C. R. Sweeper on Voyager from January to October 1963. His place of work was near the Captain's cabin and he occasionally slept in the Asdic Control Room where it was cooler than in his quarters and he also worked there at night from time to time. He said that be recalled that from about halfway through the cruise until the ship returned to Sydney he heard the Captain vomiting from time to time. This, he said, occurred only when the ship was at sea. He was unable to be specific about occasions but he associated one period with a period when the Captain was turned in which he thought was after the ship left Japan. He thought that the occasions were more frequent than twice a month and were not limited

to the periods when the Captain was turned in ( pp. 4329-32). We regarded Murray as a completely honest witness. His memory was impre­ cise as to periods but we accept the substance of it that there were periodic occa­ sions after the ship left Tokyo that the Captain was physically ill for reasons which could not have been directly associated with the consumption of alcohol.

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19 June to 3 August

Voyager left Subic Bay on 19 June. She made two further v1s1ts to Singa­ pore (24 June to 4 July and 11 July to 20 July) and then returned to Australia, arriving at Darwin on 25 July, and Sydney on 3 August.

Cabban said in the 'Cabban Statement' (Paragraph 18) that after leavino Tokyo Captain Stevens did not have a si ngle drink and he swore to the truth of this in his evidence (p. 132). In a contemporaneous tape-recording he sent to his wife he also said that '(H)e's completely on the waggon-and really religiously sticking

to it. I don' t know if there's any more fear of him having another drink before we get to Australia' (p. 1, Exhibit 31).

There is some evidence to suggest that the Captain may not have completely abstained from alcohol during this period. Cabban, of course, could only speak from his own observations. But if the Captain drank alcoholic liquor at all during this period it is clear that it was only in great moderation. Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller had advised him when he saw him on the last day Voyager was at Tokyo

to stop drinking alcohol (pp. 1510-11 , 1535, 1539, 1629-30). We have no doubt that Captain Stevens substantially followed this advice. Commander Lan­ caster's evi dence as to an during the last vis it of Voyager to Singapore

(I I to 20 July) when the Captain drank soft drinks gives strong support for this conclusion (pp. 1 Y54 -5). lt is also supported by Sub-Lieutenant Somerville (p. 1974).

Apart from the evidence of A.C.R. Sweeper Raymond Murray (to which we ha ve already referred) there is no evidence that the Captain was unwell during the period 17 June to 3 August.

Sr dney, 3 to 10 August 1963 This period is th e subj ect of Paragraph 20 of the 'Cabban Statement' . We have in Section 5 of Part D referred to Cabban's sworn evidence in which he gave an account of Captain Stevens showing mild signs of being affected by alcohol on some days in Sydney but did not support the statement in its plain meaning that he came on board drunk frequentl y. We have also referred to his ultimate concession

in answer to questions by the Chairman that so far as Paragraph 20 gave a picture of the Captain for most of the week in Sydney being drunk and incapable day by day, it was simply not true, and gave a false impression of the Captain's behaviour during that week.

Cabban said that after a long period when the Captain had not had anything to drink he drank brandy immediately the ship returned to Sydney (p. 133). He spoke of him drinking and being elated on 5 August (p. 142) , of being exhausted and having bloodshot eyes on 6 August (p. 143) , and on 8 August (the occasion

of the pr;sentation of the Pakistan Shield) he said that when Captain Stevens came on b oard abou t 7.50 he was tired and smelt of alcohol and appeared to be deliberate in his speech (pp. 143-4) . H e said that he did not look well but he was ab le to get through the ceremony. He claimed that he remembered that there was

at least one other day when the Captain was in the same condition as the others but a little more tired.

Despite Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller's advice to ' swap alcohol for

orange juice' (p. 15 II ) , Captain Stevens resumed social drinking in Sydney from the 3 to 10 August. Mrs Stevens in her statement which she deposed to as true

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refers to several such occasions but, she said that it was 'absolutely fal se· that he had anything to drink before going to the ship in the morning during the week (p. 6, Exhibit 167). She said that during the week in Sydney Captain Stevens was drinking moderately, about to the same extent as he had before (p. 4052). With regard to his health, Mrs Stevens said that when he returned to Sydney in August

he had lost a lot of weight and he looked tired 'and I could see that he looked very tired and drawn when I first saw him on the bridge when the ship berthed'. She said that be was very tired and weary and was looking forward to getting the ship to Williamstown and _ coming back on leave and having some rest (p. 4051 ) .

Whilst we accept Mrs Stevens' evidence that in this period her husband drank in moderation, we think it more probable than not, having regard to his return after a very long absence from his family and friends, that the occasions upon which be drank moderately occurred more frequently than otherwise might have been the case.

There was some slight corroboration of Cabban's evidence as to the Captain not being in good form on the occasion of the Pakistan Shield Presentation. Lieutenant Martin said that he remembered a remark in the following vein by Cabban 'Keep the Captain out of Captain Dovers' road for as long as you can' but be did not rem ember anything about the Captain's condition, or whether in fact he took any steps to keep Captain Stevens out of Captain Devers' road (pp.

1213-4). Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller in a letter dated 27 October 1967, written in response to some inquiries from him by Counsel assisting us said that Captain Stevens was tired on the day of the presentation of the Pakistan Shield and asked him if he could give him something to 'boost him' but Tiller was not prepared to meet this request. (Part of Exhibit 60.)

Another specific occasion referred to during this week in Sydney was a christening party held on Voyager for Lieutenant Holmes' child on Sunday, 5 August. Lieutenant Holmes said that Captain Stevens arrived a little fl ushed and florid and it appeared that he had been drinking but was in complete control of himself (p. 3504).

Able Seaman Casas said that he was on gangway duty on Sunday, 5 August, on th e occasion of the christening party. He said that he saw the Captain come on board with his wife and that coming up the gangway be stumbled and grabbed hold of the ropes and that ' (a)t the time I thought he looked as though

he had been drinking. His eyes were bloodshot'. He further said

(i)t looks like he has had a fair few drinks. But normally, and every other tim e I saw him come on board the ship, he looked quite normal' (pp. 32 43-4, 3248-50) . Mrs Stevens said that on the occasion of the christening party her husband was ' (p) erfectly normal, bright and happy, his usual self' ( p. 405 3).

She said that they had been to a luncheon party where she presum ed · they had a normal amount of drinks and that they had had a drink with Sir Jack an d Lady Stevens prior to the luncheon but it was not anything excess ive. She had no recollection of him tripping on the gangway but said that it would be nothing

that stuck in her mind (p. 4054).

We are not satisfied that on either the occasion of the prese ntation of the Pakistan Shield or Lieutenant Holmes' christening party for his child Captain Stevens was intoxicated. The evidence goes no further than establishing that he

114

was tired, fatigued, and possibly unwell on the occasion of the Pakistan Shield presentation, and that he had been drinking moderately before the christening party.

During the week in Sydney from 3 to 10 August, Captain Stevens carried out a number of official duties which were the subject of documentary records. These included a refit conference on Tuesday, 6 August, the Pakistan Shield Presentation on Wednesday, 7 August, and a Captain's defaulters parade on Friday, 9 August.

As we have said, Cabban himself did not assert in his sworn evidence that Captain Stevens was frequently drunk in Sydney during this period as Paragraph 20 of the 'Cabban Statement' would suggest. We should, however, say that evidence given by a number of witnesses including Rodney Colin Klease (who drove Captain Stevens from his horne to the ship on a number of occasions and who said that the Captain was always punctual and would walk out of his home briskly and hop

into the landrover); Peter Wilson Coombs; Mr and Mrs Nattey (neighbours of Captain and Mrs Stevens in a block of fiats) establishes to our complete satisfac­ tion that any suggestion that Captain Stevens was continuously drunk, or, indeed, drunk on any occasion during this period in Sydney, can have no foundation.

The evidence of the Captain's cabin hand James Frederick Irvine is also of some importance. He said that he never noticed that the bed in the sea cabin had been slept in (p. 1400) and that after starting his duties in the Captain's day cabin about 8.00 a.m. before the Captain came on board, he would go to the day cabin from time to time and he never saw the Captain lying in bed during that

week (p. 1401-2). He did say that Freeman relieved him from time to time during the week in Sydney.

At Sea-Sydney to Williamstown-10 August 1963 to 12 August 1963 Voyager left Sydney at 0900 hours for Williamstown on Saturday 10 August 1963. In paragraph 20 of the 'Cabban Statement', Cabban said that 'Captain Stevens did not come onto the bridge after the ship left Sydney Harbour on the

way to Melbourne to refit until it was ready to enter Port Phillip Bay. I had command of the ship for that stretch as well while he lay in his bunk'. As we have stated in Se·;ti on 5 of Part D of o ur Report, Cabban mz.i ntnincd the truth of this in his sworn evidence. It should also be noted that in Paragraph 3 of the 'Cabban Statement' he said:

On two occasions I handled it (i.e. the ship) leaving harbour and entering harbour in the Far East and on the last occasion that I left harbour in the ship, which was from Sydney to Melbourne I was given command. At that time I thought of it as a very generous gesture although the Captain was visibly affected by alcohol on this occasion the time being 0800 hours.

He said the Captain was (i)nitially unusually bright, he changed from

that to complete quiet very quickly, he was unsteady on his feet , he took care in his speech, and he was inclined to be slow in his mo vements' (p. 145). He said the Captain told him to take the ship over as it was his last time and said that he was not to be called until the ship was ready to enter Port Phillip Bay (p 145).

In cross-examination by Mr Murphy Cabban said that he was not inferring from his Statement in Paragraph 3 that the Captain was incapable of controlling the ship, but at p. 1153C in answer to a question by the Chairman, he said that when the ship left Sydney to go to Melbourne he thought the Captain was under the

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influence of alcohol and that '(h)ad he been permitted him to carry out his duty anyone less capable of holding his drink responsible position' (p. 1154).

a junior officer I would not have because I would have considered should not have been in a

Lieutenant Martin said that when tl-..e ship left Sydney the Captain did not look well and that his appearance was similar to his 'Tokyo appearance'. He did not remember seeing the Captain aga in until they got to Port Phillip (p. 1171 ). He further said that when the vessel took off from Sydney to Williamstown the Captain looked to him ' (a)s if he had a terrible hangover' and that his impression

was that the Captain 'turned in ' for the duration of the passage to Port Phillip Bay (p. 1215).

Mrs Stevens said that the week in Sydney was a pretty hectic social week and that her husband was tired (p. 4093) . She said the n:ght before Voyager left for Williamstown there was · a cocktail party on board Sydney to which she an d her husband were in vited, but they left fairly early because she was not fee ling well. Mrs Stevens said that she was kept up most of the night through

illness and her husband lost a lot of sleep through looking after her (p . 4064).

We do not accept Cab ban 's evidence that the Captain was under the intiuencl! of alcohol when Voyager left Sydney. We accept Lieutenant Martin's evidence as to the appearance of the Captain but this, of course, is consistent with the Captain feeling fatigued and unwell, due to the effect on his condition of health from his fairly heavy social round in Sydney and the loss of sleep the night before Voyager left.

We find that Captain Stevens did retire to his cabin and remained there during the passage from Sydney to Port Phillip Bay as claimed by Cabban. This evidence \\aS corroborated by that of Lieutenant Martin.

Williamstown, 12 August J 963 to 23 January J 964 (Par. 23 of the 'Cabban Statement')

Voyager arrived at Williamstown at 1009 hours on Monday 12 August 1963. There is no evidence to suggest that Captain Stevens was drinking excessivel y or was ill up until his return from Sydney to Melbourne on 1 December 1963 with Captain Loxton, where he had attended the court martial of Captain Dovers

on the 28 November 1963. It was in this period that Captain Stevens saw Sir William Morrow, i.e. on Monday 23 September 1963.

Reference to the detailed chronological table of events in Appendix G shows tha t after making a number of official calls and performing other duties, Captain Stevens returned to Sydney on 23 August 1963 and he remained there on leave until 20 October 1963 when he returned to Williamstown. He conducted

a number of defaulters parades in October and November. Voyager was at that time in dry dock. From 10 'N ovember 1963 to 15 November 1963 he took a Senior Officers study period at Nowra.

Cabban makes no allegation as to excessive drinking or ill health of Stevens until his return to Voyager from the Dovers court martial on 1 December 1963.

We have in Section 5 of Part D of our Report referred to Paragraph 23 of the 'Cabban Statement' and the extent to which Cabban supports this in his sworn evidence.

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We turn first to the evidence of Captain Loxton as to the number of brandies -consumed by Captain Stevens and himself during the train journey from Sydney to Williamstown after the Devers court martial. Captain Loxton and Captain Stevens left on the Southern Aurora on the evening of Sunday, 1 December at .about 8.00 p.m. and arrived in Melbourne at 9.00 a.m. the next morning. He

said that before dinner they had in the order of four brandies each and at dinner Captain Stevens had another brandy and he had half a bottle of wine. He said that after dinner they sat and talked in the lounge car until (as he thought) 11.00 or 12 .00 o'clock wh en the lounge bar closed. During th is time Captain Loxton said

they had in the order of another four brandies (p. 21 09). In cross-examination .he conceded that they might ha ve had four or fi ve brandies aft er dinner (p. 2120), .and counting th e brandy Captain Stevens had had at dinner he said that he would ' settle fo r ten' ove r the period of approximately four hours from 8.00

till midnight. Loxton said that he would say that Captain Stevens wa s

q uite capable of conducting himself as a gentleman, as he went from the lounge car to the cabin'. He said that Stevens was not drunk (p. 2145). A statement wa s -received from an officer of the N .S.W. R a ilways, Ernest O'Donnell (No. 285, Exhibit 60A) that the bar closed on th e Southern A urora at 10. 50 p.m. with ten

min utes gr ace and a fin al lock up at 11.00 p.m.

We h ave no hesit ation in accepting Captain Loxton's evidence as to the number of brand i-es consumed by Captain Stevens- on the journey. We are not concerned in this section of th e R eport to deal with his subsequent discu ssi on with Cabban when th e latter said that Loxton told him that Captain Stevens h ad 'knocked off .a bottle of brandy in the train. We will refer to this when we come to deal with

Cabban's credit. Captain Loxt on said he saw Captain Stevens on the fo ll owing Sunday 8 D ecember, and his health appeared to be quite normal, but hel said th at he knew during the week following Sunday 1 December, Captain Stevens was indisposed and

not available for him to see (pp. 2112-3). He said that he believed it would be about 3 to 5 December 1963 (Tuesday evening to the F riday morning). He sa id that : . (S)tevens was not about from the time I heard that he was not available to

go and see until to the best of my recollection some time that weekend. I may have even seen him on Friday afternoon or evening but I have no recollection of when I did see him. I know I saw him on the Sunday, or believe I saw him on the Sunday, when we drove down by car to Flinders. [p. 2137]

John Rennie Wilson, who was a Leading Sick Berth Attendant on V oyage r ·in charge of the sick bay at Williamstown (and who was decorated for bravery in connection with the disaster) corroborated Cabban's evidence that at the begi nning of December Cabban asked him to go and see the Captain. He said he walked into his cabin and noticed that be bad been ill. He said:

(H)e had a towel on his pillow and another one on his counterpane. The steward or the sea man who was in his cabin was cleaning the cabin up when I went in there.

He said he may have been compl ai nin g; of a bit of a gut pain and said that he suggested that a doctor should see him but Captain Stevens said words to th e effect of 'I don't particularly want to see the doctor. What: would you do if we were in the middle of the ocean and we lost contact and never bad a doctor. I told him what I would do and he said "Right, you do it" or words to that effect'

(p. 2150). Wilson said he advised him about his diet and to keep up with the amphogel. He said that Captain Stevens was physically upset, and was embarrassed 'about coming in while he was being sick.' He added that he remained turned

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in for approximately five days but that he was a lot better in the

afternoon of the day he bad taken ill and be progressively got better' (p. 2151). So far as Wilson is concerned there is nothing to associate tbis illness with alcohol. In c·ross-examination Wilson said that he thought the period was about five days but it could have been less but be did not think so. He was not sure when, the five day period began and did not know whether a weekend intervened or not (p. 2158). We regard Wilson as a completely honest and reliable witness. He estimated the period when Captain Stevens was 'turned in' at about five days

but it was only an estimate. The period could not have been a full five days beginning on Monday 2 December because completely acceptable evidence was given by Mr and Mrs Higgerson (friends of the late Captain Stevens) that he stayed with them in Melbourne during the weekend beginning Friday 6 December. We find no reason to doubt their evidence that Captain Stevens was sober and apparently well when he arrived on Friday 6 December. It appears from evidence that be was drinking a good deal of milk which may suggest that be was having some trouble from the ulcer before his visit to them (p. 3077) . Mrs Higgerson gave evidence that Captain Stevens rang her about 6.30 p.m. on the previous Tuesday to ask if they could put him up over the weekend but this , of course, is not inconsistent with Captain Stevens being ill at that time. The

Higgersons al so gave evidence as to seeing Captain and Mrs Stevens over the Christmas/ New Year period 1963-64 when they said he was fit, well and sober (p. 3089). Brian John Officers Cook, confirmed other evidence that the Captain was ill for at least a few days in Williamstown (p. 3265).

It appears from the Punishment Records that Captain Stevens conducted a defaulters' parade on Thursday 5 December (Serial No. 280, Peter William Dusting; No. 284, Dale John Withers); and on 6 December 1963 (Janis Reichvalds Punishment Warrant No. 17; Richard James Norman Punishment Record No. 286). Dusting gave evidence and said that he was quite definite that in respect of an offence of jumping the ship on 27 November, he was not punished

by the Captain until Thursd ay 5 December. He came before the Executive Officer on 28 November and spent the weekend in hospital due to paint poisoning and was expecting to be dealt with by the Captain on Monday 2 December but had to wait until 5 December (pp. 3268-79). It will be noted that in Serial No. 280 the Punishment Records signed by the Captain contain the explanation 'delay

due to Captain absent on duty.' This we are bound to say shows that Captain Stevens was very anxious not to disclose the state of his health. The delay from 2 to 5 December was due to illness and not to his being absent on duty. Cabban said that after the Captain returned from the court martial in Sydney, there was a full bottle of brandy in his cabin in the morning and later that morning Steward Davis asked bim for the keys of the wardroom to get another bottle of brandy for the Captain (p. 14 7). This evidence received slight corro­ boration from Peter Edward Mead (pp. 1323-4) but we are not persuaded on

the evidence that he did drink a whole bottle of brandy on that day. If he did so tbis would be inconsistent with the evidence of Leading Sick Berth Attendant Wilson who did not associate his illness on that day with alcohol. We make the following findings:

(1) On Captain Stevens' return from the Devers' court martial by train in the company of Captain Loxton be drank most unwisely having regard to the state of his health. The evidence establishes that between about 8.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. he drank eight to ten brandies.

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E2) From his return to Voyager at Williamstown on Monday, 2 December 19 63 , he was physically sick and unwell and was confined to his cabin through illness at least until Thursday 5 December. On that day he conducted a Defaulters Parade but it may be that he returned to his cabin. H e was free from this illness on Friday 6 December, when he went to Mr and Mrs Higgerson's home in Melbourne for the weekend.

( 3) This period of illness immediately on his return from Sydney is associated with relatively excessive consumption of alcohol but it is also, no doubt, associated with the stress and emotional impact of the court martial of Captain Dovers when it was found that. charges against him were proved.

( c) GENERAL EVIDENCE AS TO CAPTAIN STEVENS' DRINKING HABITS AND CONDITION OF HEALTH DURING THE F AR EASTERN OPERATIONAL CRUISE

We shall here refer to the evidence of a number of witnesses who gave general evidence of this kind, and indicate the extent to which we accept their evidence and the weight which we think should be given to it.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller Dr Tiller was Voyager's Medical Officer during th e whole of the operational cruise and his evidence as to the Captain's condition from time to time is of great importance. We elsewhere consider that part of his evidence which relates to his opinion of Captain Stevens' condition when he saw him professionally at Tokyo. In this part of our Report we are only concerned to refer to his evidence as to

what he actually observed as to the Captain's drinking habits and health.

Apart from the occasion of the wardroom dinner in honour of the Captain's birthday, Dr Tiller did not professionally examine Captain Stevens except on 12 February 1963 when he gave him his annual medical examination and passed him as fit in category A (pp. 1498-9), and on the occasion in Tokyo to which we have already referred. Dr Tiller said that so far as the Captain was concerned,

his attitude was that he was an intelligent person and if he required his assistance or wanted any medical advice he felt that he would have asked him for it (p. 1498). While he thought it likely that from time to time Captain Stevens may have made complaints in passing about stomach trouble, Dr Tiller did not take these as indicative of any serious condition and was certain that the Captain had not

called him in in his professional capacity except at Tokyo. As will later appear it is understandable that Captain Stevens did not call in Dr Tiller on other occasions.

The effect of Dr Tiller's evidence was that so far as his personal observations and knowledge were concerned, he was not aware that Captain Stevens was ill except at the end of the visit to Tokyo. In particular he had no recollection of the Captain being indisposed during the passage from Sydney to Darwin (pp. 1496-8) although as we have found, the evidence clearly establishes that in fact the Captain was turned in ill for 24 hours out of Sydney. Dr Tiller was fully aware

that Captain Stevens throughout the cruise was regularly taking amphogel (pp. 1503, 1510, 1531-2, 1556, 1558, 1568, 1596-7).

Dr Tiller said that except on the occasion of the wardroom dinner on the Captain's birthday he never saw him under the influence of alcohol but be said '. . . (/) had the impression that these official functions' (referring to

official functions from Hong Kong onwards) 'were imposing a certain strain on

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him and he was taking in alcohol which was making him ill'. He funher said '(I) just remember thinking that he sort of had an ulcer history and he was bring­ ing his symptons on by taking this alcohol' (p. 1512) . H e formed the impression that Captain Stevens' '. grog intake was perhaps too high for a person

with an ulcer history'. This was an impression he thought ' was built

up from comments made and again asociating things with this business in Singapore and Tokyo' (p. 1514).

About April 1967 Dr Tiller received from the Naval Board a set of extracts from the 'Cabban Statement' on which he was asked to comment. This was at a time when the Secretary of the Naval Board (Mr Landau) was seeking information for the Minister for the Navy from various serving officers on Voyager, and

comments on extracts from the 'Cabban Statement' of which they might have per­ sonal knowledge. Commodore Smyth in Australia House communicated on behalf of the Naval Board with Dr Tiller who was then in England. Dr Tiller was then about to be paid off from the Navy following on his resignation. He was asked to make only brief comments as the information was to be sent by cable and he said that he was given very little time to write them out. The document con­ taining the relevant extracts from the 'Cabban Statement' with Dr Tiller's written comments was forwarded to Mr Landau. Some time after receiving the document Mr Landau was instructed by th e Minister for the Navy to communicate with all

the officers who had made comments, to explain to them that it was then intended to table the extracts in the 'Cabban Statement' with the officers' comments on them, during a fo rthcoming Parliamentary Debate on the Voyager disaster, and to obtain the officers' approval to the publication of the comments. This was an entirely proper course. Mr Landau telephoned Dr Tiller and explained the posi­ tion to him. Dr Tiller said he was not happy about the comments in the form he had written th em because he had very lit tle ti me and he though t th ey ne ed ed clarification and amplification. At Mr Landau's suggestion Dr Tiller agreed to his original comments being torn up and it was arranged that Mr Landau should send him another set of the extracts from the 'Cabban Statement' so that Dr Tiller could make more careful and detailed comments. A further set of the extracts was sent to Dr Tiller but he did not in fact prepare any further comments. He said he felt he did not wish to be involved in the matter further. Mr Landau was called and was questioned at great length about the circumstances relating to the destruction of the document containing Dr Tiller's original comments, as to what the original comments were and as to his telephone conversation with Dr Tiller. All this evidence was relevant only to Dr Tiller's credit. The Terms of Reference in no way require us to inquire into any allegation that material information was deliberately withheld from Parliament by the Minister for the Navy.

In the result there was very little (if any) substantial conflict between the evi ­ dence of Dr Tiller and Mr Landau as to their telephone conversation or as to the form of Dr Tiller's original comments. It is sufficient to say that there is nothing in Mr Landau's evidence that causes us to have any doubt as to the honesty and substantial accuracy of Dr Tiller's evidence as to the comments he originally wrote on the extracts from the 'Cabban Statement' and as to the explanations he gave in evidence as to those comments. We think it proper to add that no si ni ster motive

can possibly be attributed to Mr Landau in destroying Dr Tiller's original sketchy comments. It would not be the first time that the author of an ill-considered letter or document has arranged with its recipient to destroy it and substitute another letter or document. It must be remembered that no Royal Commission was in

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at that time, and it was an entirely proper action for the Minister

to take to obtain the approval of T iller and others to a wider publication of their written comments than they had initially understood would be the case. For our present purposes we only refer to Dr Tiller's comments on the first extract from the 'Cabban Statement' as he reconstructed those comments when giving evidence (see pp. 1548-50, 1614-6) . This first extract on which Dr

Tiller was asked to comment was Paragraph 13 of the 'Cabban Statement' which for convenience we again quote: Dur ing the period in the Far East the situation became more than trying, it was quite desperate, as he drank for very long periods in harbour until he became violently ill

and then would spend days in bed being treated by the doctor and his steward until he was fit to again start drinking.

Dr Tiller's comments as he reconstructed them from memory in the witness box were '. (I) agree with the first part of the statement but disagree with the reference contained in the 2nd part that be was continually drinking' (p. 1548). Dr Tiller explained that he thought in the opening part of the extract 'During the period in the Far .East the situation became more th an trying, it was quite de sperate' Cabban was merely referring to his own state of mind which required no comment from him. As to the statement that Captain Stevens '. drank for very long

periods in harbour until he became violently ill .' etc., Tiller said that he did not from his own observation ever see evidence of Captain Stevens drinking for long periods in harbour. He further said ' . (I) was agreeing with some sort of facet of it that has some truth, I feel. And I was sort of agreeing with it

because I had a minimum of words to use' (p. 1614). As we assess Dr Tiller's evidence he was prepared to concede there was an element of truth in the state­ ment but it was greatly exaggerated. The important thing is that in his direct sworn testimony h e onl y supported th e stateme nt in relation to the events in Tokyo and Singapore (the occasion of the birthday dinner) coupled with a general impression

that the Captain was drinking to an extent that was affecting his health.

Lieutenant-Commander Richard Maxwell Carpendale Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale was seconded from the R.N. to the R.A.N. during part of the operational cruise of Voyager in the Far East. We have already referred to the letter he wrote to his wife on 11 June, on the second day out of Tokyo. (Exhibit 171.) In the course of this letter he said of Captain Stevens:

'I know he has had an ulcer but he continues to knock hell out of at

every port and just has no capacity for li quor at all. As a consequence he is in a pretty dreadful state for days after on this occasion he also had a bad tummy­ or perhaps it was the same thing.' Carpendale said that while not being prepared wholly to exclude the possibility of some personal observation of his own which

justified the general statement in his letter, he believed that what he had written was substantially the result of discussions in the wardroom after the ship left Tokyo and possibly at other ports (p. 4304). Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale "'as not sure whether the wardroom conversation which led him to write what he did

to his wife was with Cab ban or Dr Tiller (pp. 4309-11). Although Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale gave no sworn testimony from personal observation supporting his statement in his letter to his wife, it is an important piece of evidence as affording a contemporaneous im pression by him

that the Captain had at ports up to and including Tokyo, drank with the result that it had affected his health seriously. It is basically hearsay evidence but in all the circumstances it is hearsay evidence to which some weight can be attached, even if only going to prove that this was an opinion held by Cabban himself contemporaneously with the events.

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Lieutenant-Commander Scott Griffith In a statement prepared for the Commonwealth Solicitor-General for the pur­ poses of the Voyager debate in the House of Representatives, Lieutenant-Com­ mander Griffith said:

My understanding is that Captain Stevens had the reputation of being a heavy rather than a moderate drinker. I know of no occasion on which I have seen him intoxicated, subject to the qualification that on the night of the mess dinner the Captain was obviously unwell, but whether this was due to alcohol I cannot say. I have never seen Captain Stevens drink at sea and although I have been in his cabin, I have never seen drink there other than the ordinary issue of lime powder and water.

I have, however, seen him early in the mornings when his facial appearance was consistent with heavy drinking the night before, but this was only a general impression and should not be treated as anything else. On those occasions the ship had not been at sea on the previous evening, and Captain Stevens was not in my opinion affected by alcohol and was in complete command of himself. [Exhibit 81]

He subsequently rang the Solicitor-General with a view to altering that part of his statement which described Captain Stevens as a 'heavy rather than a moderate drinker', but this was not done. As we understand his evidence he felt that this part of his statement was a little unkind but he did not suggest it was not true

(p. 2474). In relation to his statement as to the Captain's appearance on certain mornings being consistent with his having drunk heavily the day before, he said he could only recall three specific occasions (first day ex Tokyo, during the passage from Sydney to Williamstown an d possibly the first day ex Sydney at the beginning of the cruise) (pp. 2428-34).

Lieutenant-Commander Griffith was obviously most reluctant to give evidence adverse to the late Captain Stevens. This is a circumstance which gives such opinions as he did express as to the Captain's drinking habits added weight.

Ordinary Seaman Peter Edward Mead We have referred to this rating's evidence as to the alleged incident on 6 April in Hong Kong. In the course of his evidence he said that in nearly every port he saw the Captain come aboard on several occasions with a red nose and bloodshot eyes, not drunk and not sober (pp. 1309-11). He went further and said this was so all the way up to the Far East and back to Sydney (except Subic Bay) (pp.

1320-lA). We have already said this witness' evidence cannot be relied on and the latter statement to which we have referred (being in the teeth of over­ whelming evidence to the contrary) is an added reason demonstrating its unreliability.

Lieutenant Ian Fletcher Holmes We accept this officer as an honest and reliable witness.

In the course of his evidence he said that without being able to specify places or dates, he recalled two occasions when he saw the Captain in the mess when the ship was in harbour after he was reported to have been 'turned in' and he ' (l)ooked to be quite ill drawn and looking grey' (p. 3490). He

said he had given it much thought and he would say there were two occasions positively and he believed three or four. He could not say when the occasions were or for how long but he was sure they were in port (pp. 3498-9). He associated the periods of being 'turned in' with illness (pp. 3518-9).

The following extract from his evidence is important: Did you know whether the captain was unwell during that trip in the sense that he bad-I do not want to use the word 'chronic' except in its correct sense-any

continuing illness or abnormality?

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, A. I believe that the captain had a stomach trouble which worried him from time to time. MR BURT: You say in your statement, I think, that he made no secret of this? A. That is so. Q. Could you elaborate on that a little?

A. I remember an occasion in the mess when the captain asked for a glass of milk­ and I was standing next to him-and, on being given it, he patted his stomach and said something to the effect that his stomach was troubling him. Can you say of your own knowledge whether the first lieutenant during the voyage was at all concerned with the health or drinking of the captain? A. Yes, I can.

I do not want to lead you on it at a ll . Would you tell the Commission why you say that?

A. I heard Lieutenant-Commander Cabban say in effect that he was worried about the captain's health during the time that I served in that ship. Q. Was his worry related to drinking by the captain? A. I cannot say that honestly. It related certainly to the captain's stomach troubles.

Q. You could not say, I expect, when you were aware of this worry, at what stage in the cruise? A. I would say early in the cruise. [pp. 3494-5]

Another part of his evidence that is important, is his clear recollection that the Captain's normal drink was two tots of brandy although he had some recollec­ tion that sometimes a third tot was added (pp. 3490-1). Freeman said the

Captain's normal drink was about 2 oz of brandy in an 8 or 10 oz glass filled with water (p. 1264) . We accept this evidence. We reject Cabban's evidence that Stevens' normal drink was half a tumbler of brandy as being opposed to a great body of evidence given before us by a variety of witnesses.

Leading Steward Neil Richard Fr eeman

Freeman gave evidence that there were two occasions at sea when the Captain was 'turned in' for two to three days because he was not well but he could not id entify the occasions ( pp. 1260-1, 1270). He also said that the Captain told him he had had an ulcer and had to keep away from fatty foods (pp. 1261,

1277-8). His ev idence th at the Captain regularly took amphogel is in line with other evidence (pp. 1261, 1273). H e also gave evidence that he had on occasions before Tokyo served the Captain with a coffee mixed with brandy at breakfast ( pp. 1264, 1272).

Freeman was obviously (and understandably) reluctant to give evidence adverse to Captain Stevens. We accept as reliable his evidence on the matters to which we have referred.

Able Seaman Norman John Gardiner Norman John Gardiner was the Captain's cabin hand on the cruise up to the ftrst visit to Hong Kong when he handed over to Able Seaman Irvine (p. 1376).

We have already referred to Gardiner's evidence as to the Captain being turned in on account of ill health on two or three occasions including a period of two to three days immediately after the first visit to Singapore.

If Gardiner's evidence is accepted as literally true it would mean that there was at least one other occasion when the Captain was turned in through ill health, in addition to the first period out of Singapore, and the period out of Tokyo. We say this because Gardiner was not the Captain's cabin hand after the first visit

to Hong Kong. However, it is not possible to make any affirmative finding on hi s

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evidence that there was another period of illness out of harbour. It may be that be had some knowledge of the period out of Tokyo and that he is confused when he says that on the two or three occasions he recalled he was not carrying out his normal duties as cabin hand because the Captain was turned in. In cross-examina­ tion by Mr Hiatt he said he thought he would be sure that the first time he was

told the Captain was turned in for a couple of days was after the first visit to Singapore (p. 1381). He was not at all sure about what the other occasions were. He said that one could have been Trincomalee. He said he agreed th at there may have been three differen t ports when he heard of the Captain being turned in for a couple of days shortly after leaving the port ( p. 13 81).

We have already referred to Gardiner's evidence that while Captain Stevens never drank at sea he would drink brandy and water while the ship was in harbour and occasionally he ' looked sort of glassy-eyed' in the late afternoon

in his day cabin (pp. 1380, 1384, 1385). 1n cross-examination by Mr Hiatt he said that he did remember occasions in the afternoon when the Captain wa s to some extent affected by what he had to drink, but that he himself did not se rve him drinks when he was sitting working in his cabin, and was referring to occasions when other people were having a drink with the Captain ( p. 1384). In describing the Captain's condition he said all he noticed was the Captain just had glassy eyes. He sai d he was ' (f)lushed in the face but mainly his eyes-might have

been a little flushed in the face but mainly his eyes seemed to be a bit glassy' (p. 1 385). He said he noticed nothing ch anged in his speech and he seemed normal in his walk. But in his statement of evidence which he signed he said (H)e was a bit unsteady but I never saw him fall over or anything like that' and admitted that it was true that he was a bit unsteady on one or two occasions after entertainment in the afternoon (p. 1386). Cross-examined by Mr Sinclair he said that he was 'pretty sure' that it was the first time when Voyager left Singapore that he was told that the Captain was turned in for a day or two

(p. 1388).

With regard to Gardiner's observations of the Captain's health he said that he never himself saw him ill, but that there were occasions when he saw the Captain looking seedy but never 'confused' as far as he knew. He said ' (O)nly

in the late afternoons I think he might have had, in my presence, a few drinks too many ; but it is not for me to say he just looked sort of gl assy-eyed,

that's all , and that was it'. He said ' (t)he only time I would be there

was when he was having entertainment for other people coming in ' (p. 1380).

Able Seaman James Frederick Irvine

Able-Seaman Irvine was the Captain's cabin hand from Hong Kong onwards.

We have already referred to his evidence as to certain specifi c period s and occasions. He confirmed other evidence that the Captain's ordinary drink was brandy with ice and water out of an 8 oz tumbler (pp. 1400-1). He also

corroborated other evidence that there were occasions when the Captain had a coffee mixed with brandy at breakfast. This stuck in Irvine's mind because he had never had to mix this drink before. He could only remember one specific occasion but said it may have been twice (pp. 1395-6). With regard to the Captain's drinking habits generally, he said that he served the Captain with a drink sometimes when he was on his own in the day cabin and sometimes when he had guests but it was always brandy and water (p. 1395), but this evidence does not support any suggestion that Captain Stevens was a compulsi ve lone

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drin.Ker. The Captain on one of Her Majesty's warships only goes to the wardroom as a guest by invitation of the officers, and of necessity he has to spend a great deal of time on his own in his cabin--eating his meals on his own, etc. In answer to the Question 'A picture has been painted of the Captain being

intoxicated day by day, day in and day out. You saw him from time to time in harbour, so what do you say about that?' Irvine said, 'Rubbish, sir'. This is put in colloquial language but as the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates the implica­ ti on in the 'Cabban Statement' that this was the fact is completely untrue.

With regard to the Captain's health Irvine said that the Captain was on a diet and had special meals (p. 1393).

Captain Guido James Willis

Captain G. J. Willis was in command of Vampire during the F ar Eastern Operational Cruise. Vampire was Voyager'S' sister ship and in company with her during th e cruise. Captain Willis was the senior captain as between Captain Stevens and himself. They, of course, saw each other frequently when the ships were in port. They paid official calls together, attended many social functions together (official and private) and saw each other frequently, both officially and informally on their

respective ships. Captain Willis at the request of the Minister for the Navy supplied comments on various parts of the 'Cabban Statement' including Para­ graph 13. Of Paragraph 13 he said : Captain Stevens was to my knowledge most moderate in his consumption of alcohol.

He had a past history of ulcer trouble and was prone to stomach upsets, which are in any case not unusual in the F ar East because of changes in food, water, etc. Voyager was usually berthed on Vampire in harbour and Captain Stevens was frequently in my company paying and returning calls and at social engagements. If the alleged state of

affairs had existed I should have been aware of it. Had it existed as suggested it would have been Cabban's duty to report to me. [p. 6, Exhibit 64]

J n his signed statement prepared for the purposes of him giving evidence before this Commi ss ion he said : I might perha ps make a couple of general observations about the two main allegations against Stevens, his drunkenness and incompetence. Stevens was, in m y experience, very

moderate indeed in his d rinking habits; he usually drank brandy, about half an inch or a little less in a large (8 oz) tumbler filled with water, and sipped this slowly.

Inevitably I spent a good deal of time in his company in harbour in the Far East. The two ships almost always berthed together and we paid and returned official calls together, attended social engagements together, and quite often entertained together. I would always see him a t 0800 when we attended colours on our respective quarter­

decks. I am certain that the allegations that he was in effect, a chronic alcoholic at this period are quite untrue. [p. 3, Exhibit 100]

Jn his sworn evidence before us he deposed to the truth of this statement.

Captain Willi s was cross-examined at great length as to the various duties carried out by Captain Stevens and himself (both relating to official and social matters) during the Far Eastern operational cruise. No useful purpose can be served in canvassing this detailed evidence. The overwhelming evidence is that in

fact Captain Stevens did carry out his duties and did all that was required of him relating to official calls, official and private social functions during the Far Eastern operational cruise with the exception of the occasions and periods which are the subject of our specific findings (i.e. the birthday dinner, the fo'c'stle party for the British Army group and the incidents on social occasions during the period at Tokyo from 5 to 10 June). We have already referred to Cabban's evidence that at

no time from his observations was the Captain incapable in any way of carrying out his duties when the ship was in port except to the limited extent to which he referred. 125

109:-:,

Captain Willis' evidence is in no way inconsistent with the specific findings we make as to several occasions of intoxication, as to undisciplined and unwise drinking leading to reactivation of the stomach ulcer condition, and as to the occasions the Captain was confined to his bunk through illness, partly con­ tributed to by unwise and undisciplined drinking habits. The evidence of Captain Willis and other witnesses however, as to the way in which the Captain carried out his duties generally, is of importance in enabling us to make positive findings that Captain Stevens acquitted himself well in the performance of his duties

(including attendance at official and social function s, sporting activities, etc.) except on the limited occasions to which we have referred.

Lieutenant David James Martin Lieutenant Martin during Voyager's Far Eastern operational cruise was the Gunnery Officer. We have already referred to his evidence as to what he knew of Captain Stevens' drinking habits and we now refer to certain evidence that he gave as to the Captain's condition of health. As we have said we place great reliance on Lieutenant Martin's evidence. Lieutenant Martin said that it was common

knowledge before Captain Stevens joined that he had some history of stomach trouble, and that he remembered that at times during the trip the Captain discussed the state of his stomach with him and made remarks about having bad a 'crook stomach' and perhaps having a bit of a tummy ache on a particular day and the

fact that he bad an ulcer (pp. 1158-9). In the course of his evidence Lieutenant Martin referred to Captain Stevens as having a 'terrible ulcer'. The Chairman asked him what it was that be observed about the Captain that made him use that expression. He said '(P) artly conversations with him where be bad mentioned his ulcer trouble'. His further answers and questions were as follows:

Do you mean by that that be said be was having acute pain or something of that kind? A. No; I remember him referring on occasions to the pain. He was not the sort of chap to talk lightly about such things. Q. Why did you characterise it as terrible? It is rather an extreme word? A. Yes; it is used without a great deal of thought being put into it, but it certainly

struck me that his ulcer did have an effect on the way he was able to do things, and his general demeanour. [p. 1219]

It appears that Lieutenant Martin used the word 'terrible' as part of his norm al vocabulary in a less serious sense than it is ordinarily used.

(d) GENERAL EVIDENCE AS TO CAPTAIN S TEVENS' SOBRIETY WHEN 'VOYAGER' WAS IN HARBOUR AND HIS EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL AND SOCIAL DUTIES

There is compelling and entirely acceptable evidence that generally, during the whole of the Far Eastern operational cruise, the late Captain Stevens efficiently carried out the manifold duties and responsibilities which fell on him, and con­ ducted himself with sobriety and complete propriety at official and social functions ashore and on the ship when she was in harbour. Evidence that this was so according to their observations came from Captain G. J. Willis, the Captain of Vampire with whom (as we have said above) Captain Stevens officially attended many social and ceremonial functions during the cruise; Rear-Admiral McNicoll

(who was F .O.C.A.F. in administrative control of Captain Stevens during the whole of the cruise and in operational control during part of it); Rear-Admiral Scatcbard (Flag Officer, Second in Command of the Far East Fleet and for part of the period in operational control of Captain Stevens); Captain McGeoch R.N.

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(in command of Lion and in company with Voyager during part of the cruise); Captain G. V. Gladstone (in command of Supply in company with Voyager for a . short period); Captain Neil Alan Boase (in command of Yarra in company With Voyager for part of the cruise); Captain Dollard (as to official functions in

Tokyo); Sir Laurence Mcintyre (the Australian Ambassador in Tokyo); to say nothing of numerous officers and ratings from Voyager. Then (as will be seen from the chronological summary of the events of the cruise in Appendix G) there is documentary evidence from the Reports of Proceedings of Captain Stevens takina . b

part m numerous naval exercises at sea and in rounds of official social func ti ons ashore and on ship when she was in harbour. H e also actively participated in various sporting activities.

This evidence is, of course, entirely inconsistent with the late Captain Stevens having been frequently (let alone continuously) drunk during visits to ports during the Far Eastern cruise. If this had been the fact it would unquestionably have become known to Rear-Admiral McNicol! and Rear-Admiral Scatchard, to say

nothing of Captain Willis and (at least as to Tokyo) to Captain Dollard and to Sir Laurence Mcintyre. The idea that men of this calibre and reputation would all conceal their knowledge that Voyager had a drunken Captain is unthin kable. We say emphatically that we have not the slightest doubt that if any one of them

knew of any such thing he would immediately have investigated or reported it according to his clear duty to do so. But, of course, the only suggestion that Captain Stevens was frequently drunk during Voyager's visits to Far Eastern ports came from the 'Cabban Statement' (in the sense in which we have said it must be

interpreted). As we have emphasised, Cab ban in his sworn evidence said he did not intend in the tape-recording to convey this meaning, and did not allege that the Captain was drunk during visits to ports except on the occasion of the Captain's birthday dinner on 23 March (which he himself was at pains to ensure should not become known to anybody) , the Army group reception on 13 May

(a case of mild intoxication as described by Cabban) and a hearsay incident on 6 April at Hong Kong when it was said the Captain was drunk and had to be carried on board by ratings.

The point we wish to emphasise is that none of the evidence of the senior naval officers and others to which we have referred and accept is in any way inconsistent with the findings of fact we make as to the very few occasions of intoxication or near intoxication, of the intermittent ulcer trouble and the occasions of th e Captain not 'staying the course' at private social functions at Tokyo and at the luncheon on Rothesay.

We do not canvass the evidence as to the Captain's satisfactory discharge of his responsibilities during the cruise in any further detail. It is sufficient to say that the evidence enables us to make a clear affirmative finding that at all times other than the few occasions to which we have referred, Captain Stevens con­ ducted himself with complete propriety and sobriety and carried out his manifold

duties (both at se a and in harbour) with considerable credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of those having administrative and operational command over him. He showed high qualities of leadership and the morale of the ship was good.

This is not merely a case where allegations of frequent drunkenness are not proved; not only is there no evidence ·to support fr equent drunkenness, but the evidence positively establishes that this was not the fact.

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(e) SUMMARY OF PRIMARY FINDINGS OF FACT AS TO DRINKING HABITS AND OCCASIONS OF ILLNESS

( 1) Drinking Habits

(a) There is no evidence to suggest that Captain Stevens ever drank alcoholic liquor at any time while Voyager was at sea during the Far Eastern operational cruise. He was never at any time under the influence of alcohol while Voyager was at sea.

(b) We are not satisfied on the evidence that there were any more than three occasions while Voyager was in port when Captain Stevens showed objective signs of being under the influence of alcohol. These three occasions were as follows:

(i) On 23 March 1963 at Singapore on the occasion of a wardroom dinner in honour of his birthday. On this occasion he was

moderately but not grossly intoxicated. He was unable to see the dinner through. His condition was not solely due to consumption of alcohol. Illness was a substantial contributing factor. He did not 'pass out' from gross intoxication but was unable to see the dinner through by reason of a combination of fatigue, pain and nausea

related to his 'ulcer condition' but to which unwise drinking had contributed. (ii) On 13 May on the occasion of a party on the fo 'c'stle of Voyager for a group of Army officers and other guests he showed signs of

being mildl y intoxicated. (iii ) On an occasion during the first vis it of Voyager to Hong Kong when Lieutenant Martin saw him slightly affected by alcohol when he returned to th e ship in the late afternoon.

(c) There is no evidence of excessive or heavy drinking (let alone intoxica­ tion) before 23 March 1963 at Singapore. (d) During the visits of Voyager to some Far Eastern ports up to and including Tokyo (5 to 10 June ) there is acceptable evidence that on unidentifi ed

days Captain Stevens while working in his day cabi n drank a number of glasses of brandy and water over a period from 1 1.30 a.m. to the late afternoon but not to the extent of resulting in intoxication or affecting the performance of his duties. (e) On one occasion when Voyager was at Tokyo (Friday, 7 June) and on at

least one other unidentified occasion Captain Stevens took a small quantity of brandy in his breakfast coffee. (f) Although apart from the incidents referred to in (b) there is no accept­ able evidence of intoxication or even of drinking which could be

regarded as excessive in the case of a well man, we are satisfied that from the second visit to Singapore on 19 March, Captain Stevens drank too consistently for a man with a latent ulcer condition and that his drinking habits substantially contributed to his subsequent ill health. (g) During the visit to Tokyo from 5 to 10 June, Captain Stevens drank

unwisely having regard to his physical condition. We are not satisfied that on any occasion he was intoxicated. (h) Captain Stevens either totally abstained from alcoholic liquor or drank very moderately from 10 June 1963 when Voyager left Tokyo until her

arrival in Sydney on 3 August 1963.

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(i) There is no acceptable evidence that Captain Stevens drank to excess or was at any time intoxicated during the period from 3 to 10 August 1963 when Voyager was in Sydney.

(j) There is no ev idence that Captain Stevens drank to excess or became intoxicated at any time between 10 August 1963 and I 0 February 1964, except in so far as the consumption of 8-10 glasses of brandy on the train journey from Sydney to Melbourne in December 1963, after the

court martial of Captain Dovers, was excess ive having regard to his state of health.

(k) It follows th at so far as the 'Cab ban Statement' suggests that Captain Stevens was continuously or periodically drunk, while Voyager was in harbour from time to time, it is untrue. There is overwhelming evidence that apart from the isolated occasions referred to in this summary Captain Stevens was sober at all times when Voyager was in harbour, conducted himse lf with complete propriety and carried out his duties efficientl y.

(2) Occasions of Illness

(a) From at least the time of the first visit to Singapore (13-25 February) there is clear evidence of signs and symptoms of a recurrence of Captain Stevens' ulcer trouble (including several periods of actual illness) . This ulcer trouble had become intensified by the time of Voyager's first visi t to Hong Kong (29 March to 15 April) and continued from time to time

to be acute as the cruise proceeded, and reached its height at Tokyo.

(b ) Captain Stevens was ill and confined to his cabin for a period of 24 hours immediately after Voyager left Sydney. This may have been due to sea­ sickness but is more probably associated with the beginning of a recurrence of ulcer trouble. It was not directly associated with the consumption of

alcohol.

(c) Captain Stevens was ill and confined to his cabin for a period of about two days after Voyager left harbour following the first visit to Singapore. This period of illness was not directly related to the consumption of alcohol.

(d ) Captain Stevens was ill at some time between 18 and 21 March at Singa­ pore an d also on the day following the wardroom dinner on 23 March.

(e) Captain Steve ns was ill and confined to hi s cabin for one or two days during the firs t visit of Voyager to Hong Kong-probably at some time between 30 March and 2 April.

(f) Captain Stevens became ill on th e occ asion of the luncheon party on Rothesay on 16 May 1963, during the second visit to Hong Kong and was unable to see the luncheon through. This illness was not directly associated with the consumption of alcohol.

(g) During the whole of the visit of Voyager to Tokyo from 5 to 10 June Captain Stevens was unwell. His unwise and undisciplined drinking of alcohol during this period contributed to his condition of health. On two occasions during this visit he was unable to see dinner parties through

because of a combination of fatigue and nausea associated with his ulcer condition to which unwise drinking had contributed. On neither of these occasions did he 'pass out' because he was intoxicated. He became unwell

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on Saturday, 8 June when he went on a p1cruc. This illness was not directly associated with the consumption of alcohol. He was unable to attend an official function that night. Captain Stevens was confined to his cabin through illness on the morning of Sunday, 9 June, but wa s able to entertain the Australian Ambassador and his wife to lunch and then appeared to be normal.

(h) For a period of at least two days immediately after Voyager left Tokyo on 10 June Captain Stevens was confined to his cabin through illness. He continued to be unwell up to a total period of about five days. On some occasions during the cruise after Voyager left Tokyo he had bouts

of vomiting. These were not directly associated with the consumption of alcohol.

(i) From his return to Voyager at Williamstown on Monday, 2 December 1963, Captain Stevens was physically sick and unwell and was confine d to his cabin through illness at least until Thursday, 5 December. This illness was associated with relatively excessive consumption of alcohol on the night of Sunday, 1 December, but was also associated with the stres of the court martial of Captain Dovers of which he had been a member the previous week.

SECTIO I 3- THE J 'IGHT OF l 0 FEBRUARY 1964-ALLEGED CONSUMPTION BY THE LATE CAPTAIN STEVE S OF A GLASS OF BRANDY AND WATER ABOUT ONE HOUR A D A HALF BEFORE THE COLLISION

In a signed statement supplied for the purpose of the First Voyager Commission one Barry John Hyland, who had been Captain Stevens' cabin band for three weeks prior to the collision, stated that about 7.25 p.m. on 10 February 1964, after he had served an evening meal to the Captain in his sea cabin the Captain asked him to bring him up a brandy, which he did, and later collected the empty glass at about 8.10 p.m. Hyland gave sworn evidence before Sir John Spicer that be did serve a brandy to the Captain about 7.25 p.m. He then, for the first time, referred to the brandy as a 'triple brandy'. He said the 'triple brandy' was three tots in the one glass but said be did not know whether or not a 'tot' was an ounce.

Hyland was not cross-examined on this piece of evidence. This appears to have been due to the fact that all Counsel knew that a sample taken of Captain Stevens' blood after the autopsy had been performed disclosed a small percentage of alcohol (0.025 per cent) and the Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney (Professor C. R. Blackburn) had reported that even assuming that to be the true level of alcohol at death, it was his opinion that Captain Stevens was neither under the influence of alcohol nor could his reactions in handling Voyager be significantly slowed or otherwise affected at the time of the collision (8.56 p.m.). Evidence was given by Professor Blackburn. In the course of this evidence

(Pages 2865-69, Voyager I) he said that the interpretation of the figure of 25 milli­ grams per cent was particularly difficult because of a number of factors arising, in the main, from the lapse of over sixty hours between death and the taking of the sample of blood-a period in which the body had been subject to a number of vicissitudes. He said 'it was not possible to suggest that be' (Captain Stevens) 'had significant effects from alcohol at the time of the accident' (Page 2867, Voyager I) .

In cross-examination he said that the heart is not considered by many authorities to be a good site to get an idea of the true level of alcohol in the blood and the

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fact that the sample was taken from the heart would perhaps tend to inflate the figure. He agreed that each of the difficulties to which he had adverted would tend to yield a higher content in the sample than had actually been present at the time of death (Page 2868, Voyager .I).

No doubt, because on this evidence it could not possibly be suggested that Captain Stevens was affected by alcohol at the time of the coll ision, Counsel were not concerned to test Hyland's evidence-and this despite the fact that to have a drink at all at sea before operational exercises was contrary to naval tradition, and

to Captain Stevens' own life long rule never to drink alcohol at sea. It would seem that it was assumed that the fact that some alcohol was present in the blood over sixty hours after death necessarily established that Captain Stevens had consumed some intoxicating liquor. This being so, and Professor Blackburn holding the

definite opinion that the amount consumed was not significant, it is understandable but unfortunate that the matter was not pursued further. The truth is that it is only with the advantage of the hindsight given by the present Inquiry that the question whether Captain Stevens had a brandy at all assumes real significance. If he did call for a brandy before night manoeuvres (contrary to his own rigid

discipline and to established navy custom) the explanation that immediately suggests itself in the light of his condition from time to time during the Far Eastern operational cruise as we have found it to be, is that he wanted it to alleviate ulcer pain or was threatened by ulcer pain. It is, therefore, evidence of

some importance in relation to Captain Stevens' fitness on the night of the disaster. It should be emphasised that Sir John Spicer made no finding whether or not Captain Stevens did call for a brandy on the night of the disaster. Any suggestion that Captain Stevens was under the influence of alcohol being clearly excluded, it was understandable that he made no reference to it.

But in view of what can now be seen to be the probable relevance of a request for a brandy and water to Captain Stevens' physical fitness, and in view of criticisms made during the debate in the House of Representatives in 1967 on the Voyager disaster, that the question of the amount of intoxicating liquor

consumed by Captain Stevens on the night of the disaster was inadequately investi­ gated, we thought it proper to have Hyland called again before us so that his evidence could be fully tested, and also to seek further expert opinion on the question whether any firm conclusions could be drawn from the fact of the small

percentage of alcohol found in the blood sample taken from the heart. We also took evidence from Dr R. V. W. Roberts (a general practitioner practising at Nowra who conducted the autopsy on the late Captain Stevens) and Mr J. W. Neuhaus (the analyst who analysed a sample of blood taken from the body some

sixty hours after death). We also enlisted the assistance of Dr J. H . Birrell, the Victorian Police Surgeon who has had long experience in assessing blood alcohol tests and of Dr V. D. Plueckhahn, E.D., M.D., B.S. , M.R.A.C.P., M.C.P.A. , M.C. Path, an eminent pathologist who is the Director of Pathology

at the Geelong Hospital, and Consultant Pathologist to the Commonwealth Department of Civil Aviation. Dr Plueckhahn is a recognised authority on the significance of blood alcohol levels at autopsy and as recently as May 1967 pre­ sented a valuable paper on this subject to the Aviation Pathology Conference in Melbourne (printed in the July 1967 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia).

First we should emphasise that the opinions of Dr Birrell and Dr Plueckhahn completely support Professor Blackburn's opinion that if it be assumed that the blood alcohol level of 0.025 per cent at autopsy resulted from actual consumption of alcohol 1 t hours before death, the late Captain Stevens was in no way affected

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by alcohol at the time of the disaster. In Dr Plueckhabn's first Report to u ( 12 October 1967) he said-(Para. 8-Statement 268 in Exhibit 60A): 8. Significance of blood alcohol level of 0.025% as to effect on deceased My own experience and extensive reading of the literature bas convinced me 0.025 %

alcohol is below the 'threshold' value of blood alcohol concentration which can cause an impairment in skills and an increased liability to be involved in an accident. A good review of 'The operational significance of Blood Alcohol Concentrations' was given by Dr John Lane to the Royal Commission into the Sale, Supply, Disposal or Con­ sumption of Liquor in the State of Victoria (1964-65 ). I have attached copies of pp. 84-89 of the Appendix to Report Part I for your information.

My experience has included dinners of the 'Wine and Food' type at which I have taken blood samples for alcohol estimation from up to 30 persons of probably similar build and habits as the late Captain Stevens. My opinion is that alcohol may

significantly effect the behaviour, particular under stress, when the level reaches a figure of between 0.060% and 0.070%. I am entirely in agreement with the opinion expressed by Professor Blackburn in the first paragraph of his report dated 24 March 1964.

IN FINAL SUMMARY On the evidence supplied to me it is my firm opinion that Captain Duncan Stevens was not affected by alcohol at the time of his death and that the effects of alcohol on the capabilities of Captain Stevens can be excluded as a possible cause of the collision.

The evidence given by Dr Roberts and Mr Neuhaus was fully tested before us . It soon became apparent to us that the reading of 0.025 per cent of alcohol in the blood sample taken from the heart more than sixty hours after death was even more suspect as evidence of the actual consumption of alcohol before death (let alone as an indication of any precise amount consumed) than Professor Blackburn had suggested in his evidence before the First Voyager Commission. Mr Neuhaus examined on 14 February 1964 a blood sample taken from the body of Captain Stevens by Dr R. V. W. Roberts, a doctor practising at Nowra, who at 10 a.m. on 12 February 1964 conducted a post mortem on Captain Stevens and who on 13 February 1964 removed a blood sample from his heart for alcohol examina­

tion. Mr Neuhaus found that the blood sample contained the equivalent of 0.025 per cent of alcohol. The collision took place at approximately 9 p.m. on 10 February 1964 and the body of Captain Stevens was recovered from the sea at 1.30 a.m. on 11 February 1964. The body was placed on the deck of the rescue ship where it remained until 9 p.m. on 11 February 1964, was not refrigerated and the maximum temperature on that day was 82 o F. It was then removed to Shoalhaven District Hospital. Mr Neuhaus gave evidence before us and he referred to a number of circumstances, present in the case, which would tend to invalidate the quantification of the percentage of alcohol found in the blood upon his analysis.

Although all this evidence clearly showed that the possibility of alcohol being produced by post mortem changes in the body could not be excluded, and that the alcohol in the blood sample was of very doubtful validity as affording corro­ boration of the evidence of Hyland, we thought it desirable to obtain a further

report from Dr Plueckhahn. This completely confirmed the tentative view we had formed.

Dr Plueckbahn's conclusions after studying the evidence of Dr Roberts and Mr Neuhaus were summarised by him in a written report to us dated 7 November 1967, as follows: 2. I hold the following opinions in view of the history of the body and the collection

of the sample of blood from the body of the late Captain Stevens. (a) It is very much more probable than not that contamination and bacterial growth in the sample of blood taken have contributed to produce the alcohol concen­ tration of 0.025%.

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(b), It is quite possible that the complete alcohol concentration is due to the factors listed in (a), but this cannot be said as a matter of certainty. Extensive practical and experimental evidence have led us to expect false alcohol concentrations between 0.020% and 0.050% under similar conditions as existed in the

taking and analysing of the sample of blood from the late Captain Stevens. Under certain conditions of death these false alcohol concentrations may reach 0.100% . (c) Despite (b) , there may have been alcohol present in the blood at the point of death, but if so, it was present in a concentration of less than 0.025 % . (d) Three ounces of brandy taken after a meal ninety minutes before death would be

likely to produce a blood alcohol concentration of less than 0.025 % at the point of death. (e) The possibility tha t three ounces of brandy were consumed ninety minutes before death cannot be excluded by the above statements.

Further a negative blood alcohol concentration at autopsy would not necessarily have been conclusive that three ounces of alcohol had not been consumed ninety minutes before death. (f) The above evidence does not oblige one to reject evidence that alcohol was in fact

consumed ninety m inutes prior to death. 3. On the evidence supplied to me it is my firm opinion that any blood alcohol

concentration present in the body of Captain Stevens at the point of death was not sufficient to cause any impairment in skills or in fact cause any increased liability to accident. 4. Fina lly, despite the unsatisfactory circumstances surrounding the collection of the

sample of blood from Captain Stevens, the sample does provide definite evidence to exclude the effects of alcohol on the capabilities of Captain Stevens as a possible cause of the collision.

Mr Neuhaus in hi s evidence said that a percentage of 0.025 % alcohol was consistent with the consumption of a minimum amount of It oz of brandy. As appea rs from the evidence of the cabin hand Hyland to which we shall shortly refer, the maximum amount of brandy which he could have served to Captain Stevens was not 3 oz but about 2.475 oz. If 3 oz (as Dr Pleuckhahn says) would

be likely to produce a blood alcohol concentration of less th an 0.025 % at the point of death, 2.4 75 oz would, of course, be likely to have produced less still. It follo ws that at least some part of th e alcoholic content of the blood sample taken over 60 hours after death must have been derived from sources other than the actual imbiding of alcohol before death: and a real possibility remains on the scientific evidence that all of it was derived from sources arising from post mortem

changes.

The conditions which must be present as a pre-requisite to a scientifically acceptable an alysis of a post mortem blood sample as evidence of consumption of alcohol before death, were in this case not fulfilled. We should say in fairness to Dr Roberts that no blame can be attached to him. As Dr Pleuckhahn said in his

R eport to us the vice lies in a system of coronia! procedures which does not require autopsies to be conducted only by specially qualified pathologists.

Our investigation has shown that the assumption made in the First Voyager luquiry that the presence of a small percentage of alcohol in the blood sample necessarily meant that some alcohol had been consumed by Captain Stevens before death, is an assumption which in the circumstances of thi s case has no fir m scientific basis. All we think that can be said is th at it is consistent with a small quantity of alcohol having been consumed before death, but it does not sati sfactorily establish it as a fact.

To return to the witness Hyland. Because this assumption to which we have just referred was made (and because in any event his evidence did not suggest Captain Stevens was affected by alcohol) Hyland's evidence was not tes ted at the

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First Voyager Commission. Sir John Spicer bad no occasion to say what his impres­ sion of him was and he made no finding based on his evidence. This has placed us in the difficult position of judicially assessing the reliability of his evidence now after a lapse of time of over three years without having the benefit of any view taken of it by Sir John Spicer in 1964, and without having any confidence that the analysis of the blood sample corroborates it.

We are bound to say that although we have no doubt that while Hyland is a completely honest young man, he was a most confused witness, and after anxious consideration we feel that the possibility that he was genuinely mistaken as to the occasion when he served Captain Stevens with a brandy, cannot be excluded.

It is no part of the Cabban allegations that Captain Stevens consumed a brandy on the night of the collision-indeed as we have said more than once Cabban found the evidence incredible. The Terms of Reference therefore do not require us to make any finding on this question. Nor are our ultimate conclusions as to Captain Stevens' fitness to retain command of Voyager, nor the effect of those conclusions on Sir John Spicer's findings, dependent upon an affirmative finding

that Captain Stevens called for a brandy on the night of the disaster. But as we are conscious that the unchallenged and untested evidence that Captain Stevens had a 'triple brandy' on the night of the disaster has received some degree of public acceptance we think that in justice to the late Captain Stevens, who alone could rebut the allegation, it is right that we should draw attention to a number of serious inconsistencies in Hyland's evidence. According to his 1964 statement

(Exhibit 14) at about 6 p.m. on 10 February 1964 H yland came to what be described as the Captain's 'sleeping cabin' by which term be undoubtedly intends to refer to the 'sea cabin'. He performed duties in relation to the sea cabin until about 8.15 p.m. He took the evening meal to the Captain at about 7.15 p.m. Hyland describes this as the Captain's 'tea' but we gather that it was a meal of some description. At 7.20 or 7.25 p.m. the Captain rang for Hyland to let

him know that he had finished his 'tea'. When Hyland came to collect the Captain's tray, the Captain, to use Hyland's own words in his statement, . . . (t)hen asked me to bring him up a brandy. Within a matter of minutes I

went back with his brandy. After I had delivered his glass of brandy I returned down­ stairs and be later buzzed for me to come up to get the empty glass. When I did that he was still in his cabin . . .

After performing some other work and before going off duty Hyland stated that he returned to the sea cabin at a time which be estimated to be about 8.10 p.m. The Captain was not then in his cabin. On 21 May 1964 Hyland was a witness before Sir John Spicer and, after giving evidence along the lines that we have indicated above concerning his taking the

Captain's 'tea' to the 'sleeping' or 'sea cabin', be then gave this testimony: ('Page 2856 Voyager 1'.) Q. Did you then go and collect his tray? A. Yes.

Q. And when you did did he ask you for something? A. Yes. Q. What did he ask for? A. For a brandy, a triple brandy. Q. A triple brandy? What is that, 3 oz is it? A. That is three brandy tots in the one glass.

HIS HONOUR: And what are the tots, an ounce, are they? Do you know? A. No.

MR SMYfH: Then you went and got that and brought it back to him?

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. A. Yes. Q. Did you see him drink it or did you just leave it there? A. No, I just left it. Q. And then you returned downstairs and he later buzzed for you to come up and

get the empty glass? A. Yes.

As we have said, Hyland was not cross-examined upon this aspect of his evidence but Mr J. W. Smyth, Q.C., Senior Counsel appearing to assist the Commission, indicated that he would be tendering the autopsy reports and calling Professor Blackburn to give evidence. However, attention was drawn to the inconsistency

between Hyland's statement and his evidence, that is to say, the conflict between the references to 'a brandy' and a 'triple brandy'.

On 23 June 1967 Hyland gave a further statement which he signed on 30 June 1967 and in which he gave details of his attendance and service to the Captain in his day cabin. These duties undoubtedly would have been performed when H.M.A.S. Voyager was in harbour as the day cabin was not used by the Captain when the ship was at sea. Hyland stated: 'These occasions were probably

when the ship was at Sydney and the Captain was sleeping ashore'. He did say, however, that he never served the Captain a drink '. (w)hile we were

alongside. I knew from Davis' (the Captain's steward) 'that the Captain used to drink brandy; that could have been one thing Davis told me about him'. Then Hyland proceeds to say: I remember a night shortly before the collision. Leading Steward Davis had done th e

Captain's meal and had cleared away the dinner things and had gone below. The Captain then buzzed from the da y cabin and I went in. He said: 'I'd like a brandy. A triple brandy with water'. I walked to the liquor cupboard and took the brandy bottle and measured three liqueur glasses which at the time I thought contained a tot. I poured them into a 10 oz glass and filled it up with water from the fridge to

within t" or so of the top. A liqueur glass is half an ounce, th at is half a nip. This

meant that I really gave him half what he asked for but at the time, being new to the job, I thought th at this was what the measure was. I don't know wheth er he saw me pour it. I took it over to him and gave it to him and then left the day cabin. He did

not call me back later to take the glass away. He didn't seem to say much; it could be that he wasn't feeling too well and needed something to pick him up. I had never before given a triple to an officer. A week or so before when I had started as the

Captain's cabin hand he said to me: 'One day when I get the chance I'll tell you just what I like and then you'll know' but he never did get round to telling me. I therefore didn't know exactly what he had in mind when he ordered a triple brandy.

I can't remember whether I told Davis that I had served him this drink. It was unusual; I had never given him one before.

The statement signed by Hyland on 21 February 1964 and his evidence before Sir John Spicer conflict in the most vital matters with what is asserted in his statement signed on 30 June 1967 in the following ways: (i) The 1964 version refers to the Captain's sea cabin whilst the 1967 version relates to the day cabin

which was not used by the Captain when the ship was at sea. (ii) The 1964 version states that Hyland served the evening meal and took the tray away whilst the 1967 version asserts that Davis performed both these tasks. (iii) The references in the 1967 version to Hyland 'walking' to the liquor cupboard, to stating whether he did

not 'know whether he saw me pour it', the use of the refrigerator and 'I took it over to him' are consistent only with Hyland obtaining the drink and serving it to the Captain in the day cabin, which is a deck below the sea cabin and where the Captain's liquor and refrigerator were situated. There was no alcohol cupboard or refrigerator in the sea cabin. If this account of the 'brandy' incident is the correct

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one, then it cannot refer to the evening of 1 0 February 1964 as the Captain was not in his day cabin on that evening. There is another aspect of this statement of great significance. When the statement was given on 23 June 1967 the opening sentence of the material portion of it read: 'I remember the night of the collision'. When Hyland signed this statement on 30 June 1967 he corrected this sentence

to read: 'I remember a night shortly before the collision'. In these circumstances it must be inferred that what Hyland is then proceeding to relate with regard to his service to the Captain of a triple brandy and water, refers to an evening which is not 10 February 1964 but one shortly preceding that date. This may well have been Sunday, 9 February 1964 when Voyager was in Jervis Bay when, accord­ ing to Captain Dacre Smyth, Captain Stevens returned to the wharf to go back to his ship at about 7.30 after declining the offer of a meal at his residence

(Exhibit 190). The times given by both Hyland and Captain Dacre Smyth are only approximate and it appears to us to be a real possibility that the Sunday evening is the occasion which Hyland has recalled. Later in his statement Hyhind would appear to concede this as a possible occasion.

Having given that account of the 'brandy' incident Hyland was then shown the statement which he signed on 21 February 1964 and, having noted what be had said in the earlier statement concerning the serving to the Captain of the brandy, he said:

The occasion which I spoke of in that statement (i.e. the statement dated 21 February 1964) is not the same occasion as the one of which I have a clear recollection today. The one that I remember today (i.e. 23 June 1967) is an ·occasion when we were at sea and I served a triple brandy to the Captain in his day cabin after Leading Steward Davis had cleared the tea dishes away and gone below.

There must have been two occasions when I gave the Captain a brandy while at sea. On reflection the occasion when I served him in the day cabin could not have been the same day as the collision. It may have been that after my first experience in the day cabin when the Captain had ordered a triple brandy I knew that if the Captain

wanted a brandy it was a triple brandy. It is possible that on the night of the collision be asked simply for a brandy as I said in my written statement and that I knew what he wanted. [p. 5 of Statement 93]

This, a reconstruction of Hyland's recollection, cannot be accurate for the simple reason, as we have pointed out above, that the day cabin was not used by Captain Stevens whilst Voyager was at sea. However, Hyland proceeds to compound further the inconsistencies in his varying accounts by stating:

I now have a clear recollection of these two separate occasions. I don't think there were any others. It was only in the last week or so that I would have had anything to do with this because I had been cabin hand only for a short while. I wasn't much in the day cabin until I had been a cabin hand for a week or so. As I said before, I can't recollect any time serving the Captain with a brandy while we were in port.

I now feel sure that on the day of the collision the Captain had his evening meal in the sleeping cabin [sea cabin], and that on the occasion when I served the brandy in the day cabin Davis had served the meal there. I am not sure but it was probably between a couple of days or up to a week before the collision that I served the Captain

the drink in the day cabin. [p. 6 of Statement 93]

He concluded the statement taken on 23 June 1967 by stating that: 'Three or four months after the Royal Commission' (conducted by Sir John Spicer) 'Mr Cabban came to see me at my home at Belmore. He questioned me about this triple brandy and seemed to be doubting whether my evidence about it had been correct. He said to his knowledge Captain Stevens didn't drink at sea' (p. 7 of Statement 93).

On 12 and 13 October 1967 Hyland gave evidence in the present Royal Com­ mission. In answer to Mr Burt, Q.C., Senior Counsel assisting the Commission, he stated that he remembered serving the Captain a drink once prior to I 0 February

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1964: When asked 'when?' he said: 'From memory-it is a bit rough-but I would say about a week beforehand' (p. 3975) . A week prior to the collision Voyager was in Sydney Harbour. He thought that it was in the evening. He said: 'I couldn't be sure on this but I think it was in the evening--early evening'. He said: 'I would

say round about 7 o'clock. In his day cabin, if I remember rightly.' When asked how clear his memory of this was, he said: 'Not real clear of the first one, but the second one is more clear'. When asked whether the ship was in harbour or at sea whe n he served the first drink to the Captain, be said: 'I think it was at sea but I couldn't be sure.' He said: 'From memory I think Leading Steward Davis bad served the Captain his evening meal and he had gone below and I was left in charge there, and the Captain buzzed, from his day cabin, I think, and asked me for a brandy-a triple brandy'. He then gave this evidence:

Q. Which was it that he asked you for, do you remember? A. I don't know. I can't remember now but I know that it was a brandy. Q. You said he asked for a brandy- a triple brandy. Do you mean he specified a triple brandy? A. I couldn't say. Q. What did you do as a result of what you were asked? A. Well, I gave him a triple brandy.

Q. In what sort of a glass? A. A 10 oz beer glass, I think it was. Q. Is that a comparable glass there now on your table, as to size? A. Much the same size. Q. And how much water did you add to it? A . Pretty well to the top. Q. Any ice? A. No ice.

Q. Did you measure the volume that you thought the captain wanted? Or did you gauge it? A. I measured it. Q. What did you use as a measure? A. A liqueur glass.

Q. Did you subsequently satisfy yourself as to how much the liqueur glass held ? A. I thought it held an ounce at that time. Q. But since then? A. Since then I have found out it doesn't hold an ounce-only a half or three quarters.

Q. So as it turned out the drink you gave him was considerably less than 3 oz? A. Yes. MR BURT: Do you remember where you served it to him? A. I think it was in the day cabin. I could not be sure of this. Q. You entered the cabin and spoke to him no doubt? A. Yes.

Q. How did he appear to be to you? A. All right to me. Q. Quite well? A. Yes. Q. Did you go back later to take the glass away? A . I cannot remember. I may have but I do not think I did.

Q . Is there any possibility that you are confusing the occasion concerning which you gave evidence before; the occasion of taking a drink to the captain? A. I do not think so.

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Q. . . . (c)an you recaJJ how the captain looked on the night of the coll ision when you took him a drink? A. Yes. Normal to what I have seen him before; the same as what he was. Q. There was nothing about him which to you appeared to be abnormal? A. No. [pp. 3976-7]

He also gave evidence of Cabban's visit to him after be gave evidence before Sir John Spicer and that Cabban 'seemed to doubt my words at the first Com­ mission' (p. 3977). Mr Burt, Q.C., then go t Hyland to identify a liqueur glass , the same size as be claimed be used to measure the drink that be alleged he served to the Captain. It was a Navy issue liqueur glass, and a certificate (Exhibit 157) was tendered from the Department of Customs and E xcise proving that the capacity of the glass when full is 0.88 fluid ounces. Hyland said be did not fill the liqueur glass to the brim when measuring the brandy-it was 'at least one-sixteen th

under' (p. 3993). This would make the quantity of brandy in the tall glass of water not in excess of 2.475 fluid ounces. When cross-examined he gave evidence as to undergoing a 'terrifying experience' on the night of the collision (p. 3983).

It is upon this evidence that it is suggested that approximately 1 t hours before the collision on 10 February 1964 Captain Stevens had a 'triple brandy'. It appeared to us that Hyland was an honest witness endeavouring to tell the truth; but let us examine the factors which tell against his account of the evening of 10 February 1964 being an accurate one. Firstly, on all sides it is conceded that it was a life-long rule of Captain Stevens not to drink at sea. Cabban himself was not prepared to accept Hyland's evidence that the Captain had done so. Secondly, despite the Captain's undoubted troubles with his ulcer at sea during 1963 which -unlike the evening of 10 February 1964-at times appeared to have been acute, it is likewise conced d th at he never drank alcohol at sea. Thirdly, it is a long established naval tradition that the captain does not drink at sea under any cir­ cumstances and Captain Stevens was a dedicated naval officer. Fourthly, if Captain Stevens had wished to drink at sea, he could readily have obtained brandy from his day cabin without advertising a gross breach of naval tradition before a rela­ tively raw recruit in the navy. Fifthly, the evidence is all against Captain Stevens being in such a state of health on the evening of 10 February 1964 that it became necessary for him to break with naval tradition and his own rule of self-discipline; it is quite conceivable that by the evening of that day he may have become very fatigued, he may have been in some pain with an ulcer activation but it seems plain from the uncontradicted evidence that he was not in a condition which made the consumption of brandy on such an occ asion so pressing as to require him to break openly with such a rigid practice.

It may however, be argued in favour of the view that Hyland did serve Captain Stevens with a brandy in his sea cabin on the evening of 10 February 1964, that the statement given by him on 21 February 1964, being only 11 days after the collision, is more likely to be a much fresher recollection and therefore a more

accurate account. But the experience which he went through on the night of the disaster was, according to him, a terrifying one and may well have blurred his recollection of what he actually did in the short period which preceded it during which he acted as an inexperienced cabin hand on initial sea duty. The manifold

and obvious inconsistencies of hi s subsequent accounts would seem to bear this out.

There is no direct evidence other than Hyland's that Captain Stevens had a brandy on the night of the disaster. The pathological evid nee accords only do ub tful corroboration. Although we were told by Counsel for the Naval Board that the consumption by Captain Stevens of the quantity of brandy suggested about an hour

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before engaging in night manoeuvres could not be the subject of any disciplinary charge, it is contrary to what appears to be a strong navy moral code and was clearly so regarded by Captain Stevens himself.

He would have been well aware that knowledge that he had done so would be likely to attract censure from his superiors and endanger his career.

The evidence supporting the consumption of a brandy on the night of the disaster therefore consists only of that of the single witness Hyland which has, as we have shown, a number of unsatisfactory features. The presence of a small percentage of alcohol in the blood sample taken from Captain Stevens' heart over 60 hours after death is of questionable value as corroboration. It is an allegation of some seriousness against a dead man, who is not here to answer it. In the result we do not find it possible to say that consistently with the established prin­ ciples as to .the standard of proof we have adopted (see Part A , Section 2 (d) above) the allegation that Captain Stevens drank a 'triple brandy' or any brandy

on the night of the collision is satisfactorily proved, and it would be unjust to the late Cap.tain Stevens for any one to assume it was the fact. We say again that this was never the subject of any finding by Sir John Spicer and the evidence called and closely tested before us does not establish it satisfactorily . It is unfor­ tunate that the unchallenged and untested evidence of the First Voyager Com­ mission has received wide public acceptance. We have endeavoured to demon­ strate that there are very serious doubts about it.

We reiterate that although the scientific evidence relating to the presence of a percentage of alcohol in a sample of blood taken fro m Captain Stevens' body

over 60 hours after death does not exclude the possibility that part of it resulted from alcohol imbibed before death: it is consistent with the whole of it being produced by post mortem changes.

We also desire to say emphatically that th e further investigation we have m ade upon this question estab lishes beyond any doubt that if the fact be that Captain Stevens did drink a brandy and water about one and a half hours before the disaster, the maximum am.ount of brandy he could have consumed consistently

with the post mortem blood analysis was 2t oz (the equivalent of two ordinary whisk ies with a slightly generous measure ) and that imm ediately befor e the disaster he was not in any way under the influence of alcohol. It must, in justice to the late Captain Stevens, be clearly understood by the Australian public that our investiga­

tion has established beyond doubt that any suggestion that his faculties or judgment were in any way impaired by alcohol at the time of the collision is positively excluded.

SECTION 4-THE CHARACTER AND CREDIT OF UEUTENA rT-COMMANDER CABBAN In dealing with the genesis of the 'Cabban Statement' and the part played by Cabban in the first Voyager Commission we have already touched on a number of

matters relating to the character and credit of Cabban which go to explain the 'Cabban Statement'. In Section 5 of Part D we have set out Cabban's sworn evidence side by side with the allegations in the 'Cabban Statement', and it clearly appears from this juxtaposition that he did not in his sworn testimony assert the

literal truth of all the allegations. His credit as a witness cannot entirely be divorced from his credit as the maker of the Statement. In the earlier part of his evidence he committed himself to the truth of some allegations in the Statement which in the course of cross-examination he had to qualify substantially. The same motives

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which led him by way of reconstruction to make some incautious and insupportable generalisations in the 'Cabban Statement' persisted to some degree in his sworn testimony.

We have also in Section 2 of Part E referred to a number of specific instances where we have rejected his evidence as unreliable.

We turn now to some other (but related) factors which generally affect his credit.

First as to the character of the man himself. From our observation of him and from the evidence we heard regarding him, we see him as an enthusiastic and dedicated naval officer with an almost overwhelming ambition to reach the top. He set high standards of efficiency and discipline for himself and expected others to conform to them. A ready instance of this will be found in Paragraph 1 of the 'Cabban Statement'. There can .be no doubt that at all times he was a thoroughly competent and efficient Executive Officer. Captain Stevens himself twice recommended him for promotion--on 30 March 1963 and 10 October 1963. He submitted his resignation from the Navy on 5 August 1963. This was accepted and he resigned on 6 January 1964. Captain Stevens presented him with an engraved tankard on behalf of the officers and himself. His relations with Captain Stevens were good then as indeed they had for the most part been during the cruise. Cabban did not resign because of any disharmony between the Captain and himself but because be had been passed over for promotion. There is no suggestion (apart from the incident at Subic Bay) of any real clash between them. Any animosity between them stemming from the conflict of personalities in the Subic Bay incident appears to have been short-lived. While Voyager was at Singapore for the second last time (24 June to 4 July) Cabban, in a tape recording sent to

his wife, said he bad played squash with the Captain every day. This he confirmed in his evidence (p . 132). It may be thought to be not surprising that two men living and working together daily for many months in confined quarters should from time to time have differences-even sharp differences--of a momentary kind; especially would this be so when markedly dissimilar temperamental characteristics exist in them.

We are satisfied that Cabban bore no malice of any kind towards Captain Stevens and that the evidence he gave as to his drinking habits and his judgment of the situation, as be saw it, from time to time was not vitiated by any ill will towards the Captain.

Some evidence was brought out that Cabban felt he had been unjustly treated by the Navy because he was 'grounded' from operational flying after being involved in an aircraft crash in 1958. Cabban no doubt genuinely thought this was unjust. On 12 March 1958 he submitted his resignation but this was not accepted. On

16 March 1958 he was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander. We reject any suggestion that arising out of these circumstances he was motivated by a 'grudge' against the Navy to make false or exaggerated allegations against the late Captain Stevens.

But to understand and assess the reliability of Cabban's evidence as to the Captain's behaviour and condition as he adjudged it to be during the cruise, a deeper appreciation must be attempted of the respective characters of the two men and of some of the psychological factors involved in their relationship.

We have already said a good deal about the character of the late Captain Stevens and referred to his qualities of leadership and to his general competence. In the present context we are concerned to emphasise some aspects of his

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personality which bear particularly on the relationship between Cabban and himself. Perhaps in short psychological jargon it may be said that Stevens was the 'extrovert' and Cabban the 'introvert'. Stevens was certainly a popular, friendly, outgoing, gregarious man. He liked to 'go along' with his fellow men in drinking at

social gatherings--even at the expense of his own health. He had an ebullient personality which led him sometimes to indulge himself and behave in a way which understandably a man of Cabban's introspective and a little unworldly personality would disapprove. There can be no doubt that Cabban was intensely loyal to his Captain--or rather to his Captain as he thought he should be. It was indeed his

apotheosis of the office of Captain which we think caused the Captain's behaviour at his birthday dinner to have the profound impact on his mind which it

undoubtedly did. We cannot but feel that after this incident his judgment on subsequent incidents with which the Captain's drinking habits were associated became coloured by his impression of the events of the birthday dinner. This frame of mind we think led him to attach a more sinister significance to some subsequent

incidents (whether observed by him or recounted to him) than was justified, and led him too readily to accepting them as associated with excessive drinking. It even led him in retrospect to attach significance to incidents which at the time had no significance to him at all (notably the farewell party in Sydney in January

1963, when he said he felt the Captain drank a little too much '. than I

would have hoped, as my Captain'). This is an example of pure reconstruction. It was again this frame of mind which led him to believe that the few specific incidents involving drink which he observed or was told about were symptomatic of a general pattern of behaviour and tended to magnify his concern about the Captain's drinking habits.

There can be no doubt that in his introspection Cabban tended to dramatise the events in which he was taking part. When he was being cross-examined by Mr Ash concerning his statement: 'During the period in the Far East the situation became more than trying, it was quite desperate' in contrast to his claim that

1963 was his happiest year in the Navy he volunteered this statement: 'I thought I was in a situation-! think I described it in my statement-rather similar to that in the Caine Mutiny' (p. 240). It is significant that in his statement dated 5 July 1967 (p. 1306 Exhibit 182) made for the purposes of this inquiry, Cabban stated that on the day after the Captain's birthday dinner held on 23 March

1963 be 'was now desperately worried'. This was the first occasion on which he saw the Captain in a condition which he believed to be due to the adverse effects of liquor. In answer to questioning by Asprey J.A. , Cabban gave this evidence.

ASPREY, J . A.: You had read this book. 'The Caine Mutiny', of course, before this (i.e. before 1963)? A. Yes. when it was a new book, Your Honour.

Q. Did you take the view you were in a situation very closely similar at this time to that of the executive officer of the Caine? A. I could see similar aspects to it, yes, Your Honour. Q . And that occurred to you at the time?

A. I think it did. [p. 597]

To cast Captain Stevens and himself in the roles of Captain Queeg and his execu­ tive officer, the dramatis personae of Herman Wouk's novel 'The Caine Mutiny', amounts, of course, to a complete flight from reality on the part of Cabban. Those who see drama too readily, in many things tend to over-act their own parts and to exaggerate their lines accordingly. This, we think, was Cabban.

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There can be no doubt, however, that by May 1963 Cabban was deepl and genuinely concerned about Captain Stevens' condition. He expressed hi s concern to Mr Liebenschutz during the second visit of Voyager to Hong Kong (13 to 20 May). He again expressed his concern to Squadron Leader Farrelly during the visit of Voyager to Karatsu (24 to 28 May). Cabban was not a bearer of tales to Farrelly-he said nothing about the birthday dinner, the 'lost on Yarra' incident of 6 April , or the Fo'c'sle party on 13 May. He only expressed his concern about the Captain's well-being; he did not allege be became intoxi­ cated, but thought he was drinking more than was good for his health. Nor have we any doubt that Cabban's anxiety mounted and did reach its climax in Tokyo. The evidence of Mr Gale and of Commander E. V. Stevens amply corroborate Cabban's own evidence of his anxiety. We are satisfied from this evidence and from the evidence of Lieutenant Howland (pp. 2695-8) that Cabban bad reached the stage when he was genuinely concerned as to what be should do. He was torn between his loyalty to his Captain and loyalty to the Navy generally. We believe that notwithstanding Lieutenant-Commander Griffith's denial of any recollection of it Cabban did express his concern to him by referring to the conflict of loyaltie with which he was faced and saying something to the effect that he had to asses his overall loyalty to the Navy, to the officers and men of Voyager (pp. 2440, 2698) .

On Sunday 9 June in Tokyo Cab ban took the opportunity to inform Captain Willis of his concern about the Captain's health. He made no suggestion to Captain Willis that Captain Stevens was a drunkard; nor did he recount to him any of the incidents associated with heavy drinking of which he was aware (p. 129) .

We do not think Cabban is to be censured fo r not making any further report than he did about Captain Stevens when Voyager was at Tokyo. Although he was anxious about the future he was satisfied the Captain never drank at sea and his drinking habits had not, to Cabban's kn owledge, affected the performance of his duties, although he was fearful they might do so. He maintained his per­ sonal loyalty to the Captain and fervently hoped that after Captain Willis had

talked to him in Tokyo, he would take more care of himself. And so it turned out. Captain Stevens either completely abstained from alcohol or drank only very moderately until the ship reached Sydney. Cabban's relief was apparent. It is confirmed by the contemporaneous tape recording he made for hi s wife.

When Voyager reached Sydney Captain Stevens began drinking again. As we have found, there is no acceptable evidence that he drank excessively; but the fact that he began drinking again at all gave Cab ban cause for renewed anxiety, and we think, Jed him in retrospect in the 'Cabban Statement' to give a false impression of the Captain's condition while Voyager was at Sydney from 3 to I 0 August 1963.

Then followed the short period in Williamstown in December 1963 when Captain Stevens was ill for several days followi ng th e train journey from Sydney the Melbourne with Captain Loxton when Captain Stevens drank about ten brandies. Cabban no doubt thought the previous pattern of behaviour as he had

beli eved it to be was repeating itself. But he was on th e point of leaving the Navy and he was not deeply concerned. Then came the catastrophe of the night of February 10 1964. This, of course, had a tremendous impact on Cabban. But he steadfastly maintained that alcohol could have had no bearing on the disaster because his Captain, as he knew, never drank at sea. It is apparent from what we have said in Section 4 of Part D that he did not, until some months after the conclusion of the First Voyager Commission , believe that the disaster was associated in any way with an y repetit ion of th e

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Captain's behaviour and condition as he believed it to have been during the Far Eastern Operational Cruise. He still did not think so even when he heard that Hyland said he had served the Captain with a 'triple brandy' on the night of the disaster. As we have suggested, it was only when he became an ardent convert

to Captain Robertson's cause, that he seems to have convinced himself that the disaster may have been associated with his former Captain's drinking habits as he earlier believed them to be. We have already referred to Cabban's change of attitude to the relevance of

Stevens' drinking habits to the disaster after he espoused Captain Robertson's cause. This change of attitude is more readily understandable when the tendency of Cabban to dramatise himself to which we have referred is fully appreciated. There were many instances in the evidence which showed him to be a man who

readily saw himself as the central figure in a dramatic situation. We have said that he became genuinely concerned about Captain Stevens during the cruise and that he reached the stage when he was torn between conflicting loyalties. But in all this his sense of the dramatic coloured his judgment. He saw Captain Stevens and

himself as the two principle actors in high drama. Whatever the real truth of the clash between Stevens and Cabban at Subic Bay may be, Cabban spelled out of it an intention by Captain Stevens to charge him with attempted mutiny or to have him certified as being of unsound mind. It is difficult to believe that any such

intention could rationally have been attributed to Captain Stevens.

If we may continue the histrionic metaphor, Captain Stevens and his Executive Officer Lieutenant-Commander Cabban were the two principal characters in a tl ree act drama beginning in January 1963 with the departure of Voyager on her Far Eastern Operational Cruise and ending with the catastrophe of her collision

wi th Melbourne on the night of 10 February 1964. The curtain r's s or; Act 1 to find the two men tense and keyed up to meet the challenge the cruise presented. It was by far the most important command Captain Stevens bad had. Cabban knew that unless he was promoted to Commander during it be must leave the

Navy for good because there would be for him no further prospect of advance­ ment. The two men who were to be so closely thrown together over the next few months in the confined spaces of the destroyer were incompatible in temperament and therein lay the seeds of conflict and misunderstanding. Stevens was the bluff,

outgoing naval captain, impatient of formality and unwilling to stand on ceremony. Cabban was almost his complete opposite, quietly efficient but reserved and inclined to be self-centred and uncompromising, a near perfectionist to whom any departure by his Captain or fellow naval officers from the rigid standards of propriety he set for himself was abhorrent and inexcusable.

The central scene of Act 1 is the Captain's birthday dinner. Cabban is deeply shocked by the Captain's conduct. Unaware of the important contributing factors of pain, nausea and fatigue related to the Captain's ulcer condition he attributes his conduct solely to excessive drinking. This makes a tremendous impact upon

him and leads him over the next three months to see in the Captain's more con­ sistent drinking and occasions of illness a highly disturbing pattern of behaviour caused by addiction to alcohol, culminating in the events in Tokyo in June. Cabban's anxiety and inner conflict mount. Shall he make known his fears about the Captain to his superiors in the Navy or shall he maintain a personal but possibly

mistaken loyalty to the Captain? Then in Tokyo Captain Stevens becomes really ill and following this Cabban has the heady experience of being (as he would have it) in 'complete command' of Voyager while the Captain is confined to hi s cabi n. The Captain recovers and there follows a scene at Subic Bay which to Cabban was

one of high drama in which the Captain was threatening him with attempted mutiny

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for exceeding his authority while be was 'in command' during the Captain's illness. Captain Stevens has become Captain Queeg of the 'Caine Mutiny', and Cabban has become Captain Queeg's Executive Officer. And so the curtain falls on Act 1.

In Act 2 the action slows down. Captain Stevens in a valiant attempt to escape from the vicious circle of ulcer pain exacerbated by too consistent drinking, tem­ porarily forswears alcohol. Cabban claims the credit for this. As he would have it Captain Willis had 'laid down the law' to Captain Stevens in Tokyo at Cabban's instance and this had saved the situation. His fears about the Captain are revived when the Captain begins drinki ng again after Voyager returns to Sydney in August 1963. But he has really lost interest. He has not received his promotion and be leaves the Navy for good. So ends Act 2. Then in Act 3 came the catas­ trophe--the incredible and apparently inexplicable collision on 10 February 1964 between Melbourne and Voyager. By the time Cabban made the tape recording for Vice-Admiral Hickling in January 1965, he had become convinced that the

disaster in Act 3 was the outcome of a sequence of events which began with him as a central figure in Act 1. His involvement was emotional rather th an rational. He was in great difficulties in trying to explain to us why the evidence he had, but did not give, at the First Voyager Commission had any relevance to the events of the night of 10 February 1964. The extent to which his emotional involvement warped his judgment is plainly manifest from the grossly extravagant terms in

which he wrote to Mr Jess on 10 August 1966 (Exhibit No. 48). Although his tendency to dramatise situations we think did not lead him consciously to make false statements, we fo rmed the clear opinion that some of the statements made in the 'Cabban Statement' and in the course of his evidence were not the product of his actual recollection, bu t were th e product of his reconstruction in which impression and a desire to fi t specific incidents into an assumed pattern of behaviour played a large part. We have in our findings of fact in Section 2 of Part E referred to several instances of what we believe to be

reconstructions of this kind. We wo uld also refer to evidence of certai n conversa­ tions between Cabban and others contemporaneous with some of the events of the cruise, where we have had no hesitation in rejecting Cabban's version. Perhaps the most important of these conversations as a test of Cabban's reliability and as indicative of his tendency after a long lapse of time to reconstruct events to accord with his general impression of Captain Stevens' behaviour and condition, is his account of his conversation with Comm ander Irwin after the luncheon on

Rothesay. Commander Irwin was a witness in whom we fe lt we could place complete reliance. He was positive that he did not tell Cabban that Captai n Place and the other captains were 'disgu sted with Captain Stevens' behaviour' or that he (Irwin) had to prevail upon the other captai ns to allow Captain Stevens to remain on Rothesay instead of sending him back to Voyager. Apart from our impression of Commander Irwin's frankness and honesty it is most im probable th at he woul d have said anything of the kind. The plain fact is th at Captain Stevens was com­ pletely sober when he went to the luncheon and left the table because he was genuinely unwell. It is inconceivable that this incident would have caused his

fellow captains to express 'disgust' or to contemplate sendi ng him back to Voyager without giving him the opportunity to lie do wn in a cabin on R othesay to recover. This we regard as a case where looking at the incident in retrospect in the back­ ground of his general impressions, Cabban has reconstructed it and convinced himself that it was a piece of disgusting conduct on the part of Captain Stevens. There is no material on which we could make a positive finding whether or not a signal of the type referred to in the 'Cabban St atement' was sent from Rothesay.

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We think it unlikely that Cabban invented it. But, assuming it was sent, it was probably facetious and Cabban jumped to the conclusion there had been a repetition of the conduct at the birthday dinner. A less glaring instance of the same kind of thing is Cabban's version of his conversation with Captain Loxton after his train journey with Captain Stevens

from Sydney to Melbourne. Captain Loxton we accept as an honest and reliable witness. He told us quite frankly about the number of brandies he and Captain Stevens consumed during the train journey. But he was certain that be did not tell Cabban that Captain Stevens had 'knocked off a bottle of brandy on the train', or that he said, 'Your Captain will be no good to you today because of

all he drank yesterday'. We do not believe Captain Loxton would have said this. No doubt he made some reference to their drinking on the train. This we regard as another instance of reconstruction but not of conscious invention. We do not stay to give further examples. Those we have given are sufficient for our purpose.

In the result we regard Cabban as an unreliable but not as a dishonest witness. When we say he is an unreliable witness we refer rather to those parts of his evidence which involve his assessment of Captain Stevens' behaviour and condition or his judgment of a situation rath er than to those parts of his evidence relating

to specific incidents. In many instances indeed he emerged as an entirely reliable witness on detailed objective facts. Notwithstanding however that we do not believe that Cabban at an y point of his evidence deliberately lied to us or deliberately invented incidents which did

noz take place, we had (in the light of the foregoing considerations) insufficient confidence in his reliability as a witness to accept his evidence on most matters unless it was satisfactorily corroborated. Having said that, it is fair to reiterate that much of his evidence as to specific incidents was in the event satisfactorily

corroborated.

SECTIO 5-REVIEW OF FiNDINGS OF PRIMARY FACTS

The grave error into which anyone engaged in this Inquiry or anyone who has read the widespread publicity given to the 'Cabban Statement' and the Parlia­ mentary debates and the proceedings of this Commission, is likely to fall , is to view Captain Stevens as a man who in 1963 was continually imbibing alcoholic

liquor: as a man who by constantly drinking brandy and water was generally affected to some degree by alcohol and on many occasions was either verging upon intoxication or was actually intoxicated and, in consequence, to see him as a naval officer who was unable, by virture of his addiction to drink, to carry out

the important duties of his office. The mistake is, perhaps, a natural one to make for the reason that the 'Cabban Statement' which was the mainspring of the Parliamentary debates and of this Commission would, as we have earlier pointed out, strongly tend to drive a reader to the view that on the cruise of the Voyager

to the Far East in 1963 Captain Stevens was a chronic alcoholic, and the temptation is then open to associate the navigational incidents, also recounted by Cabban in his statement, with an alcoholic state. When both these aspects of the 'Cabban Statement' are followed by what appeared to be an inexplicable

disaster in the shape of the collision of Voyager (whilst under the command of Captain Steve ns) with Melbourne and evidence appeared in the Royal Commission conducted by Sir John Spicer of the Captain consuming a 'triple brandy' on the evening of 10 February 1964, attraction to the opinion that the late Captain

Stevens was an alcoholic in the generally accepted sense becomes difficult to

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resist. With respect to others, we have not the slightest doubt after hearin g th e mass of evid ence we have in this Inquiry that it is a view which must be rejected enLrely. It is a view which possibly cannot be maintained in the face of the over­ whelm ing eridence that Captain Stevens did not drink at all at sea during 1963.

(a period wh ich occupied approximately 98 days out of 184 on the Far E as tern cruise) and that of the remaining 86 days of the cruise, after a m ost searching inquiry, there are only three occasions when the ship was in harbour on which it can be found that he showed objective signs of intoxication. Throughout th e cruise the ship under his command at sea performed everything demanded of it

under the eyes of Rear-A dmiral Sea/chard, R .l\ ., R ear-Admiral McNicol!, Captain Willis and other senior Naval officers; and over the remainder of 1963 from 3 August 1963 to the end of the year and in 1964 up to and including I 0 February 1964 there is no evidence that Captain Stevens was adversely affected by alcohol.

The disease which dogged Captain Stevens was not addiction to drink, but a weakness of the duodenum, and the latter (plainly from the evidence which we have cited) existed in his youth and stayed with him throughout his naval career and developed in 1959 into the duodenal ulcer which put him ashore into hospital and on sick leave for approximately six months. We have already pointed out that from that time until the commencement of 1963 he was never free of the symptoms of a possible reactivation. In the years 1960-62 he appears not have been undul.i troubled but that was because the nature of his work and home life provided con­

ditions which were very favourable to keeping his inherent problem in check. We have explained why we believe that the rapid and complete change in his circum­ stances from the commencement of 1963 served, as that year progressed, to regenerate into greater activity what in the previous three years had been for the most part a quiescent affair of the body.

What part then did alcohol play in the events of the period covered by the 'Cabban Statement' ? Captain Stevens resumed drinking liquor at the latter end of 1962. The evi dence which is compelling from a wide variety of witnesses whom we accept, is that his habit was to drink brandy and water and to take about half an inch more or less of the spirit in a large tumbler filled with water and ice. Some witnesses described him as taking 'thin' drinks. It was generally deposed

to that he consumed this type of drink slowly. Captain G. J. Willis, whose evidence we found convincing, said that Captain Stevens made a point of regulating the amount of brandy whether it was poured by a steward or by himself and described him as a 'moderate drinker'. This type of evidence received confirmation from many other witnesses. We accept this to be the general drinking habit of Captain Stevens. No exception could be taken to it by anyone except those wedded to teetotal principles, and we venture to think that no medical man could find in such a habit of drinking the cause of illness in a man who was in a physical condi­ tion of good health. But Captain Stevens could not be said to be such a man. Whilst he continued to lead an existence which was sheltered from all those factors which tend to exacerbate an 'ulcer condition', doubtless he could accommodate himself to the intake of reasonable quantities of alcohol as was perhaps the case in 1960-62 in England. But, once he undertook active command of the Voyager and subjected himself to the long hours of work with broken rest, to the strain of responsibility in a sphere from which he had been for some years absent, to difficulties with diet and to the anxieties and tensions born of a pressing desire to succeed, the drinking of brandy was merely adding a further element to the agents which were already present and working for the reactivation of his ulcer. Whilst modern medical science does not absolutely prohibit alcohol in the case of an ulcer patient, it insists that it be taken in moderate quantities with food or milk

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in the stomach before the alcohol is taken or very shortly thereafter. Captain Stevens, upon the evidence, certainly did not confine his drinking to these restricted occasions. He was a warm, friendly, gregarious man who obviously liked to 'go along' with his fellow men by social drinking at official and private parties. We have

no doubt it was most difficult for him to discipline his drinking to the very moderate amount that his unfortunate ulcer condition required.

Then added to this is the fact that as the cruise progressed Captain Stevens increased his intake of liquor on the ship while she was in port, by slowly con­ suming brandy and water in the late forenoons and afternoons on various occasions. Later still, at least once or twice, be added brandy to his coffee at breakfast and

we have the instances of him drinking brandy after the steam baths in Tokyo. Without the advantage of Captain Stevens' own evidence we can only infer why he drank brandy on these occasions; but from the evidence of other witnesses who knew him well and with the aid of common knowledge we have no difficulty in

drawing the inference that he drank the brandy for the purpose of allaying pain or discomfort in his stomach. Brandy for such a purpose is a common layman's remedy for stomach upsets. Belief in this cure by many people was confirmed by Sir William Morrow. Intake of fluid does appear to dilute the acid in the stomach and relieves pain temporarily, according to Sir William who, however,

pointed out that the brandy would only serve to exacerbate the ulcer in the end. Thus, as frequently as be bad recourse to brandy as an alleviant of his pain, be may have succeeded in his purpose as a temporary measure, but only at the expense of ultimate aggravation.

At this point we pause to consider the position of Captain Stevens who was upon the horns of a dilemma. Undoubtedly with his past medical history he was well aware of the danger to his career if he suffered a serious reactivation of his duodenal ulcer. He had after three years ashore just taken up command of a destroyer in his newly promoted rank of Captain. As Rear-Admiral McNiccll

pointed out, if it had become known to the Naval Board that Captain Stevens had bad a reactivation of his ulcer and that he had failed to report it, he would have lost his command at once: and if he did report it to the Board and was placed in the category of 'unfit for sea service', he would, generally speaking, be deprived of any further chance of promotion until he had established himself as fully cured. With the fact of one definitely diagnosed duodenal ulcer so recently

behind him which had already cost him seniority in the service, the diagnosis of its reactivation at the inception of his captaincy would have been greatly detri­ mental to him in the career which he preferred above all else, and in which he was so anxious to succeed to the uttermost. He had started upon a journey in

Voyager which he could not relinquish wi thout losin g not onl y his immediate command but also the prospect of any further service at sea; and a sea-going command would appear to have been the most favourable for the naval career of Captain Stevens. That be entertained thoughts upon these lines is not

to be denied. Although on 13 February 1963 (see Section 1, Part E) he informed Commander Lancaster that he was having stomach trouble, be claimed to Surgeon­ Lieutenant Tiller on 12 February 1963, the day of his annual medical examina­ tion, that he was fit and well and, whilst that is a possibility, we think that it is

more probable than not that, if not on that day, at some time shortly prior to it, symptoms were present in him. By the beginning of April 1963 when V a yager was in Hong Kong, the condition of Captain Stevens' health bad seriously deteriorated. He had had periodical severe pains and vomiting attacks and was

taking amphogel in large doses. Yet he had not consulted or complained to Tiller but waited until he could see his old friend Surgeon-Commander McNeill whom

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he knew would be in Hong Kong on board H.M.A.S. Melbourne. Later in this Report (under Question 2 (a)-see Part F) we conclude that McNeill failed to report the condition of Captain Stevens which he disclosed to McNeill and this could have only come about at the request, express or implied, of Captain Stevens. We

have in Section 2 of Part E referred to Captain Stevens failure in Punishment Record No. 107 (relating to Allan Leslie Hayles) to disclose that the continual delay in hearing a Defaulters Parade after the second visit to Singapore was due to his illness. Despite his successive illnesses in Tokyo which compelled him to leave certain functions and avoid another, again Captain Stevens himself did not consult or complain to Tiller who only saw Captain Stevens after Captain Willis had sent for Tiller and raised the question of his health with the ship's medical officer.

The reason why no medical report was made by Tiller on this occasion is dealt with by us when we discuss this incident in detail in relation to Question 2 (a). On this occasion, Tiller advised complete abstention from alcohol, and from this point in the cruise until the return to Sydney, Captain Stevens either entirely or virtually entirely gave up drinking liquor. But upon his return to Sydney on

3 August 1963 he resumed his habit of moderate drinking, passing beyond the limits of moderation, so far as is known, on one occasion only, namely in the Melbourne Express in the company of Captain Loxton on 1 December 1963 on the return journey to Williamstown after the court martial of Captain Dovers. Even at Williamstown it is apparent that Captain Stevens was still concerned not

to disclose to Naval authorities that he was ill. We have referred in Section 2 of Part E to his failure in Punishment Record No. 280 (relating to Peter William Dusting) to disclose the true reason for the delay in holding a Defaulters Parade (i.e. that be was too ill to bold one).

That Captain Stevens also 'played down' the real state of his health even when he consulted Sir William Morrow on 23 September 1963 is beyond question. Sir William described the Captain on this occasion as '. (v)ery diffident about any symptoms' (p. 1053). He said that he was reticent and did not speak freely and that he '. (h)ad to pluck the information' (p. 1072) out of the Captain. So far as the Far Eastern cruise was concerned, Captain Stevens told him very little about it at all. Sir William said with reference to the Captain's remark 'I drink

at times too much on shore'. '. I must admit that the exact significance of that was not quite apparent to me as it is now• (p. 4508). When Sir William asked him bow his health had been over the last few weeks or months, Captain Stevens replied to the effect that it had been reasonably good; but Sir William stated that had he known of some of the episodes which have been di sclosed in evidence he would have been more strict in the advice which he gave to the Captain (p. 4519).

The problem which has confronted us is the relation of the drinking habits of Captain Stevens, as we have found them to be, to the occasions of illness from 31 January 1963 to 1 December 1963. To aid us in this difficult task we have had the benefit of very highly qualified medical evidence. The question, however,

cannot be resolved by looking only at the facts as and from 31 January 1963. We must again remind ourselves of the Captain's long history of pre-disposition to ulcer which culminated in the definite diagnosis when he was compelled to leave his position as Executive Officer of Melbourne in May 1959 and of the dictum to which Sir William Morrow subscribed-'once an ulcer, always an ulcer'. It is impossible at this point of time for us, and, we think, equally impossible for medical specialists to assess correctly the effect upon his stomach condition of what has been described as his habit of drinking moderately which he resumed late in

1959; except to say that alcohol can be a factor in ulcer reactivation and that

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Captain Stevens would more likely than not have been better off as a total abstainer. But, as we have pointed out, the period from the end of 1959 to the end of 1962 was one in which the threat of reactivation was able to be warded off in the absence of any other causes of exacerbation. By 31 January 1963 the circumstances had completely changed; it was no longer a restful situation and Captain Stevens continued, in harbour, to take his liquor as before and, as the cruise proceeded, to increase the number of occasions upon which he drank.

We now turn to the particular periods of illness during the cruise. All of these need not be dealt with in this Section in any detail, but perhaps some reference may be made to Captain Stevens being turned in for twenty-four hours ex-Sydney, because it is the first period and has been ascribed to an old-standing tendency to seasickness after an absence from the sea. The January 1963 Report of Proceedings, however, reveals that between 16 January-24 January 1963 Captain Stevens had spent in excess of nineteen hours at sea as part of the working-up programme of Voyager in preparation for the cruise and should have had ample

opportunity to find his 'sea-legs' for the commencement of the voyage on 31 January 1963. We think that even at this stage, it was more probable than not, that the intensive preparations for the cruise coupled with the various farewells , had brought some discomfort to a delicate stomach.

We proceed now to deal with those occasions on which it was suggested that the Captain was intoxicated.

(1) 23 March 1963-Captain's Birthday Party

We have found that when the Captain entered the wardroom on the evening of his birthday he was moderately intoxicated. A summary of the medical history of Captain Stevens, an outline of the material facts relating to the 1963 cruise of Voyager (including a statement of the relevant facts leading up to and at the birth­

day dinner), were submitted for the opinion of Sir William Morrow. We authorised him to employ such other specialist professional assistance as he considered reasonably necessary for the purpose of giving his opinion. Accepting the fact that Captain Stevens may have taken a good deal of alcohol during the day on 23 March 1963, Sir William Morrow expressed the view that '. (t)he sudden

alteration in his condition seems unlikely to have been due to alcohol alone. It is much more suggestive that the sudden occurrence of pain, or nausea with pain, would have produced this alteration in his conduct'. (Report of Sir William Morrow dated 19 October 1967). Sir William was recalled and verified his opinion on oath. He said that, if he had been called upon to examine Captain Stevens that evening, he would have ascertained whether there was tenderness in the upper abdomen and

he would have asked the Captain whether he was suffering any pain because pain is highly symptomatic, the outstanding symptom, of a duodenal ulcer diagnosis. Pain is unusual in gastritis which is an inflammatory condition of the mucous membrane of the stomach as distinct from the bowel. Alcohol rarely causes abdominal pain unless there is considerable involvement of the liver or pancreas and there was no evidence to suggest that either of these organs was overtly

involved. Sir William also said that the sudden physical alteration in Captain Stevens would have made him suspicious of something other than alcohol. Unfortunately, no one, including Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller, thought to ask the Captain whether he was in pain. Sir William thought the circumstances related of that night regarding the very sudden change in the Captain's demeanour at the dinner table to that which he evinced when he entered the wardroom, were to be

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explained on the basis of either severe pain or nausea caused by his ulcer condition. We agree with this assessment of the position. We disagree with the suggestion that the Captain 'passed out' because he was drunk. Why he had taken enough drink on that day even to bring him to a state of elation and mild intoxication is a most important question. As he knew he was being done a most unusual honour on that evening and was a man of punctilious manners and experienced with alcohol, it seems doubtful whether the suggestion of birthday celebratory drinking is a com­ pletely satisfactory explanation. It may have commenced in that fashion and so

accelerated a worsening of his stomach condition which undoubtedly had existed at that stage for some weeks; and he may have taken further drink in the hope of negotiating the evening successfully. The remark 'Come on No. 1, let's get this thing started' lends some colour to this theory. We think that these observations should be borne in mind in justification of the late Captain.

(2) 13 May 1963-Party on Vo yager to British Army Group and other guests.

We have found this to be a case of mild intoxication. To be present in such a state in front of guests and especially with untidy clothing is completely out of keeping with the character of Captain Stevens who, as Cabban and all other witnesses have agreed, was punctili ous in his manners and immaculate in his dress. We find it difficult to explain this on the basis that the Captain just wilfull y or carelessly drank too much liquor without cause. It is worth remarking that this was the day on which Voyager arrived in Hong Kong on its second visit to that port. Captain Stevens had been engaged in a fifty-ship, five-navy exercise day and night continuously between 1 May and 9 May which Rear-Admiral McNicoll has

descri bed as 'a severe test of skill and stamina of each ship taking part'. There · was only, over the whole period, one four-hours break and during the period the convoy group was the subject of intensive attacks of all types. This was the SEATO exercise (Sea Serpent) . It was followed by a post-exercise critique at

which Captai n Stevens attended with hi s specialist officers. This was immediately followed by further exercises at sea on 10 May-13 May 1963 with six British naval ships (including the flag ship H .M.S. Hermes) , H.M.N.Z.S. Royalist and· H.M.A.S. Vampire, and these exercises were only broken off to enable the ships to proceed to Hong Kong at which Voyager arrived at 12.30 p.m. on the day of the party. We have elsewhere described the grea t strain put upon a destroyer captain when his ship is exercising, havi ng regard to absence of rest, broken and inadequate meals, long hours of tense and concentrated work etc. This exten­ sive period of exercising must have been the most strenuous stretch of sea-activity

for Captain Stevens throughout the entire voyage and it stands to reason that, when Voyager was secured to a buoy in Hong Kong Harbour at 12.30 p.m. that day, Captain Stevens would have been an extremely tired man even if he had been a thoroughly fit person. What his physical condition then was after his successive periods of illness and severe stomach pains since the middle of February 1963, is not difficult to imagine. Ulcer pain is productive of fatigue and, as Sir William Morrow in the course of his evidence pointed out, any man who is fatigued , from whatever cause, is much more open to the effect of alcohol than a person who is not; and it is undoubted that a man who is fatigued is affected by alcohol much more quickly. On his arrival, Captain Stevens would have had many matters to attend to relating to the business of the ship; and the party in question com­ menced at approximately 6.30 p.m. according to Mr. Liebenschutz. In the absence of Captain Stevens himself we would be unable to take the matter further; but on the uncontradicted evidence of the activities in which he took part over the preceding twelve and a half days, reasons are not wanting which could account

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fo r wnat transpired that afternoon. Yet, as the only man who could give the facts in his own favour is dead, we are left with a situation in which it can only be explique mais <;a n'excuse pas.

( 3) 16 May 1963-Luncheon on H.M.S. Rothesay

Sir William Morrow who was made acquainted with the facts, thought that this episode was explicable on the basis of a sudden onset of nausea or pain. We have found that alcohol played no part at all here and we agree with the opinion expressed by Sir William. (Report of Sir William Morrow dated 19 October 1967.)

(4) Captain Dollard's Buffet Party-7 Jun e 1963

The facts of this function (prior to the evidence of Squadron Leader Farrelly and the evidence of Captain Dollard, when recalled) were submitted to Sir William Morrow who, in his written opinion, expressed the view that while alcohol could have been held to be responsible, but again the probability of nausea, or nausea

plus pain due to ulcer cannot be excluded. In his conclusion Sir William said: 'From the balance of probabilities it would seem that an active duodenal ulcer could account for most of the occurrences described. On some occasions alcohol seems to have played a part, not because of excessive intake, but because alcohol

unless taken in small quantities together with food undoubtedly stimulates gastric secretion, leading to pain in a duodenal ulcer sufferer.' (Report of Sir William Morrow dated 19 October 1967.)

We have no doubt that on this occasion Captain Stevens was a very tired man and far from well. We do not think that when he arrived at Captain Dollard's home he was affected by liquor in the sense that he was showing objective signs of it. We think that the drink which he took during the various events of that day and evening did, however, adversely react upon his ulcer condition and his fatigue. The happening at the dinner table and his departure bear a striking

resemblance to what took place at the wardroom dinner on 23 March 1963. We take this also to be the opinion of Sir William Morrow. We think that Captain Stevens was overcome by fatigue , nausea, and perhaps pain due to his 'ulcer con­ dition'.

(5) Captain Dollard's Picnic-S June 1963

The facts of this day were submitted to Sir William Morrow and during his evidence it was suggested to him that Captain Stevens bad bad the brandies following upon a steam bath on that morning, instead of the previous morning. Sir William thought that this episode was explicable on the grounds of an ac tive ulcer and that was and is our own view.

( 6) Jamieson Restaurant Dinner-6 or 9 June 1963

Jamieson stated that this dinner at the Gaslight Restaurant was held on Thursday, 6 June 1963 afte r the cocktail party at Captain Dollard's home. Captain Dollard, however, was positive that it was held on the evening of Sunday, 9 June 1963. As we have already said, both men were honest witnesses and both

had excellent reasons for fixing the date. On the assumption that the dinner took place on 9 June 1963 the facts of thi s affair were submitted to Sir William Morrow and he expressed the opinion: 'Sudden nausea due to his ulcer, with added fatigue, would be an adequate explanation of this occurrence'. (Report of Sir

William Morrow dated 19 October 1967.)

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Whatever the date, the substantial facts are not really in dispute. The events at the restaurant dinner table strongly resemble the essential features of the ward­ room dinner on 23 March 1963 and the buffet dinner on 7 June 1963. Jamieson did say that Captain Stevens was 'showing the effects of lots of drinks' but he did not know of Captain Stevens' ulcer condition. He agreed that on leaving the restaurant Captain Stevens got up and walked out without assistance. He said 'he left it in good order'.

We do not think that Captain Stevens was unduly affected by the liquor itself on this occasion. We think that his behaviour was caused by the condition of hi s ulcer and fatigue. We are of opinion that what was observed in relation to Captain Stevens was once more a sudden nausea, possibly coupled with pain, due to an ulcer reactivation caused by a semi-exhausted state; and this was the culmination of a number of factors which we have earlier discussed in relation to the cruise of the Voyager. The prime cause of what occurred was the duodenal ulcer con­ dition and drink was one of the various agents of its exacerbation.

By Tokyo the cruise had been in operation just over four months and the health of Captain Stevens reached a climax during the Voyager's visit to that port. The Captain's physical condition had deteriorated to a stage which prevented him from 'seeing through' some functions which he felt obliged to attend or which , however unwisely, he stubbornly 'fought his illness' in order to attend. The events of the last day in Tokyo before departure (Sunday) when both Captain Willis and Tiller saw Captain Stevens we have earlier described in detail. The effects of rest and relief from the pace of the voyage up to Tokyo are reflected in some improvement on the voyage home. Nevertheless, Captain Stevens was still a very tired man on reaching Sydney on 3 August 1963.

There is one further occasion during the cruise on which it is alleged that Captain Stevens was slightly affected by alcohol. The precise date is unknown but it was during the first visit by Voyager to Hong Kong, i.e. between 29 March and 15 April 1963. Lieutenant Martin saw Captain Stevens in his cabin after the Captain had done some shopping and he invited Martin and his wife, who were passing the cabin, to inspect his purchases and to have a drink with him. This was some time between 5 p.m.-6.30 p.m. Martin said that he was '.

(a)ffected in a fairly small way be was not quite as steady in speech

or step as usual' (p. 1161). The date being unidentifiable, it is impossible to take this matter further. The Captain's doings and movements cannot be traced and the state of his health cannot be discovered.

SECTION 6-CONCLUSIONS UPON THE ISSUE OF UNFITNESS TO RETAIN COMMAND OF VOYAGER. ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 OF THE TERMS OF REFERENCE

We have concluded that Captain Stevens had been since a very young man prone to 'ulcer trouble'. In 1959 be had a severe attack of illness and a duodenal ulcer was then definitely and beyond question diagnosed. At the end of a period of six months during which be bad adhered to a very strict regimen and was either in hospital or on sick leave he returned for a short period of active duty. He then resumed the moderate consumption of alcohol, he endeavoured to keep to a bland diet, he drank a lot of milk and from time to time had recourse to amphogel. During the years 1959-1962 Captain Stevens remained on shore duty in England with and under the care of his wife. He could have appropriate food, regular

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meals· and unbroken rest. It may be inferred that the nature of his work was relatively easy contrasted with that of a destroyer captain. Nevertheless, he was not entirely free of symptoms.

On 2 January 1963 his life changed from a comparatively restful line of duty and mode of living to the pressures of organising H.M.A.S. Voyager and its crew of 300 in preparations and exercises for what has been termed a 'Far Eastern Operational Cruise'. This is a euphemistic expression for a lengthy voyage which

imposed upon Captain Stevens the responsibilities of the command of a unit in the Commonwealth Strategic Reserve, the performance of frequent ship exercises for long periods at sea in combination with other R.A.N. and R.N. naval vessels, the discharge of many obligatory official functions at each port of call carrying

with them the necessity of fulfilling social duties on ship and on shore befitting his rank. In addition he was at all times responsible for the safety of his ship, officers and crew and the over-all administration of all that appertained to the operation of the ship and the health and efficiency of all those who sailed in her. This

state of affairs constantly exposed a man who was vulnerable to a chronic condition of duodenal ulcer and who had never been entirely free of its primary symptoms si nce 1960, to those factors (quite apart from the irritant of alcohol) which can reacti vate a duodenal ulcer, namely, unsuitable foods, irregular meals, broken

rest, strain and anxiety. To these may be added a burden of work, long hours an d the execution of sea-going duties which he had not experienced for three years. Finally, it may be pointed out that this was his first command in his new rank of Captain and it was his most important command; and to a man for whom success in the higher echelons of the navy may not have been easy to achieve

but who was most anxious for it, the tenseness and impatience, natural to his character, is not to be overlooked. There is not the slightest evidence that Captain Stevens was directly affected by alcohol until his birthday dinner in the wardroom on 23 March 1963. Yet it is established that be was ill on board and 'turned in' for the first period of twenty­ four hours after clearing Sydney on 31 January 1963, that he was ill and confined

to his cabin for a period in all of about two days some time after 25 February 1963 when his ship left Singapore Harbour on the expiration of its first visit there and whilst on its way to Trincomalee, and that he was again ill some time between 19 and 21 March 1963 at Singapore. We also have the evidence of Commander Lancaster, which we accept, that his stomach was giving him trouble on the even­ ing of 13 February 1963, when the cruise was only fourteen days old. On 21 March 1963, after Voyager had spent all told approximately three weeks in the

ports of Singapore and Trincomalee and had carried out over some weeks a com­ prehensive exercise programme with H.M.A.S. Vampire and with Royal Navy Ships, Captain Stevens voluntarily expressed apprehension of the possible effect on his stomach condition of the wardroom dinner to be given to him by his officers on the occasion of his birthday on 23 March 1963.

On not one of these occasions of illness prior to 23 March 1963 is there any suggestion of associated excessive consumption of liquor and on none of them could his illness be attributed to alcohol itself apart from the impact which it, along with other matters, may generally have bad upon his health. The conclusion

is irresistible that even at this very early stage of the six months' journey of Voyager to the Far East, the physical health of Captain Stevens had revealed itself as unable to withstand the burdens of his command which were to increase with the progress of the cruise. It is impossible for us to say with certainty in 1967

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whether Captain Stevens would have sustained some reactivation of his ulcer by 21 March 1963 by reason only of the factors (apart from alcohol ) to which we have referred above. We are inclined to the opinion that such would have been the case, but we conclude that alcohol, consumed as it was at this stage, only in moderation, must be presumed to have been one of the irritants of the condition which continued to beset him in the Far East from time to time and in varying degrees of intensity. We have discussed above in detail the occasions on which be is alleged to have been adversely affected by alcohol. These are extremely few in number over a period of eleven months from the end of January 1963 to the end of December 1963; and fewer still are established as true. Cabban does not assert that Captain Stevens was an habitual drunkard; his claim in his evidence is that Captain Stevens was intoxicated on several particular occasions. We feel that Captain Stevens, in addition to drinking on social occasions, very frequently fol­ lowed the course (which Sir William Morrow stated was followed by many people) of drinking brandy and water as an alleviant of his ulcer pain because the dilution of the acid contents of the stomach gives temporary relief although the end result is an exacerbation. For a destroyer captain, on active command and without a

medical specialist's knowledge, to obtain relief in barbour from acute pain to enable the performance of duties which cannot be postponed, may be understandable and may account for the consumption in his day cabin of brandies taken with ice and a lot of water in a tall glass of which so many of the witnesses have spoken .

But, whilst the intake of alcohol in very moderate quantities in conjunction with the consumption of milk or an appropriate meal may not, as the medical specialists agree, be forbidden to a chronic duodenal ulcer sufferer; nevertheless the frequent drinking of alcohol, either on social occasions or for the purpose of relieving pain, and under conditions of work which we have already described , can only result ultimately in the coupling of a further irritant to the other factors which would appear, almost inevitably, to reactivate the ulcer symptoms. This, we think, is the true picture of the late Captain Stevens. We believe that he was

never really free of his 'ulcer condition' and, when he reached the various Eastern ports after the stresses of his command at sea and entered upon the business of the ship in port and the rigours of the official and social rounds, he drank alcohol, either as an alleviant or through a mistaken sense of social obligation, when be was in no state to do so, with the consequence that he further aggravated symptoms which had already made their appearance or activated symptoms wh ich were never full y dormant in the medical sense. Accordingly, we conclude that alcohol was to thi s extent one of the causative factors of the illnesses which from tim e to time affected th e late Captain Stevens as de scribed by us above.

Upon the whole of the Jay evidence in this Inquiry we were minded to arrive at this finding for ourselves but we were given valuable assistance from a body of highly qualified expert medical evidence. Of this expert evidence we preferred to accept that of Sir William Morrow to whom certain of the major incidents were referred for his opinion upon assumptions of fact. Sir William was authorised to consult with such other medical experts as he thought fit, and he did obtain

a written opinion from Dr Stanley M. Goulston, the Physician-in-Charge of the Gastroenterology Department at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney.

As a result of his consideration of the problems presented to him , Sir William expressed the view that the balance of probabilities indicated that an active duodenal ulcer could account for most of the occurrences described. He thought that on some occasions alcohol appeared to have played a part, not because the

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excessive intake, but because the impact of alcohol (taken as Captain Stevens consumed it) reactivated his 'ulcer condition'. It was urged upon us that the ill­ nesses of Captain Stevens were no more than gastritis. We have earlier discussed some aspects of the symtomatology of duodenal ulcer and gastritis and we are

satisfied that his troubled health was caused by reactivations of a duodenal ulcer, and this conclusion is that of both Sir William and Dr Goulston. With some slight differences which are not material, our findings of fact in relation to the episodes in which alcohol is involved substantially accord with the factual assump­

tions submitted to Sir William Morrow; and his written opinion, substantiated by that of Dr Goulston, lends strong support to the findings of fact which we have made. It may be asked whether there is any inconsistency in the diagnosis of Sir William Morrow, when he was consulted by the late Captain Stevens on

2 3 September 1963, that there were no signs of an active ulcer with the find ings that both before and after that date, namely on the cruise between 31 January 1963 and 3 August 1963 and in December 1963 Captain Stevens did have a reacti­ vated ulcer condition. That there is no such inconsistency is made clear by all the medical experts. We have previously drawn attention to that characteristic of a duodenal ulcer of waxing and waning; it may enter a very bad cycle for a period

of a month and later become quiescent again ; it can pass from the active to the non-active stage very quickly.

Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans stated that the Navy had no objection to a naval officer with a healed duodenal ulcer being certified fit for duties anywhere. It is a fair inference from his evidence that there have been officers of the rank of the late Captain Stevens satisfactorily carrying out duties similar to those which

he performed who had previously been diagnosed as having a duodenal ulcer. On the other hand Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans said that the captain of a destroyer who was shown to be suffering from an acute duodenal ulcer would immediately be relieved of his command, as in that condition be would not be fit for sea duties. He explained: 'I don't think be would be in a very fit state to put his whole effort

into his job. He would certainly stand the risk of complications such as haemorr­ hage or perforations. It does require a complete period of complete rest that he could not possibly have obtained in command of the ship' (p. 1133). He stated that, if it were established that a certain captain had an active clinical ulcer, be

would spend about 6 weeks in hospital for treatment and be downgraded for shore service only for a period of probably 12 months. At the end of this period '. . (i)t would be open whether he could be upgraded again for full duty

or not' (p. 1132). By 'open' Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans undoubtedly intended to convey that the question of upgrading to full duty would depend upon the result of medical investigation. Surgeon-Commander Haughton gave this evidence: Q. Supposing that the ulcer had healed: what category would he be put in then?

A. It is not so much supposing the ulcer had healed; it is the length of time it had healed. If the ulcer had healed completely and had been symptomless for. say, two years I would recommend that he go on Category A. [p. 1033]

Category A is the classification for full duties.

The evidence just cited from the naval medical men is very relevant to the case of the late Captain Stevens in that in 1959, his period in hospital and of sick leave lasted in all barely 6 months when he returned for a short term of sea duty. Although he then had a period of 3 years on shore duty, he continued

throughout to retain primary ulcer symptoms and, except for one routine medical examination in 1960 in England, he did not undergo any medical investigation

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from the end of 1959 until an annual medical examination on board Voyager at sea on 12 February 1963 by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller who, though possessing the medical history of the Captain up to the commencement of 1960, was not informed af the fact that he had not been symptom-free during the intervening

years.

When asked about the procedures for periodic checks on the health of a captain of a naval vessel, Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans said: 'He undergoes his annual medical examination and the medical officer, of course, has to rely upon the captain telling him any symptoms and if he considers all is not well he will refer him to a specialist for an opinion. Even without an officer doing this the medical officer frequently refers a captain whom he knows has a history like this', i.e. like the medical history of Captain Stevens, 'to a specialist just for a check-up'. It appears to us that it is more likely than not that, if Captain Stevens

had been so examined during his term of shore service in England during 1960-62 and had disclosed the symptoms which he was then displaying and which com­ pelled him to have frequent recourse to milk and amphogel despite his wife's care for his diet, he would have been directed to undergo a more extensive and intensive period of treatment and rest before he would have been regarded as fit for an active sea command.

We have already referred with approval to Mr Samuels, Q.C.'s citation to us a summary of a statment on the topic of 'fitness in command' the author of which we understand was an admiral in the Royal Navy. It will be recalled that the criteria were: (1) Physical fitness, sound sight and bearing, alertness and endurance and the absence of any debilitating diseases or chronic defect; (2) mental fitness, alertness and endurance, ability to think soundly in face of emergency,

ability to think accurately during any phase of command; (3) professional fitness, i.e. knowledge of a highly specialised job and bow to execute it to a high level of efficiency; (4) a high standard of behaviour in manners, integrity, self-discipline and appearance consistent with the occasion; and (5) the quality of leadership

(pp. 5360-1). We would be prepared to accept the foregoing as a satisfactory definition of fitness to command. During the course of the evidence of Rear-Admiral McNicoll a hypothetical case was put to him which contained factual assumptions in relation to the Captain of H.M.A.S. Voyager which in substance accords with the facts as we have in this report found them to be as at 3 August 1963 (the day of the ship's return to Sydney) and, upon the supposition that those facts were regarded as established to the satisfaction of the Naval Board, the Admiral was asked what view would be taken as to the Captain's fitness to retain sea-going command. We quote in full his reply:

I think his medical fitness would be in grave doubt and the first thing to do would be to medically board him, a thorough medical board. If the medical board were to say that there is nothing congenitally or organically wrong with the captain, and that all his contretemps which were under investigation could not readily be attributed to sickness, then one would have to consider disciplinary action and regard them as purely disciplinary offences. I think in the sum total, and taking into account that the ship was going into five months refit and there was no question of her going to sea,

he would probably be relieved as convenient during the currency of that refit, assuming all these facts proven as stated. [p. 3863]

Rear-Admiral McNicoll agreed with the proposition that in the foreseeable future Australian warships will continue to cruise into the Far East waters. He was then asked a further question on the basis that alcohol was left completely out of

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accotl'nt. This question pre-supposed that purely because of the physical state of a captain he was unable to 'stay the course' in cruises in Far East waters by reason of the strain put upon him by the exigencies of his position, the official calls, the food and the like in the Far East. Rear-Admiral McNicoll was asked whether in

those circumstances there would be any place for such a captain in command of any sea-going ship in the Royal Australian Navy. We quote the Admiral's reply: My own personal view is this. We are at war, and if you are unable physically to stand the pace of one of these cruises in Tokyo, and it is very severe indeed, I think

he would by inference not be tough enough to stand the pace of war, and therefore, at a suitable opportunity I think you would replace him by someone else, not necessarily tomorrow, but when the ship returned to port, when she settled down into refit or something like that, without any stigma at all.

In view of the evidence just cited of Rear-Admiral McNicoll and that of Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans to which we have elsewhere in this report made reference, we do not think that we are trespassing upon the functions of the Naval Board in saying that, if the findings which we have made herein as to the state of

health of the late Captain Stevens, had been established as facts for the considera­ tion of the Board as at 31 December 1963, the Board would not have regarded Captain Stevens as fit to continue in sea-command of a destroyer; that, certainly, a further cruise in the near future to the Far East waters would have been out of the

question; and that sea-command would not have been returned to him until after the expiration of such a period as would have enabled him to demonstrate to medical satisfaction that he was able to 'control' his ulcer reactivations. We are unable to say positively whether Captain Stevens would have been able to stand up to the rigours of command in the cruise in 1963 undertaken by Voyager even if he had entirely abstained from alcohol from 31 January 1963.

We incline to the view that he could not have done so. But it is unnecessary for us to make a finding one way or the other in that regard as we have no doubt that his moderate consumption of liquor which, upon the evidence, was his habit on all but a few occasions throughout 1963, was a contributing factor to an illness which

persisted through out that year, and which affected him in varying degrees so that he was not fit to retain command in the full sense of the definition of fitness which we have quoted above. It is no answer to what we have just said to point to the fact that the per­ formance of Voyager was never affected by the Captain's consumption of liquor

or by his illnesses and that neither the ship itself nor any member of its company were at any time endangered by any act or omission of the Captain. The high responsibility of a captain of a naval vessel is such, that as far as possible, all risks of an officer in that position becoming physically incapable through illness of performing the onerous duties imposed upon him, must be eliminated. We would

think that it is this principle which is the basis for the views of Rear-Admiral McNicoll which we have cited above.

Answer to Question 1 of the Terms of Reference

For the foregoing reasons we find in answer to Question 1 of the Terms of Reference: (1) The allegations made by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban in the 'Cabban Statement' regarding the 'drinking habits' of Captain Stevens are only true

to the very limited extent appearing in the summary of our findings at the end of Section 2 of Part E.

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(2) The 'drinking habits' of Captain Stevens as so established did not constitute him a chronic alcoholic or a man who habitually drank to excess. We are satisfied however that his drinking habits did contribute to the reactivation from time to time of a chronic duodenal ulcer causing him to be ill on the occasions set out in the summary of our findings at the end of Section 2 of Part E. (3) Upon the basis of our findings of intermittent recurrences of his ulcer

trouble between January 1963 and December 1963 and in the light of all the relevant circumstances to which we have referred, the conclusion is inescapable that (answering the question as at 31 December 1963) the late Captain Stevens was then unfit to retain command of Voyager

because his physical condition did not conform to the very high standard of fitness required of a Captain holding that command. We think this conclusion must follow even if at that particular point of time his ulcer was not clinically fully reactivated. In determining the question of fitness

to retain sea-command it is of course essential to assess the potential risk of recurrence of a debilitating physical condition. Unfortunately the whole history of the Far Eastern Operational Cruise demonstrates only too clearly that the late Captain Stevens was not sufficiently physically fit to stand up to its very taxing operational and social burdens. We think that no responsible Naval authority having before it in December I 963 the

findings we have made could possibly have been satisfied that Captain Stevens was then sufficiently fit to undertake in the near future the burden of a similar cruise. (4) It is not possible to say for how long after 3I December I963 the late

Captain Stevens would have been likely to have remained unfit to retain command of Voyager. He would certainly have been subjected to a search­ ing medical examination and allotted shore service until such time as it was established by expert medical opinion that be was fit to be classified in Category A and able without doubt to stand up to a demanding

operational cruise. SECTION 7-FINDINGS OF FACT IN RELATION TO SEAMANSHIP INCIDENTS In Part D Section (5) (b) we have referred to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban· unequivocal disavowal on oath of any intention in the 'Cabban Statement', by recounting several navigational incidents in which Voyager was involved, to impute any incompetency or recklessness to Captain Stevens; let alone to suggest that these incidents established unfitness to retain command of Voyager. He said that his purpose in recounting these incidents to Vice-Admiral Hickling was to illus­ trate Captain Stevens' temperamental reaction to difficult situations and to give examples of inevitable 'near misses' in naval manoeuvres. We subsequently ruled that although under Term of Reference I we were required to make findings of

fact as to these incidents they no longer had any relevance to the issue of unfitness to retain command. These incidents are therefore of slight importance and we need not deal with them in any detail:

(1) THE CoLLISION WITH Vampire (PARA. 3 OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT') During the work-up Commander Willis had expressed the opinion quite strongly that the Navigating Officer was a poor ship handler. This is important because Captain Stevens on the first occasion that he took Voyager alongside collided with V ampir€

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, and subsequently rarely, if ever, handled the ship personally again, in my time on board, entering or leaving harbour, leaving it to Lt Griffiths on almost every occasion. On two occasions I handled it leavi ng ha rbour and entering harbour in the Far East a nd on the last occasion that I left harbour in a ship, which was from Sydney to

Melbourne, I was given command. At that time I tho ught of it as a very generous gesture although the Captain was visibly affected by alcohol, on this occasion the time being 0800.

On 18 January 1963 Voyager berthed alongside Vampire at Garden Island. She came in harder than normally (probably due to tidal and weather conditions) and her boom hit Vampire; scraped some paintwo rk and did slight damage to Vampire's guard rails. It was described by Lieutenant Martin as a 'heavy

alongside'.

Cabban conceded that few officers would have troubled to report it and that in the same position be would not have reported it himself (p. 4482).

Cabban's immediate purpose in referring to the incident in Para. 3 of the State­ ment was to explain that because Captain Stevens was upset by the incident, he subsequently rarely handled the ship again when coming alongside and left it to the navigation officer (pp. 85-6). Rear-Admiral McNicoll told us that it would be unusual for a captain not to handle hi s sh ip when entering or leaving harbour

but it would not be a matter of criticism (pp. 3935-6).

It was suggested to us that this incident could not properly be called a and that Cabban used the expression 'collided wit h Vampire' mal iciously.

We were not impressed by the suggestion. The incident was a trivial one but Voyager did physically collide with Vampire.

(2) THE Hermes Tow (PARA. 4 OF THE 'CABBA STATEMENT '-ERRONEOUSLY THEREIN REFERRED TO AS Ark Royal) In his other ship handling Captain Stevens was inconsistent. His station keeping abili ty was extremely good and most officers would have been proud of it. But his

handling was in clined to be affected by his temperament. On one notable occasion V oyager was taking A rche Royal in tow and almost collided by passing under the fl ight deck of A rche R oyal just clearing our main mast and then in a fit of pique when the tow took too long to take up be rang on revolutions for 10 knots with disastrous effects; parting the tow at the risk of all on the quarter deck. This was a rather ugly piece of seam anship in the face of the Fleet.

We find that the account given of this incident in Para. 4 is substantially true. Cabban's account was corroborated by a number of witnesses (including Lieutenant Marti n pp. 1168-9, 1230-1), Lieutenant-Commander Griffith (pp. 2289-91), Leading Seaman G. P. Worth (p. 3670) and Chief Bosun's Mate J . J. Morrow

(Statement Exhibit 143 pp. 4-7). In his letter to his wife dated 2 June 1963 Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale said Wire under strain is very dangerous as I learnt the other day when we parted the towin g pendant when tryin g to tow Hermes (for exercise). The Captain, who considers

he knows a lot about towing, charged off at 4-6 kts as soon as the tow had been

passed and was surprised when it broke!! [Exhibit 171, Letter No. 19]

We find that in taking th e tow Voyager (in the words of Lieutenant Martin) (p )assed very close under the bows , across the bows of the aircraft carrier' (p. 1168). Lieutenant Martin further sai d that a si!ffial came from Hermes to the effect '(D)o not pick up speed too quickly or you will part the tow', and that the Captain said 'Tell the chief yeoman to make a signal saying the captain of Voyager has

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towed X miles in his life'. Then he said, 'Wait. Don't send it' (p. 1169). This gives some support to Cabban's claim that the Captain may have been in 'a fit of pique'. This incident is perhaps an example of what Rear-Admiral McNicoll described as his inclination to be impetuous in movements of his ship in company (p. 3794).

Cabban's statement that it was 'an ugly piece of seamanship in the face of the Fleet' is an exaggeration and is yet another example of his disposition to dramatise a situation.

(3) THE Rothesay INCIDENT (PARA. 5 OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT' ) On another occasion when taking station on Rothsea for a transfer we overshot and roared in between her and the ship behind, which was at standard distance, missing them by the narrowest of margins with no credit.

In cross-examination Cabban said that he did not mean to suggest that the conduct of Captain Stevens was discreditable but that a dangerous situation was only just avoided, and that accordingly he could 'give no credit' to the Captain (pp. 322-3 ). The bare facts of this incident were corroborated by a number of witnesses (Lieutenant Martin p. 1169-70, Lieutenant-Commander Griffith pp. 2365-6, Leading Tactical Operator Leslie Church pp. 394 7-8, Captain Pl ace

(Affidavit: p. 2 of Exhibit 200) ). Cabban's expression 'we roared in'

between her and the ship behind is over colourful. Lieutenant-Commander Griffith (pp. 2446-7, 2457-9) and Commander Money ( pp. 2005-8) both said that the cause of Voyager overshooting Rothesay was the jamming of one of her steam nozzles. Lieutenant Martin (pp. 1169-70) was not certain that this occurred on this particular occasion but he recalled some incident of the kind (pp. 1169-70). We see no reason to doubt the evidence of Lieutenant­ Commander Griffith and Commander Money, that one of Voyager's steam nozzles did jam on this occasion.

( 4 ) THE Caesar JNCIDENT ( P ARA. 31 OF THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT')

Captain Stevens was not handling Voyager when this incident occurred on 4 May 1963. Cabban only gave it as an illustration of the difficulties involved in manoeuvres.

C APTAIN STEVENS' SEAMANSHIP ( GENERALLY)

In Para. 4 of the 'Cabban Statement' Cabban stated-In his other ship handling Captain Stevens was inconsistent. His station keeping ability was extremely good and most officers would have been proud of it. But his handling was inclined to be affected by his temperament.

He goes on to recount the 'Hermes tow' and the Rothesay incident as examples of Captain Stevens ship handling being affected by his temperament (Paras 4 and 5). Then in Para. 6 he refers to what he describes as Captain Stevens'

' (v)iolent outbursts at the officer of the watch .' (which in Para. 7

he says Captain Stevens did not mean should be taken seriously), and in Para. 8 suggested his temperament ranged '. (f)rom buoyant good humour to

depression when sober', but 'He shared flashes of very fine leadership ability and I had the impression most of the time that the ship's company thought he was a very good captain'. Cabban conceded that under Captain Stevens' command the morale of the ship was good, and that '. (c)ompared to other Captains, he at least held his

own most of the time, and on some occasions he was outstanding' (pp. 4488-9).

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There was some evidence that from time to time the late Captain Stevens became impatient and gave officers of the watch and others 'a blast'. We suspect this is by no means an uncommon characteristic of some R.A.N. captains and we do not stay to consider it further.

There can be no doubt that the late Captain Stevens was a naval Captain of at least average competency, had notable qualities of leadership and succeeded in maintaining high morale on his ship. He was popular with his officers and crew and it was very obvious during our Inquiry that their personal loyalty to him was

such as understandably to make them most reluctant to say anything derogatory about him. It is appropriate in this section of our Report to refer to some opinions of Captain Stevens' seamanship by high ranking Naval Officers: (1) Vice-Admiral Scatchard (Rtd) (who it will be remembered was in opera­

tional control of Voyager during part of the Far Eastern cruise). He said in an Affidavit that generally '. Stevens showed himself to be a good C.O. and an average driver, with sea sense' (Exhibit 184). (2) Rear-Admiral McGeoch (who was in command of Lion). He stated in

an Affidavit (Exhibit 191) that-1 found that at sea he handled his ship with plenty of dash and competence. Looking back, I cannot remember a single incident in which any action of

H.M.A.S. Voyager caused me the slightest concern . . . [Exhibit 191]

(3) R ear-Admiral McNicoll. In his evidence he said that Captain Stevens 'Handles his ship well but his movements in company sometimes show more impetuosity than judgment' (p. 3794). In amplifying this opinion he said:

There are two qualities specifically that you want in a destroyer captain. One is dash or speed of reaction; you can call it what you like, but getting under way quickly when he is told to do something. Of course, it may mean the difference between getting a submarine or not. It is a very important thing. It is easy to kill, hard to create.

The other one, on a different level, a more reflective level, is judgment. The first test that a captain will put on an order is 'What is the safe way to do it and what is the quickest way to do it?' This may not be a complete answer. For

instance, he might cut across the bows of another ship in company with perfect safety but put his sonar out of action by so doing. He may go at his best speed but his sonar is not responsive at that speed. So there are various levels of judg­ ment in which he must make up his mind quickly, and he has only seconds in which to do it.

On one side of the qualities such as speed of reaction, dash and so on, I

rated Captain Stevens high; but on the more reflective ones of judgment I rated him lower. [pp. 3795-6]

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PART F- TERM OF REFEREN CE 2 (a)

SECTION I-WHETHER THE NAVAL BOARD KNEW OR OUGHT TO HAVE KNOWN OF ANY OF THE ALLEGATIONS IN THE 'CABBAN STATEMENT'

By section 7 (1.) of the Naval Defence Act, which was in force during the whole of the period 1 January 1963 to 10 February 1964, the Governor-General was authorised to appoint a board of Administration for the Naval Forces, to be called the 'Naval Board'. Its composition and duties were prescribed by Regulations and Instructions 0111-0113 of the Regulations and Instructions for the Royal Australian Navy. Similar provisions were also made by Regulations 11-20 of the Naval Forces Regulations. The apparent duplication may be explained by the fact that the Regulations and instructions are not statutory instruments; they constitute

an internal code of regulations for the administration of the Royal Australian Navy. It appears to have been thought desirable that the organisation and functions of the Naval Board should be put on a statutory basis by the making of regulations pursuant to section 45 of the Naval Defence Act.

The following table shows the persons who held the various appointments during the period under review.

Minister for the Navy . . . . Senator the Hon. J. G . G ORTO 10.12 58-18 . 12.63

The Hon. A. J . FoRBES 1 8 . 12 . 63-4. 3 . 64

First Naval Member and Chief of a val Vice-Admiral HARRINGTON 24.2 . 62- 23 . 2 . 65 Staff

Second Naval Member and Chief of Naval Rear-Admiral SMITH 6.7.62-9 . 1.65 Personnel

Third Naval Member and Chief of Naval Rear-Admiral URQUHART 22 . 8 59-27 . 2 63 Technical Services Rear-Admiral GEORGE 28 .2.63- 13 . 3 . 67

Fourth Naval Member and Chief of Supply Captain M c FARLANE 1 . 8. 62-24. 11 . 63 Rear-Admiral McNICOLL (now 25.11.63-10 . 6 . 64 Vice-Admiral)

Secretary to the Department of the Navy T. J. HAWK! S 10.3 .50-14 .11.63

S. LANDAU 1 5. 11 . 63-still in

office

With the exception of Dr Forbes and Vice-Admiral Harrington, all these persons gave evidence or filed affidavits to the effect that they had no knowledge, when they were members of the Naval Board, of the general or specific allegations in the 'Cabban Statement'; similar evidence was given by Rear-Admiral T. K. Morrison, who from J anuary 1962 until December 1964 was Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and sat as an observer with the Board (unless the Chief of Naval Staff was

absent, in which case be attended as a member). Since his retirement, Vice­ Admiral Harrington bas died; Dr Forbes was Minister for the Navy for less than three months and did not bold office at a time to which any of Cabban's specific allegations relate.

This Term of Reference requires us to consider whether the Naval Board knew or ought to have known of 'such unfitness to retain command'. Turning back to Question I of the Terms of Reference, we have already pointed out that

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unfitness' means 'the unfitness to retain command' which would be 'estab­

lished' by the truth in whole or in part of the Cabban allegations. It is not, there­ fore, within our province to concern ourselves with the propriety of the initial appointment of the late Captain Stevens to command Voyager. In any event this appointment took effect on 2 January 1963, and the first specific allegation in the

'Cabban Statement' which relates to Captain Steve ns' seamanship refers to the berthing of Voyager alongside Vampire at Garden Island, which is established by the evidence as having happened on 18 January 1963. The first specific allegation as to Captain Stevens' drinking habits refers to the farewell wardroom party before

Voyager left for the Far East, which probably took place on 29 January 1963.

The fi rst question, therefore, is whether the Naval Board knew of any of the allegations in the 'Cabban Statement' which might establish Captain Stevens' unfitness to retain command in the sense in which we have explained that expression, and, if so, whether they were at fault in failing to relieve him of

command. It would have been a grave dereliction of duty on the part of the Naval Board to retain in command of a destroyer a person whom they knew to be unfit. It is necessary only to say that there is no materi al whatsoever before us to suggest that any member of the Naval Board knew anything of the Cabban allegations and

we accept without any hesitation the denial made upon oath by each member of the Board that he knew nothing of them.

The next question, therefore, is whether the Naval Board ought to have known of such unfitness to retain command. In order to answer this question, it is necessary to understand the procedures designed to keep the Naval Board informed of the fitness of officers, from every point of view fr om which this may become

relevant. There are, in our view, several reasons for which an officer may be considered to be unfit to command a destroyer. For example, his seamanship or general professional proficiency may not reach the requisite standard, or he may suffer from disqualifying defects of personality or character, or, again, he may be

medically unfit. In answering Question 1, we have adopted a definition of fitness to command which we consider to be acceptable.

The principal official means by which the Naval Board is informed of an officer's progress is the AS. 206 (Confidential Report). As its name implies, this document is kept on a strictly confidential basis, and it would, in our opinion, be against the public interest to enter into details of its composition. It is sufficient to

say that it is a most comprehensive report covering every phase of the officer's character, activities, and suitability for promotion. Each officer must be reported upon at intervals of not more than one year, but it often happens that reports are made at more fre quent intervals. We have seen all the confidential reports which

were made on Captain Stevens since 1954, but we thought it de sirable not to allow anybody else to see them. They were handed to us in a sealed envelope, and have remained strictly in our custody.

A captain is reported upon by his Administrative Authority, who may be a Commodore or an Admiral, but who may also be another Captain. During the period covered by the 'Cabban Statement' Captain Stevens was reported upon twice. In August 1963 Rear-Admiral J. P . Scatchard, Flag Officer, Second-in­

Command of the Far East Fleet, reported upon him on the occasion of Voyager leaving the Far East Strategic Reserve, and in January 1964, Rear-Admiral McNicoll, Flag Officer Commanding the Australian Fleet, reported upon him on the occasion of his relinquishing that appointment. There was nothing in either of

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these reports which could in any way have suggested to the Naval Board that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command of Voyager. The whole tenor of them points in the opposite direction.

There are other means whereby the Naval Board can be informed of certain aspects of a commanding officer's abilities. Special reports may be made upon him, as for example, by the officer whose duty it is annually to inspect his ship or establishment. Each Captain is, as we have already indicated, required to submit a monthly Report of Proceedings of the ship under his command; these are forwarded to the Naval Board through FOCAF, who may, if be thinks fit, com­ ment either favourably or otherwise on the performance of that ship. The monthly Punishment Return which the Captain of each ship is required to submit to the Naval Board, again through FOCAF, would no doubt serve to acquaint the Board with the Captain's ability in the maintenance of discipline. FOCAF himself is required to submit his own monthly Report of Proceedings, in which be is at liberty, and is indeed required, to comment upon any shortcomings in any of the ships under his command. Each officer is also required to undergo an annual medical examination and the prescribed annual medical reports are forwarded to the Naval Board. Where an officer is treated for illness the ship's medical officer is required to forward a Form AM209Z to which we refer in more detail below. There is nothing before us to show that any report was made to the Naval Board which would have indicated in any way that Captain Stevens was unfit to

retain command of Voyager either by reason of any physical defect or predisposi­ tion to illness, any lack of professional competence or any defect of character or personality. However, we have thought it proper to consider in Section 2 of this Part also whether it has been established that anyone, whose duty it was to make a report, failed to do so.

It is abundantly clear that the Naval Board had in fact no knowledge of any of the Cabban allegations and that no knowledge came to them as to the unfitness of Captain Stevens to retain command from any of the sources from which it ought to be expected to have come. In other words, they did not know that he was unfit to retain command; nobody told them that be was so unfit and there was nothing to put them on enquiry. In these circumstances, it is impossible to say that the Naval Board 'ought to have known'.

Subject to our observations in Part I with regard to certain medical procedures, the official procedures designed to keep the Naval Board informed as to an officer's fitness to command (if they are observed) seem to us to be satisfactory.

SECTION 2-WHETHER ANY OF THE NAVAL MEDICAL OFFICERS OR OTHER OFFICERS SERVING IN THE NAVY FAILED TO REPORT KNOWLEDGE OF ANY OF THE CABBAN ALLEGATIONS (a) THE NAVAL MEDICAL OFFICERS

Having regard to the illnesses suffered by Captain Stevens during 1963 a natural query arises as to what knowledge of his condition was possessed by medical officers with whom be came into contact, e.g. Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller who was the medical officer on Voyager throughout the Far Eastern Cruise, and

Surgeon-Commander McNeill who was the Fleet Medical Officer, who was acquainted with the relevant medical history of Captain Stevens and was aware in Hong Kong in 1963 that all was not well with him. Wilson, a Sick Berth Atten­ dant, falls into a somewhat different category. To appreciate the significance of

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an appraisal of the actions of Tiller, McNeill and Wilson it is necessary to tum to the evidence of Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans, the Medical Director-General of the R.A.N. during whose testimony various medical procedures and forms were introduced into evidence and explained by him (see Exhibits 68 and 69). Form AM209 is an envelope marked 'Confidential' and Form AM209Z is marked 'Confidential-Daily Medical Record'. Form 209Z contains spaces for

identifying the patient e.g. name, rank, ship, etc. and the date of the examination. Then follows a space headed 'Diagnosis' and a further space headed 'Physical Examination, Symptoms and Treatment'. Further spaces are beaded 'Disposal of Patient' and 'Medical Officer'. The phrase 'Disposal of Patient' refers to the pro­ cedure ordered for the patient upon examination e.g. that he should return to

duty, go on to sick list, go to hospital etc. The 209Z forms are made out in duplicate, the copy being retained on board ship. On the Monday of each week all originals are sent by the fastest certified mail to the Medical Director-General, Department of the Navy, Melbourne. The purpose of the Form 209Z is to provide

a record of every occasion on which a medical officer examines a member of the fleet and a new form is made out for each attendance whether it is for the same complaint or not. Rear-Admiral Coplans stated that if an officer complained to the medical officer of pains in the stomach and vomiting and was prescribed medicine that should be so recorded (p.1 081) .

Surgeon Commander McNeill We have earlier drawn attention to the fact that McNeill was a friend of Cap­ tain Stevens and that in 1954, 1955 and 1956 he was aware that the Captain had displayed symptoms of ulcer and complained of stomach trouble. McNeill was aware of the duodenal ulcer diagnosis in 1959. He believes that Captain Stevens had no exacerbations of his ulcer in the period 1960-1962. H.M.A.S.

Melbourne was in Hong Kong between 29 March 1963 and 15 April 1963, and carried McNeill as the Fleet Medical Office r. We have previously referred to the fact that in this period McNeill and Captain Stevens were together on several occasions when Stevens complained of severe pain periodically and vomiting, and

informed McNeill that he was regularly taking amphogel in large doses. We have shown that Captain Stevens had been intermittently ill with similar symptoms, varying in degree, from at least 13 February 1963. McNeill claims that his view was that the complaints made to him did not mean that the ulcer had recurred but were indictive of what he described as 'pre-ulcer symptoms', some inflamma­ tion of the membrane of the stomach which, if ignored, might lead to the develop­ ment of an ulcer (pp. 928-9, 939-40, 1016-7). McNeill stated that he prescribed

amphogel for Captain Stevens and advised him to avoid spicy, rich or fatty foods (pp. 928-9). He said that he did not regard Captain Stevens as sick. He did not mention the matter to Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller (p. 942). He claimed that his visits with Captain Stevens were purely social occasions and not professional

(p. 941). Up to this stage Captain Stevens had not consulted Tiller concerning his stomach troubles. There can, however, be little doubt that when McNeiJI spoke on the telephone to Captain Benson in May 1967 during the Parliamentary debate he described the stomach condition of Captain Stevens in Hong Kong as a serious one (pp. 995-8, 1001-2, 1016-7).

It was not irregular for Captain Stevens to have consulted McNeill in Hong Kong rather than Tiller. It used to be required by regulation that officers of the rank of Captain were only to be seen by senior medical officers and, although that

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regulation is no longer in force, it bas remained as a custom of the Navy. But, we have come to the conclusion that Captain Stevens refrained from consulting Tiller about his illnesses because of his fear that Tiller would complete a Form 209z which would find its way to the Medical Director-General of the Navy,

with results which may well have been prejudicial to his future in the service. We have also come to the conclusion that McNeill himself was aware of this situa­ tion. Rear-Admiral Coplans has stated that a medical officer has no discretion to withhold the completion and forwarding of a Form 209Z (p. 1096). We think

that it was the duty of McNeill as the Fleet Medical Officer to have completed a Form 209Z in relation to Captain Stevens and to have appraised Tiller as Voyager's medical officer of that fact (see Instructions to Medical Officers­ Exhibit 69). It would have been much wiser for McNeill also to have advised Captain Stevens to take advantage of the facilities available to the R.A.N. at the British Hospital in Hong Kong and obtain an expert medical opinion upon his con­ dition. As a result of the course taken by McNeill and Captain Stevens the Medical Director-General and the Department of the Navy were never alerted to the con­ dition of Captain Stevens in the Far East. Rear-Admiral Coplans was in the Com­ mission room when McNeill gave his evidence and he also expressed the view that it was his duty to report the condition of Captain Stevens and to bring it to the attention of the medical officer of Voyager.

In fairness to Surgeon-Commander McNeill it must be said that his close friendship with Captain Stevens placed him in an awkward position where by doing his duty he may have detrimentally affected his friend 's career. If Captain Stevens bad rigidly adhered to the advice given by McNeill as to his diet and if be had entirely eschewed alcohol, the reactivation of the ulcer may have subsided. No one can now say what the outcome would have been. But the bard fact remains that McNeill did not do what his position as Fleet Medical Officer obliged him to do.

Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller Tiller graduated at the West Australian School of Medicine in 1961 and joined Voyager as a surgeon-lieutenant on 14 January 1963, sailing on the ship during her cruise to the Far East and her return to Sydney. He did not travel from Sydney to Wil liamstown in V oyager but rejo in ed the vessel in Will iamstown on its arrival there. After a week or two in Williamstown, he left the ship having been given a posting to H.M.A.S. Balmoral. While the ship was at sea on the Far Eastern cruise Tiller stated that he would see the Captain at fairly regular intervals but

that be tended to see him less regularly in barbour (pp. 1495-6). A daily medical sheet had to be presented to the Captain and either Tiller or the Leading Sick Berth Attendant gave it to him. In addition Tiller would see the Captain on the bridge, in the operations room and in various other parts of the ship in casual meetings. It will be recalled that Tiller gave Captain Stevens his annual medical examination on 12 February 1963 the day before the ship arrived at Singapore on its first visit.

Tiller stated in regard to this examination that 'the only feeling I have is that the Captain told me he was well, be was fit' (p. 1499). He had the Captain's medical history file before him at this time and Tiller agreed that he would have known about the confirmed duodenal ulcer in 1959. He says that he does not remember

any ill health in regard to Captain Stevens during the Voyager's visits to Sin !!aoore­ Trincomalee-Singapore. He attended the Captain's birthday dinner on 23 March 1963. Elsewhere Tiller's part in this dinner is described in more detail but it may be stated here that be thought the Captain was drunk. Later that night Tiller went

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up to 'the sea cabin 'to have a look at him'. He said: 'I am not very clear but I feel I did see him. I do not remember prescribing anything or making any move to give him treatment. I remember seeing him and I was then satisfied in my mind he was suffering from alcohol and not some other cause for his condition'. Tiller

then went off to a party on shore. We cannot help remarking that it is surprising that a medical man on going to see someone who was in such a condition as to warrant a visit should be satisfied with a 'look' and not make any inquiry what­ soever as to how the patient felt. The conditions of pain, nausea and the like are

entirely subjective and could not be ascertained on visual examination. We should have thought that the very suddenness of the onset of the Captain's condition would have excited a doctor's attention. But Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller in 1963 did not have a great deal of medical experience; he may have been in some awe

of the Captain; and it appears from his evidence that he had not altogether recon­ ciled his position as a medical man with his situation as a naval officer. His impression-diagnosis of intoxication as solely accounting for the Captain's dis­ tress is of no greater value, and perhaps of not as much value, as that of more experienced and worldly laymen. His failure to pursue the matter further excites further comment in that quite a number of the officers and crew at an early stage

in the cruise thought that Captain Stevens was suffering from 'stomach trouble' or an 'ulcer', and Tiller himself had at least as early as 12 February 1963 become aware of the Captain's long history of trouble in this regard which should have alerted him to the possibility of reactivations even if the ship's gossip had not

reached his ears. Tiller stated that a past history of a healed ulcer is an important fact. In any event Tiller knew of regular supplies of amphogel going to the Cap­ tain's cabin and he must have had this knowledge prior to 23 March 1963.

The information in hi s possession of the ulcer history and of the constant intake by the Captain of amphogel coupled with his bel ief that on the evening of the birthday dinn er the Captain had consumed an excessive quantity of alcohol should have pu t Tiller on inqu iry as to th e effect of alcohol upon the Captain's stomach, even assuming th at no word of the Captain's intermittent condition had come to him. When he was as ked whether, apart from r gul ar requests made on

behalf of the Captain for supplies of amphogel, he had received any complaints from the Captain concerning his health up to th e period of Voyager's first visit to Hong Kong (i.e. 29 March 1963-15 April 1963) it is noticeable that Tiller made what appears to be a ve ry carefully phrased reply: ' o sir, I cannot remem­

ber any specific complaint'. It will be recalled (see above) that it was during thi s visi t th at the Captain made complaints of symptoms to Su rgeon-Commander McNeill which plainly indicate that prior to 29 March 1963 he had suffered con ­ siderably with this condition. The only occasion during the cruise on which Tiller tendered medical advice to Captain Stevens was in Tokyo on the morning of

Sunday, 9 June 1963, at the request of Captain G. J . Willis . It is noteworthy that when Captain Willis spoke to Tiller about Captain Stevens he does not appear to have been at all surprised at the Captain's illness. Tiller stated that the only occasion prior to this period on which he saw the Captain in a state brought on

by over-indulgence in liquor was the birthday dinner on 23 March 1963. When questioned about his interview with Captain Stevens on 9 June 1963, when he advised Captain Stevens 'to swap alcohol for orange juice, or something similar' he gave the following evidence:

Q. When you advised him to keep away from alcohol is that largely because you felt he was consuming it at these official functions on ship and on shore in these ports?

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A. I had the impression that these official functions were imposing a certain strain on him and he was taking alcohol which was making him ill. Q. I wondered whether you were of the opinion that he was then suffering from & recurrence of his ulcer? A. I do not remember thinking this. I just remember thinking that he sort of had

an ulcer history and he was bringing his symptoms on by taking this alcohol.

Apparently the possibility did not occur to Tiller on 23 March 1963 that alcohol may have made Captain Stevens ill on that evening and that it was the illness rather than the effects of alcohol which induced the behaviour of the Captain at the dinner table. In fact, although he agrees that Commander Tapp was very

worried that evening and said to him 'Doc, I think you should see him, his poor old stomach is playing up', he continued to ignore the possibility.

With regard to the evening of the birthday dinner, we think that Tiller's failure to attempt to get to the root of the Captain's trouble on that evening, or on the following day when the Captain was turned in, may be found in Tiller himself and the situation in which he believed he was placed. We believe that Captain Stevens never at any stage made of his own volition complaints about his health to Tiller and, despite the severity of his symptoms from time to time, we think that

it is more than probable that Captain Stevens did not do so for fear of what a formal medical investigation, when once put in train, might have led to. Tiller described the Captain as quite approachable and that he often chatted with him while the ship wa s at sea but, as he himself said, he was new to the service and had entered the navy from hospital routine and had difficulty in adapting himself. He said that he was a junior man in the ship and confessed to being a little nervous

of the Captain. In a number of places throughout his evidence he was careful to draw a distinction between a request to give medical advice or treatment on a formal consultation basis and an offer of advice during the course of casual con­ versation. We take the view that these factors inhibited Tiller from pursui ng, on th e evening of 23 March 1963 or on th e following day or during the period of the cruise which then ensued, a more positive and perceptive course in relation to the ill-health of Captain Stevens, which may wel l have led him to what we consider would have been a truer assessment of the situ ation.

As regards Tiller's attendances upon Captain Stevens on 9 June 1963 in Tokyo an d upon a day or so thereafter, we have no doubt that Tiller should have com­ pleted 209Z forms. He frankly agreed that he should have done so. He states that his diagnosis would have been entered as 'gastritis' and that the history should

have been entered with a notation that th e Captain was taking too much alcohol, not in the absolute sense of excess, but for a man with his medical history. From the fact that he did in fact prescribe on this occasion an adherence to a bl and diet and rest as well as the avoidance of alcohol, it may safely be inferred that the food in Far Eastern ports and strain would have also appeared as part of the history. When asked why he did not fill in Form 209Z, Tiller replied: 'I have no

answer. I can't remember.' Captain G. J. Willis stated that be did not instruct Tiller not to make a record of his treatment of Captain Stevens. He further said that be himself made no report about it because be was completely confident of the ability of Captain Stevens to di scharge all his duties when the ship went to sea and that he had no reason to report, nothing to report. Tiller stated he gain ed

the impression when he saw Captain G. J. Willis that their talk was on a 'man-to­ man', confidential basis. That, however, would not relieve Tiller from compliance with the naval medical regulations once he commenced treatment. We do not

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th at Tiller disputes th is. What may well have motivated Tiller, however.

is understandable enough. He had bee n consulted on what he considered to be a confidential basis by a naval officer of se nior rank about the captain of his own ship and he was a 'new boy' in th e service . ln terms of naval discipline, that would not excuse him and, as in the case of McNeill, the Medical Director-General of

the avy did not recei ve the information to which he was entitled. We desire to make it quite clear that we do not seek to offer any criticism of Captain G . J. Willis in this regard. It would be quite proper for him to talk in the circumstances confidenti ally to Tiller and unless he gave a direction to Tiller not to report­ which he did not-he would not be responsible for any lack of subsequent ac tio n on the part of Tiller.

In conclusion, we add that Mr Hiatt, Q .C., suggested that Tiller was at fault in failing to compl ete a 209Z Form in rel ation to the evening of 23 M arch 19 63. We do not agree with this suggesti on. In the opinion of Tiller this was not a medical m atter, and however mi staken he may have been in his views in that

regard, he ca nn ot be held in · any way to account in relation to Form 209Z.

L eading Sick Berth Attendant Wilson Surgeon-Lieutenant Ti ller left Voyager permanently in September 1963 and was not replaced by a medical practi tioner. Wilson joined Voyager as Leading Sick Berth Attendant at Sydney in August 1963 shortly before the ship left for Williams­

town. After Tiller left Voyager medical assistance was available to Wilson in the shape of a nursing sister at the dockyard, Dr Coates in Williamstown or more usually th e District Medical Officer at H.M.A.S. Lonsdale. Minor ailments were handled by Wilson himself and he was fa miliar with and filled in 209Z forms. He also

entered a weekly report upon personnel who were turned in or in hospital. At one stage in Williamstown at the request of Cabban, Wil so n we nt with Cabban to the Captain's cabin. He had vomited and the cabin was being cleaned up. Wil son suggested that th e Captain see a doctor but the Captain declined to do so. He

invited Wilson to treat him and Wilson gave him advice about his diet and to keep taking amphogel which the Captain had been obtaining from Wilson. The Captain 'was a lot better in the afternoon of the day he was taken ill and he progressively got better'. At the end of a period he got out of bed 'quite ·recovered'. Wilson estimated this period as 'approximately fi ve days'. Apart from his appearance of illness, the Captain appeared normal. He was quite coherent. There were no signs

or smell of alcohol. He gave the Captain two phenobarb tablets. Wilson could not with any precision fix the date of this occurrence.

It m ay be a matter of some debate whether Wilson was bound to complete and forward a Form 209Z in respect of thi s incident. Medical Regulations (Exhibit 69) appear to require that, when no medical officer is borne on a ship these forms are the charge of the captain of th e ship himself. However, if Wilson is accurate, it was probably the custom of the Leading Sick Berth Attendant to do so . When asked

to give an explanation as to why the illness of Captain Stevens was not recorded, Wilson replied: 'Only in asmuch as he specifically stated he did not want to see a doctor. That would be the only reason.' He also observed that on his recovery Captain Stevens continued to take amphogel.

In the circumstances it does not appear to us that any further consideration of Wilson's obligation or otherwise to. complete a 209Z Form would serve any useful 12078, 68- 12 169

l

purpose. Whether the failure to do so can be ascribed to the fault of Wilson or Captain Stevens himself, the importance of this incident is two-fold: namely, it indicates a further reactivation of the ulcer and a desire on the part of Captain Stevens to keep the fact of his ill-health, intermittent though it may have been, within the actual confines of the ship.

(b) OTHER OFFICERS SERVING IN THE NAVY

Captain G. J. Willis of H.M.A.S. Vampire which accompanied H.M.A.S. VoYager throughout the greater part of the Far Eastern cruise was the senior of the two des troyer captains. Rear-Admiral McNicoll in 1963 was the Flag Officer -:ommanding th e Australian Fleet and the flag ship, H.M.A.S. Melbourne, was in

the Far Eastern waters and Captain Stevens was at all times during the cruise under his disciplinary control and, for part of the cruise, under his operational control. Rear-Admiral Scatchard, R. N., was in 1963 Flag Officer, Second-in­ Command Far East Fleet and his flagship was either H .M.S. Lion or H .M.S.

Hermes which were on many occasions in company with H.M.A. S. Voyager. For part of the period in the Far East Voyager was under the operational control of Rear-Admiral Scatchard. Captain Dollard was the Australian Services Attache in Tokyo in 1963.

A natural field for inquiry was to ascertain their knowledge (if any) of the alleged conduct and condition of the late Captain Stevens at the relevant time and to consider whether they should have reported such knowledge. It will be convenient to deal with each of these persons separately.

Captain G. J. Willis

Captain Willis had never served in the same ship as Captain Stevens and they were not in the same year at the Naval College. They knew each other well and were on good terms but were not close friends. Captain Willis was aware of the ulcer history of Captain Stevens and that he was prone to stomach upsets. He knew of the fact that there was always the possibility of a recurrence of ulcer trouble so far as Captain Stevens was concerned.

In the opinion of Captain Willis, Captain Stevens was a zealous and capable officer and he never had any reason to doubt his competence. From hi s observa­ tion he thought that the rel ations of Captain Stevens with the officers and ship's company of Voyager were excellent. Having regard to the courses of the two vessels at sea, in company and in exercises with other naval ships, and to the fact that in many ports they were berthed alongside each other, and taking into account that the two Australian destroyer captains shared their entertaining respon­ sibilities on ship and on shore, Captain Willis had the greatest opportunity of

any perso n outside of Voyager to form a view of the conduct and condition of Captain Stevens. Bearing in mind as well the need for discussions between the two captains as to matters of naval business of mutual interest to the ships under their respective commands, it seems probable that in port Captain Willis and Captain Stevens would see each other at least once every day and on a great many occasions much more frequently. In his evidence Captain Willis said: 'I had my own fairly complete knowledge, or what I thought was complete know­

ledge anyway, of what Captain Stevens' habits were because I was in his company a great deal'.

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Captain Willis described the drinking habits of Captain Stevens as 'moderate'. He said that he never saw Captain Stevens adversely affected by liquor. He referred to three occasions when be bad knowledge that Captain Stevens was not well and these were that-

(i) he had a vague recollection of Captain Stevens being 'turned in' after leaving Sydney at the commencement of the cruise. (ii) he had a clear recollection of Captain Stevens being ill at the picnic in Tokyo on 8 June 1963 given by Captain and Mrs Dollard, and that

Captain Stevens was unable to attend the reception on that evening given by the Japanese Admiral. Captain Willis ascribed the illness on this occasion as due to stomach trouble. (iii) he had a clear recollection of Captain Stevens being unwell on board

Voyager in Tokyo on Sunday morning 9 June 1963. This is the occasion when Captain Willis was spoken to by Cabban, interviewed Tiller and went over to see Captain Stevens in his cabin.

He said that, if he bad found that Captain Stevens was so indisposed that he was physically incapable of commanding his ship he would have asked for a direction from Rear-Admiral Scatchard, who was either in Yokohama or Osaka or, if time did not permit of instructions being obtained in that way, he would have

had Captain Stevens placed in hospital in Tokyo and directed Cabban to take command of the ship. But Captain Willis did not view the condition of Captain Stevens on that Sunday morning in that light and subsequent events bore him out. Captain Willis regarded Captain Stevens as having, not a recurrence of his ulcer,

but a gastric attack; he thought that, as Captain Stevens was prone to stomach upset, the constant strain of the social round, the food and the repetitive (as opposi te to over-indulgent ) drinking had triggered off an attack of gastritis. He did not regard the incident as serious. He himself bad had a gastric attack in Hong

Kong. However, he knew that Captain Stevens had what he described as a 'fairly sensitive stomach' and be told Captain Stevens that 'he would have to take great care of himself otherwise he was likely to have a recurrence of his ulcer' . By 'great care' he said that he had in mind 'food and drink and rest'. Captain Willis said that he gained the impression from Tiller that he was not unduly worried

about this specific illness. It will be recalled that Captain Stevens got up and acted as co-host with Captain Willis at a luncheon to some distinguished visitors on that same day.

Captain Willis states that on the following morning he would have had a conference with Captain Stevens before both the destroyers left Tokyo, and that he observed Captain Stevens on the bridge of Voyager as Voyager slipped first and went clear to enable Vampire to lead Voyager out of the harbour.

Captain Willis attended a number of functions in the company of Captain Stevens, which were the subject of evidence given by Captain Dollard and others, but he had only the vaguest recollection of them. The evidence of others is con­ flicting as to both when and where these took place and perhaps it is not surprising

that after such a long lapse of time Captain Willis cannot recall the details. This, it occurs to us, is all the more understandable if it be true, as Captain Willis asserts in effect, that he was viewing Captain Stevens as one in whom a gastric weakness made the constant party rounds on top of the performance of official duties a hazardous experience.

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Captain Willis has stated that he observed nothing in Captain Stevens which .his duty obliged him to report to his superiors. Having regard to the knowledge then possessed by Captain Willis and his own position in relation to Captain Stevens, we find that he did not fail in any duty reposed in him.

Rear-Admiral McNicoll Rear-Admiral McNicoll was FOCAF from 8 January 1962 to 5 January 1964 and was in 1963 the administrative authority as regards H.M.A.S. Voyager. During January 1963 and from 20 July 1963 to 10 February 1964 Voyager was under the operational control of FOCAF. Between February 1963 to 20 July

1963 Voyager was under the operational control of the Commander-in-Chief, Far East Fleet (Vice-Admiral Dreyer). Throughout 1963 Admiral McNicoll as FOCAF would receive Reports of Proceedings from Captain Stevens and would forward them with appropriate comments to the Naval Board. The flagship of

Rear-Admiral McNicoll was H.M.A.S. Melbourne on board which ship Captain and Mrs Stevens dined with the Admiral on 4 January 1963. During March 1963 Voyager carried out in company with other vessels exercises under the supervision of the flagship. Between 29 March 1963 and 15 April 1963 Voyager and Melbourne were in Hong Kong and Rear-Admiral McNicol! saw a good deal of Captain Stevens at intervals during the stay. On 15 April 1963 Melbourne, Vamp ire and Voyager sailed together for Singapore and during the course of th e voyage manoeuvres were performed whilst the Admiral was on the bridge of

Voyager as the temporary flagship. On 23 April 1963 the ships sailed from Singa­ pore for the annual maritime SEATO exercise (Sea Serpent) in which fifty ships of five navies took part and Voyager was under the orders of Rear-Admiral McNicol!. On 27 April 1963 Rear-Admiral McNicol! dined on board Voyager in the harbour of Pulau Tioman and on the following day attended with other

captains a pre-briefing exercise on Melbourne. Exercise 'Sea Serpent' took place between 29 April 1963 and 8 May 1963, being conducted day and night for nine days with only a four-hour break during which time the convoy group was th e subject of intensive attacks of all types. R ear-Admiral McNicol! described the exercise as 'a severe test of skill and stamina of each ship taking part'. On 29 July 1963 at anchor at Fitzroy Island, Rear-Admiral McNicoll inspected Voyager. This was a very thorough affair taking place over three days. As a result of these

observations of both Captain Stevens and H.M.A.S. Voyager, Rear-Admiral McNicoll was able to watch Captain Stevens under varying conditions, and he has stated that at all times the demeanour of Captain Stevens was perfectly normal. that be performed his duties competently, took an intelligent interest in his duties and that the ship under his command performed all her tasks creditably.

Rear-Admiral McNicoll has pointed out that, if any member of the company of Voyager had wished to complain in any way of Captain Stevens, he could have done so either to the Operational Authority or the Administrative Authority, whichever was the nearer, or could have transmitted a complaint through Captain

Willis as the senior captain of the two destroyers. No such complaint was ever received.

We accept Rear-Admiral McNicoll's evidence that he knew nothing of any of the incidents or matters referred to in the 'Cabban Statement' (pp. 3809, 3814, 3818-9) and accordingly there is no basis for any suggestion that he failed in any duty to report to the Naval Board.

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Rear-Admiral Scatchard

Rear-Admiral Scatchard was the Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Station and between February 1963 to 20 July 1963, whilst Voyager was part of the Strategic Reserve, received copies of Voyager's Reports of Proceedings. On 22 February 1963 Captain Stevens called upon the Admiral and between 4 March

1963 and 18 March 1963 took part in exercises with the fleet under his

command. On 21 March 1963 Captain Stevens attended a post-exercise critique at which Rear-Admiral Scatchard was present. On 25 March 1963 Voyager took part in a further exercise with H.M.S. Lion and on 28 March J 963. whi lst en route to Hong Kong, Rear-Admiral Scatchard transferred by jack sta v to Voyager. From that time onwards Captain Stevens attended pre-exercise and post-exercise

briefings conducted by Rear-Admiral Scatchard, took part in exercises at sea under the eye of the Admiral and was a guest at functions given by him. These occur­ rences took place from time to time until 13 July 1963, when Rear-Admiral Scatchard attended in Singapore a farewell on board Voyager, and on 18 July

1963 Vice-Admiral Dreye r gave a farewell address to both Voyager and Vampire.

It is beyond question that over a fairly lengthy period Rear-Admiral Scatchard had ample opportunity to observe both Captain Stevens and the performance of Voyager under his command. Rear-Admiral McNicol! has de scribed the remarks of Rear-Admiral Scatchard upon Captain Stevens and Voyager as 'highlv com­ mendatory'. On 29 June 1967 Rear-Admiral Scatchard made a statement (Exhibit

184) which is to the same effect as regards the social and seamanship behaviour of Captain Stevens which statement he has verified by affidavit.

We unhesitatingly conclude that Rear-Admiral Scatchard at no time had any knowledge of any incident concerning the alleged conduct or condition of Captain Stevens.

Captain D ollard Captain Dollard was the Australian Services Attache in Tokyo in 1963. Wr:. have elsewhere in this report discussed in detail his meetings with Captain Stevens; during the visi t of H.M.A .S. Voyager to Karatsu and Tokyo in May-June 1963, and the minutiae of the various functions at which both officers were present need

not be repeated. Although the events to which he gave evidence occurred some four years previously, Captain Dollard appeared to have a firm recollection of most of their significant features and, whilst he must have acted in a similar capacity when Australian warships visited Tokyo on a number of other occasions,

he had, apart from what seemed to be a good memory and the recourse to certain written records, some reasons for making the stay of Voyager in 1963 an event which would distinguish it from the usual visitations of naval vessels. The call at Karatsu was the first occasion on which an Australian warship had arrived at that port and was regarded as an important goodwill visit; and Captain Dollard, wha

was responsible for arranging all the details, had gone to Karatsu a week or ten days in advance of the ship's arrival and returned again to be th ere for the arrival of Voyager as it was an unusual event in Karatsu; also the successive indisposi­ tions of an Australian naval captain in Tokyo whilst under the aegis of the Aus­ tralian Services Attache would serve to place the visit of V a yager out of the usual category as far as Captain Dollard was concerned.

Captain Dollard says that he had a discussion with Captain G . J. Willis con­ cerning Captain Stevens. Captain Dollard had known for some time of the ulcec

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history of Captain Stevens and he himself had had in the past a duodenal ulcer. In speaking of his view of the condition of Captain Stevens he said: 'It was quite apparent to me I believed his ulcer was troubling him and the heavy

social round on top of the heavy exercise schedule of the Far East Fleet had caught up with him'. He continued: 'I think having the drinks also reacted badly on him with something troubling him like this be was unwise to be drinking at all I have the impression very firmly that be never did drink excessively. He did not drink any more than anyone else did, but it affected him this way.' Captain Dollard thought that 'the sooner be got to sea the better, to get some

fresh air and get away from the social round be was forced into'. Captain Dollard said that he was worried about Captain Stevens but that be did not think that his behaviour and illness called for any official action on his part. He said that he did not consider that the state of his health had reacted to such a degree that positive measures needed to be taken. His view was that a reasonable degree of rest at sea (where no alcohol at all would be taken) and freedom from what he described as 'the racket of the social life in Tokyo', would return Captain Stevens to a normal state of health. Captain Dollard also made it clear that, when he spoke of the 'ulcer condition' of Captain Stevens, be was using that expression loosely as a layman and indicated that be did not intend to be saying that Captain Stevens had an actual recurrence or reactivation of a duodenal ulcer in the strict medical sense.

We were impressed with Captain Dollard as a witness and we accept his evidence as to the light in which he regarded Captain Stevens in the various inci­ dents which he has recounted. Although not a medical specialist he had practical experience as an ulcer sufferer himself. Holding the opinion, which we believe be did, that a return to sea duty would cause the 'ulcer condition' which had waxed in Tokyo to wane on board Voyager, we are of the opinion that there was no breach of duty on the part of Captain Dollard in failing to report to the Naval Board the incidents which he witnessed. He had no knowledge of the occurrences prior to Tokyo. The progress of the health of Captain Stevens, at any rate, by the

stage at which Captain Stevens saw Sir William Morrow later in the year, would appear to have confirmed the view which Captain Dollard formed over the few days in Tokyo. If Captain Dollard had been informed by Captain Stevens of his health difficulties prior to Tokyo, he might have felt impelled to act differently. But he only had a small piece of the whole picture and we think that in all the circumstances as he saw them he was quite justified in not taking any official action.

SECTION 3-CAPTAIN STEVENS' FAILURE TO DISCLOSE TO THE NAVAL AUTHORITIES HIS INTERMITTENT OCCASIONS OF ILLNESS

That Captain Stevens himself knew that his illnesses during the Far Eastern cruise were caused by a recurrence of his ulcer trouble is plain. In a Jetter written by Mrs Stevens to Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller on 27 May 1967 (p. 2 of Exhibit 165) she said:

Duncan and I were very close to each other and I knew from his letters that his

ulcer worried him from time to time. After official social occasions he knew he wo uld suffer-which he did I am sure-but this is very different from drunkardness.

Although Captain Stevens on occasions complained openly to his officers an d others about stomach trouble he was at pains to make sure that no documentary

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evidence of his condition left the ship. This is evident from what we have said in relation to the omission of both Surgeon-Commander McNeill and Surgeon­ Lieutenant Tiller to complete and forward to the appropriate authorities reports in the prescribed form on his occasions of illness. And, as we have said in Part E , Section 5 (above) in our Review of the Findings of Primary Facts, it is beyond question that when he consulted Sir William Morrow on 23 September 1963 he did not disclose what had been the real state of his health during the Far Eastern cruise. Then, when he was ill at Williamstown for four days early in December

1963, he was content to be treated by Leading Sick Berth Attendant Wilson and told him he did not want to see a doctor. Further at Williamstown when he had occasion to state in a Punishment Record relating to one Peter Will iam Dusting the reason for delay in holding a Defaulters Parade, he failed to disclose

that the real reason for the continued delay was his illness. There was a similar instance of non-disclosure of the true reason for continued delay in holding a Defaulters Parade in a Punishment Record filled in at Hong Kong on 2 April 1963 when he had been ill for a few days between 30 March and 2 April.

It is understandable that Captain Stevens was anxious that neither the Naval Medical Director-General nor the Naval Board should be informed of his periodic recurrences of stomach disorder. No doubt many a man has endured illness and fa iled to disclose it to those in authority over him because of the knowledge that disclosures might prejudice his career. But as a Captain in the R.A.N., with the

grave responsibility of the safety of his ship, officers and crew, the late Captain Stevens cannot altogether escape moral censure for failing to disclose what he must have known was a recurring condition of some seriousness.

PART G-TERM OF REFERENCE 2 (b)

SECTION 1-THE SCOPE OF THE INQUIRY UNDER 2 (b)

We have found in answer to Question (1), that having regard to the number of instances during the period covered by our Inquiry of the reactivation of the late Captain Stevens' duodenal ulcer manifested by stomach pains and illness, and to the undoubted risk of a recurrence thereof under conditions of stress (with or

without unwise drinking as a contributing factor), he could not (consistently with the high standard of continued physical fitness required of a Captain of a destroyer engaged in operations of the kind Voyager was), properly be regarded as fit to retain sea command of Voyager for a period beginning in December 1963 wh ich

(if he had lived) would only have concluded at such time as it was establ is hed by expert medical opinion that he was fit to be reclassified in Category 'A'.

What then becomes the scope of our Inquiry under Question 2 (b)?

In the course of the bearing we found it necessary to give a rul ing on the lim its of admissibility of evidence under 2 (b) contingent on an affirmative ans we r to Question 1. We held that Question 2 (b) required us in that event to state our opinion whether by reason of the assumed finding that Captain Stevens was unfit to

retain command of Voyager in December 1963, any of Sir John Spicer's fi ndings should be varied, and if so, in what respect. We further held that for the purpose of our Inquiry under 2 (b), we were not required or auth oris.ed to he ar new evidence or to rehear de novo evidence given before Sir John Spicer on what may

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be generally described as the immediate navigational aspects of th e Melbourne­ Voyager collision. We made it clear however that we would not exclude any evidence which might fairly show some nexus between assumed unfitness of Captain Stevens to retain command in December 1963 and the events of the night of 10 February 1964.

In considering the scope of the Inquiry under Question 2 (b) two preliminary points should be noted: (1) The authority to reopen Sir John Spicer's findings is not ex pre sed to be contingent on a finding that Captain Stevens was actually unfit to com­

mand on the night of 10 February 1964. We are directed to consider possi ble variations in Sir John Spice r's findings consequent upon a finding of unfitness to retain command of Voyager as at December 1963. (2) Although Question 2 (b) assumes th at some nexus between the general

finding of unfitness to retain command of Voyager as at December 1963 and Sir John Spicer's findings must be found before they can be reopened , it does not define the limits of the 'appellate jurisdiction' thereby given. Various submissions were made to us as to the extent to which an affirmative answer to Question (1) would authorize us to sit, in effect, as an appellate Court and make a critical examination of Sir John Spicer's findin gs.

One submission made was that our Inquiry should be confined to putting our find in g on Question 1 side by side with Sir John Spice r's findings (taking them at their face value and assuming they were fully supported by the evidence before him), and considering as a logical exercise whether the addition of our new finding should result in any variations in his findin gs. Another submission was that if we found that Sir John Spicer's line of reasoning depended on th e ass umption that the late Captain Steve ns was at a ll tim es completely fit to retain com mand of Voyager, and that assumption were displaced by an affi rmative finding under Question (1), we hould then treat our Inquiry as a 'new trial' or an appeal by way of rehearing of the written record of the evidence before Sir John Spicer together wi th the evidence before us bearing on Question (1).

We should perhaps remind ourselves that a right of appeal can only be a creature of statute and the scope of an appeal can only be determined by an inter­ pretation of the particular statute conferring th e right of appeal. Our authority is therefore to be spelled out only from the terms of Question 2 (b). But in inter­

preting it we are entitled to have regard to th e material circumstances surrounding the setting up of thi s R oya l Commission.

It would be a mi take to adopt a legali tic approach. T he Inquiry under 2 (b) cannot legally be characterised either as a strict ap peal on the ground of fresh evidence or as an appeal by way of rehearing. The former would be an unprofitable and arid logical exercise havi ng little public purpose; the latter wo ul d be to embark

needlessly on the task of completely rewriting Sir Jo hn Spicer's Report.

The truth i that the limits of o ur duty to inquire under Ques ti on 2 (b) cannot and ought not to be defined by abstract considerations of this kind; they are inevitably and properly only defined by our own sense of wha t in the public interest and in the interests of those affected by Sir John Spicer"s findings , ought in justice to be done once we are satisfied that a substanti al link is established between our finding of Captain Stevens' unfitness to retain command and the rationale of Sir

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John S picer's findings. For reasons which we will shortly develop, we are satisfied that Sir John Spicer·s line of reasoning in relation to a number of his findings (and perhaps more importantly in relation to his expressed inability to come to any conclusion as to the reason for Voyager heading across the bows of Melbourne on a collison course) was substantially influenced if not dominated by an underlying

assumption that the late Captain Stevens must necessarily have been completely fit and alert and incapable of the kind of error of judgment which certain inferences which the evidence suggested were reasonably open, would impute to him. Having come to this conclusion we had no doubt it was our clear duty to examine critically

such of Sir John Spicer's findings which could reasonably be said to have been influenced by what was (as it now turns out) an erroneous underlying assumption. In this process we have felt ourselves free to draw our own inferences from the primary facts found by Sir John Spicer and indeed to make some critical examina­

tion of some of his findings of primary facts after giving proper consideration to the advantages he had in assessing the reliability of witnesses who gave evidence before him. In other words we have to the extent we have indicated regarded our­ selves as having the full authority of an appellate Court in reviewing the findings

of facts of a trial judge sitting without a jury.

As this Report will be read by many non-lawyers, we desire to make it clear that this kind of critical examination of one judges findings by others after exhaustive testing by Counsel for interested parties in the unhurried atmosphere of a Court of Appeal and with unlimited opportunity for mature deliberation, is

an integral and essential part of our system of justice. This process involves no pe rsonal criticism whatever of the competency of the trial judge; no judge can r roperly claim a vested ri ght in the validity of his own conclusions. This, of course, i e\ en more plainl y the case when the appellate court has before it relevant ev idence which wa s not before the trial judge.

SECTIO t 2-THE BASIC APPROACH TO THE l1 VESTIGATION OF THE CAUSE OF THE COLLISION. THE RELATION OF THE FINDING OF CAPTAl. : STEVE. S' UNFIT 1ESS TO RETAIN COMMAND OF VOYAGER TO SIR JOHN SPICER 'S FINDINGS

At the threshold of any investigation of the circumstances of this almost incredible disaster lies the basic and incontrovertible fact that whatever her previous course may have been, Voyager, shortly before the collision , turned and continued on a co urse which inevitably brought her across the bows of Melbourne notwithstanding

that it was her obligation to keep clear of her. That stark fact must immediately prompt the simple question 'Why?' It is appropriate in considering the basic approach to the answer to that simple question to quote from the words of the Chairman during Counsel's argument (pp, 5699-5700).

There seems to me to have been a di sposition to start off by exploring various theories without paying sufficient attention to the kind of human error which must have brought about this collision. You sta rt off with the known fact th at there was a

collision, and yo u know wh at the angle of impact was, and you know what the

course of M elhoume was immediately before impact, and perhaps for some time befo re , a nd to some extent the course of Voyager too. It would seem to me that the human error must have consisted either of a very high degree of negligence in failing to comply with the basic and primary duty of

being eternally vigilant and keeping a consta nt and efficient lookout, having regard to the respective courses, immediately before the collision-and that seems to be the

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kind of human error which Sir John Spicer is disposed to think was the ·ause­ or the other kind of human error must lie in some mistake, and possibly a genuine and completely honest mistake without any great degree of negligence involved.

As no one would suggest that the late Captain Stevens or any officer of Voyager deliberately steered her on a collision course, and Voyager had an obligation to keep clear of Melbourne, and there was clearly no navigational error on the part of anyone in Melbourne, the answer must necessarily be found

in some mistake, error of judgment or negligence on the part of those responsible for the navigation of Voyager. Sir John Spicer found it impossible to identify the individual or indivduals in Voyager responsible, but said that it was not easy to understand how th e collision could have occurred if an effective lookout was being maintained on Voyager and appropriate evasion action had been taken as soon as any possibility of danger was observed. But whatever others may have done or not done the Captain was on the bridge exercising command and the ultimate responsibility was his. ·This indeed was recognised in one part of the Report (pp. 10-11). In our view it matters little whether Captain Stevens person­ ally gave the fatal order to turn to port. He was on the bridge and must be taken

to have known th at Voyager turned 1 oo to port and continued on that course. It would seem to us necessary to follow that Captain Stevens did not reali::e the continued turn to port would bring Voyager across the bows of Melbourne. We may immediately reject any notion that he deliberately set a course across the bows of Melbourne. One suggestion why he did not realise that a continued 1 oo of port helm would bring Voyager on a collision course with Melbourne was that he mis­

takenly believed through a garbled signal that Melbourne was turning with Voyager beyond 020°. This was the theory that Voyager in turning in execution of the last 'turn together' signal from 060° to 020° misinterpreted it as a signal to turn beyond 020° (perhaps to 270°). This appears to have commended itself to Si r John Spicer. For reasons which we will develop, we think the evidence does not permit as a reasonably possible explanation the mis interpretation of the last turn­ ing signaL But assuming it to be a possibility, this would mean that very shortly

after Melbourne steadied on a course of 020 ° instead of turning further to port, Captain Stevens must have appreciated that fact in time to take avoiding action unless either he was in gross neglect of hi s duty by not keeping a personal lookout on the bridge during the 'turn together', or his lookout was so inadequate that he did not appreciate the situation and take avoiding action before Voyager had turned right round to 270° from 020° (through 110°). The only other explana­

tion why Captain Stevens did not realize that Voyager was on a collision course with Melbourne which we think is open at all, is that he was actin g at discretion pursuant to the final flying signal and mistakenly believed that in turning To port Voyager was turning away from Melbourne's path-either because he thought that Voyager was dead ahead of Melbourne or that Voyager was on her port_bow.

Sir John Spicer excluded the latter explanation primarily because he foun d it difficult to believe that a Captain of Stevens' experience could have made the error suggested. One can well understand that in the absence of the slightest sug­ gestion that Captain Stevens could have been other than completely fit and alert and wholly capable of applying his undoubted experience and ski ll in carrying out night manoeuvres, Sir John Spicer found it difficult to impute to him an error

of judgment of this k ind in relation to the respective positions of the two vessels. But had Sir John Spicer had before him evi dence that Captain Stevens was under conditions of stress subject to recurring ulcer pai n and consequent fatigue which

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might • well affect his alertness and concentratio n be would have found much less difficulty in accepting this hypothesis as a reasonably possible explanation. Our study of Sir John Spicer's Report has convinced us that the underlying assumption which we think he clearly made that Captain Stevens could not have been other

than completely fit and alert and consequently incapable of the kind of error of judgment suggested, was a material factor in his line of reasoning which led him to reject the hypothesis to which we have referred. This was, we think, also a factor which made him unwilling to infer that Voyager was, immediately before

the collision, proceeding at the independent discretion of the Captain to take up plane guard station following the flying course signal rather than acting pursuant to the last turning signal. We think it is implicit in his unwillingness to draw this inference that he was conscious that it necessaril y involved Captain Stevens in a

type of human error or inadvertence which did not square with the as sumption he made of him, that he was a very competent destroyer Captain (and ex hypothesi necessarily fully exercising that high degree of competency at the time of the collision). Although Sir John Spicer did not make a definite finding that Voyager

was executing the turning signal and not taking up plane guard station inde­ pendently, that view (as we will suggest), is implicit in several passages in the Report. The adoption of that view necessarily involved, as a corollary, that the turning signal was misunderstood as an order to turn to some course in the order

of 250° to 270° (since that was Voyager's heading immediately before the colli­ sion). For reasons which we give in detail in Section 4 of this Part, it also involved imputing to Captain Stevens negligence in his command of a degree which for ourselves we do not think could reasonably be imputed to him.

It is apparent from the foregoing, that the implicit assumption made by Sir John Spicer that the late Captain Stevens could not have been other than fit and alert and therefore capable of exercising the high degree of skill and experience in manoeuvres of this kind undoubtedly materially affected his views on matters going to the very heart of his Inquiry, viz:

( 1) why Voyager shortly before the di saster turned to and maintained a collision course with Melbourne; (2) whether Voyager in so doing was proceeding at discretion to take up plane guard station pursuant to the flying course signal or was purporting to

execute the last turning signal. There are several findings in the Report (i ncluding the findings adverse to Captain Robertson) which are closely related to Sir John Spicer's views on these matters.

It follows that our findings in answer to Question I displacing the assumption that Captain Stevens could not have been other than fit and alert at the time of the di saster, require us to make a critical examination of Sir John Spicer's findings over a fairly wide field for the purpose of considering whether they should (within the scope of our authority as we have held it to be) be varied.

It was urged upon us that the material findings made by Sir John Spicer substantially depended upon the credibility he attached to the witnesses he heard and that for this reason we should not interfere with them. But a close examination of his Report shows that Sir John Spicer made very few definite findings of fact

based on his acceptance of specific oral testimony. And such conclusions and views as he expresses in his Report on the possible causes of the collision are in the main based on inference. Once it appears that his line of reasoning in drawing or

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faili ng to draw a particular inference from th e primary facts established by the evidence is materially affected by the assumption which our findings displace, then it becomes our duty to consider for ourselves whether that particular inference should or should not be drawn.

SECTION 3-THE ESSENTIAL FINDINGS MADE BY SIR J OHN SPICER

We shall now attempt for the purposes of our consideration of Question 2 (b) to summarise the essential findings of fact made by Sir John Spicer relating to the immediate circumstances of the collision, and what appear to us to be the necessary implications in vo lved in them. We leave aside for the moment uncontested

prel iminary and 'background facts', hi s vie ws on the several theories of causation ad vanced, and his critici ms directed to the conduct of Captain Robertson. In this su mmary we have found it convenient to begin with the clearly established finding a to the angle of impact and th e respective headings of the two vessels immediately before the collision. We th en go on to summarise Sir John Spicer's findings as to

the movements of the vessels at ea rlier points of time and the necessary

implications that follow. Our summary is as follows:

(I) ' (t)he angle of impact measured from the stern of Melbourne to

the stern of Voyager was between 90° and 100°, the heading of Mel­ bourne was 020°, and the heading of Voyager at the time of impact was between 280° and 290° immediately before the collision 'hard

astarboard' was ordered on Voyager and th at order probably had some effect on Voyager's course. Prior to the order Voyager's heading may ha ve been 270° or thereabouts.' ('Spicer Report', p. 7.)

(2) Pr:or to (the) order 'hard astarboard' Voya.{!er was on a ·steady course for a minute or less' (p. 10) or a 'short time' ('Spicer Report', p. 23 ) . That course according to the finding in para. 1 must have been in the order of 270°.

(3) Melbourne was teady on the course of 020° fo r a minute or less before impact ('Spicer Report', p. 9). It is not clear whether Sir John Spicer in usi ng the ex pression 'minute more or less' in relation to both vessels intended to mean that each was steady on course for the same tim e. 1t should be noted that if this is so

Voyager must have stead ied on a course of 270° about 20 econds before Melbourne steadied on a course of 020° (assuming Voyager went bard astarboard 20 seconds before impact).

(4) Both Melbourne and Voyager had by 2050 hours (6 minutes before impact) steadied on a course of 060° in response to a ' turn together' signal given at 2047 hours (dul y acknowledged by Voyager) . M elb ourne steadied on course for about four minutes ('Spicer Report', pp. 6, 9).

There is no express finding that Voyager also steadied on the course of 060 o for about four minutes but th i must have been so.

(5) At 2053 hours (i.e. 3 minutes before the collision) an 'immediate execute' signal to turn together to 020° was given and acknowledged by Voyager.

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Melbourne turned from 060° to 020° in about 1 minute 30 seconds ('Spicer Report', pp. 6, 9). Sir John Spicer assumed that Voyager would have completed the tum in the same time if they have been turning together pursuant to the last turning signal ('Spicer Report', p. 11 ) . ( 6) Prior to steadying on the course of 2 70 o or thereabouts Voyager had

been turning to port pursuant to an order for I oo port wheel. Immediately prior to that order being given Voyager had briefly turned to starboard pursuant to an order for 15 o starboard wheel ('Spicer Report', p. 7, pp. 22-23).

Sir John Spicer made no express finding as to how long before impact Voyager turned to starboard and then to port, but it is necessarily implicit in hi s findings that this was after the order to execute a turning sign al from 060° to 020° was given (attributed to 2052 hours by the Ship"s Log and 2053 hours by the Tactical Operator's Log). 0) The final signal (which was a signal giving the estimated flying course

at 020°) was given later than 2053 hours and therefore Voyager's final movements were not induced by it ('Spicer Report', p. 9). { 8) Sir John Spicer said: 1 do not think the evidence justifies me in reaching a firm conclusion that

Voyager's final turn to starboard and her subsequent turn to port took place

as a result of the final turning signa l. I incline to the view that it did. [p. 9]

It would seem however to be a necessary conclusion from the finding summarised in Par. 7 that Voyager's fatal 10 ° turn to port (and the immedi ately preceding 15 ° turn to starboard) were induced by the laq turning signal (turn 020° from 060°). There are other passages in the

R eport which suggest that Sir John Sp icer took the view that Voyager in her final movement was not proceeding to take up plane guard station pursuant to the flying signal but was purporting to execute th e la st turning signal. At p. 8 he interpreted the rem arks he found Captain Robertson made to Commander Kelly as meaning th at Voyager's turn to starboard was an incorrect movement in response to the turning signal. And it would seem to be implicit in his cardinal finding as to the primary cause of the collision '. that the collision was caused by reason of V a yager

making a turn beyond 020°' ('Spicer Report', p. 10). This is to say that she should have turned to a course of 020° and steadied on it-consistent only with acting pursuant to a turning signal. There are several passages in the section of the Report at pp. 10-12 headed 'Primary Cause of the Collision' which seem to imply that Sir John Spicer's view was that

Voyager's final movement was made pursuant to the last turning signal and not to the final flying course signal. At p. 16 in discussing Captain Robertson's conduct Sir John Spicer refers to both assumptions. It is at least clear that even if a finding that Voyager was acting in execution of

the last turning signal is not necessarily implicit in Sir John Spicer's findings, he was not prepared to find that she was proceeding at discretion to take up plane guard station pursuant to the final flying signal. (9) If (as we think), it is implicit in Sir John Spicer's findings that Voy ager

was acting in purported pursuance of the signal to turn from 060° to 020°, it must necessarily follow that the turning signal was misinterpreted on the bridge of Voyager as a signal to turn to a course much beyond 020° -in the order of 270°. This in our view is an inescapable inference.

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The only other possibilities would involve either a deliberate suicidal act in turning beyond 020° knowing that Melbourne would steady on a course of 020 ° or incredibly gross negligence in failing to comply with the order and not steadying on 020°. These possibilities must obviously be excluded. ( 10) Making due allowance for difficulties in appreciating that Melbourne had

steadied on a course of 020° instead of turning beyond it (as those on Voyager's bridge wrongly assumed she would) , the 'erroneous turning signal hypothesis' means that after Melbourne steadied on a course of 020 o, Voyager continued to tum to port through 11 oo to the point of

impact in ignorance of Melbourne's position, until about 20 seconds before impact when the order hard astarboard was given.

We believe that this summary in ten paragraphs covers all the essential facts found by Sir John Spicer expressly an d the necessary implications that follow from those findings.

When Sir John came to consider these theories of causation or hypotheses and referred to numerous points that could be put for or against them, he felt himself unable firmly to accept any theory and made no finding as to the cause of Voyager proceeding on a collision course. On the face of the Report he accepted the sub­ mission that Counsel for the Naval Board (Mr Norman Jenkyn, Q.C., as he then was) put to him (and which was put again to us by Mr P. Murphy, Q.C., for the present Board):

. . . the collision was caused because V oyager, under a duty to keep clear of the

Melbourne, which had the right of way, turned across the bow of Melbourne. The reasons tha t prompted Voyager's actions are unknown and are incapable on the evidence of being established by proper legal inference. The so lution still remains as it was when the Commission started, that is, in the realm of conjecture, and the cause of the collision is inexplicable.

In the absence of evidence from the Captain of Voyager or from any officer on her bridge or from any of Voyager's records, it is no doubt true to say that it is impossible to reach a completely certain conclusion as to the essential cause of the collision. But it by no means follows that the cause must remain completely in the field of conjecture. We will develop this in the following Section.

SECTION 4- A DETAILED EXAMINATION OF SIR JOHN SPICER'S FINDINGS AND VIEWS RELATING TO THE CAUSE AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE COLLISION

(a) THE REJECTION BY SIR JoHN SPICER OF CAPTAIN RoBERTSON' s 'SECOND THEORY' OF THE CAUSE OF THE COLLISION

The assumption made by Sir John Spicer that Captain Stevens was fit

It will be convenient first to refer in more detail to the assumptions made by Sir John Spicer about Captain Stevens himself and their relation to his rejection of the 'second theory' advanced by Captain Robertson to explain the collision. This was the theory which he put forward as an explanation why Captain Stevens could not have realised Voyager was on a collision course with Melbourne; a mistaken belief by him that Voyager was on Melbourne's port bow. We have referred in Section 2 to this as one of two possible explanations. As we have also

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said, .Sir John rejected this explanation in favour of the only other possbile explanation i.e., that Voyager was acting on a garbled turning signal. We make thi the starting point of this detailed examination of his findings and views hecause it is in the primary ground for his rejection of this theory, namely that

it imputed an error to Captain Stevens inconsistent with the assumption he made of him, that we find the essential link between our new findings in relation to Captain Stevens' unfitness to retain command of Voyager and Sir John's reasoning.

Sir John Spicer gave other reasons for rejecting this theory and for preferring the 'garbled turning signal' theory and it will of course be necessary for us to examine the validity of these reasons. This will involve some criticism of Sir John's findings on grounds which are unrelated to the question of Captain Stevens' fitness

to command, but which we think with respect arise within the framework of the Report itself. We should emphasise that all this becomes our plain duty once we are satisfied (as we are) that essential findings and views in the Report are vitiated by the erroneous assumption as to Captain Stevens' fitness to command (as it now

turns out in the light of new evidence) which Sir John made.

Sir John Spicer found that Captain Stevens 'was thoroughly familiar with the l ! pe of manoeuvre in wh ich Voyager was er.gaged at the tim e of the collis ion' and that ' be was a very competent destroyer captain and had had con­

siderable experience in manoeuvring with carriers'. ('Spicer Report', p. 3). He also said: Captain Stevens . . . bad been at sea during most of 1963 . During that year be

had on many occasions carried out the very type of exercise which was being under­ taken on the night of the collision. From the point of view of recent seagoing

experience he was, therefore, the most experienced officer engaged in the operation. No poss ible criticism can be directed against his appointment as Captain of Voyager. ['Spice r Report', p . 28]

During the 'First Voyage r Commission' Captain Robertson advanced two theories to explain the collision, the second of which he preferred to the first ('Spicer Report', p. 23). The second theory was that whilst Voyager was altering her course to port from 060° to 020° in response to the final turning signal, Voyager correctly

received and proceeded to execute a further signal (which was a flying course signal). This was the last signal which passed from Melbourne to Voyager and it was acknowledged by Voyager. Captain Robertson's theory was that Voyager may have thought that at this stage she was on the course of 020° but directly ahead

of Melbourne; that Captain Stevens' first reaction was to alter course to starboard but shortly thereafter decided that Voyager should go to port and therefore altered course to port. This theory bad to allow for an error of observation by Captain Stevens in thinking that Voyager was on the port bow of Melbourne as she was turning when in fact she was on the starboard bow. Sir J obn Spicer said: 'It is difficult to believe that a Captain of the experience of Captain Stevens made the error suggested . ' ('Spicer Report', pp. 23-4).

Sir John Spicer felt that there were other obstacles to the validity of this theory, which we shall discuss later, but it is clear that he primarily based his rejection of it upon the competence and experience of Captain Stevens, because he made the assumption, quite naturally on the basis of the evidence adduced in the 'Spicer Commission', that there could never be any question but that Captain Stevens on

10 February 1964 was fully fit to exercise his competence and experience on the evening of that day. Although, upon the evidence, Captain Stevens appeared to be going about his duties quite normally on that night, the question as to whether he

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was completely fit in the full sense of that word or whether at the relevant time he was suffering the onset of the symptoms of fatigue, pain or nausea which, as we have shown, can make their appearance quite suddenly in a person with an 'ulcer condition', will never be known, as such symptoms are purely subjective. The events of the week which preceded the evening of the collision, however, and especially the length and continuity of the exercises carried out from some time shortly after 7.30 a.m. until 8.56 p.m. on 10 February 1964, can be said to be consistent with a resurgence of that defect in his physical well-being which had troubled him over the past thirteen months. The assumption made by Sir John Spicer was not expressed as such by him in his Report, but it is undoubtedly implicit in his acceptance of the competence and experience of the Captain as a ground for his rejection of the theory of Captain R obertson. In light, however, of a great body of evidence in this Commission and the findings of fact made by us in answer to Question 1, such an assumption should not have been made. For this reason alone we have

fe lt that it was open to us to adopt the approach to Sir John Spicer's R eport which we have outlined above.

We now turn to Sir John Spicer's further reasons for rejecting Captain Robertson's theory. At p. 24 he said: . . . it seems to me to involve the proposition that he proceeded to underta ke

the movement to ta ke up his pla ne gu a rd position before he had completed th e

turn he was directed to make by the final turning signal. It further as umes that the wheel was kept on port 10 °, and is inconsistent with th e vie w that V oy ager had

steadied prior to th e collision.

Sir John Spicer's view that 'Voyager's' movements bringing her on to the course

of 270° were induced by the final turning signal.

already emphasised,

The matter which is essentially bound up with all these reasons for Sir John Spicer's rejection of Captain R obertson 's th eory, is hi s preference for the view that Voyager's move ­ ments which brought her on the course of 270° were induced by the final turning sig nal. That of course is entirely incon­ sistent with Captain R obertson's theory and , as we have necessarily assumes that the turning signal was garbled.

The first thing to note about the 'turning signal' theory is that Sir John did not firml y ad opt it. He said : ' I do not think the evidence justifies me in reac hing a firm conclusion that Voyager's final turn to starboard and her subseq uent turn to port took place as a result of the final turning signal. I incline to the '. iew that it did' (Spicer Report', p. 9); and, in stating his conclusion as to the primary cause of the collision, he put it this way: 'It can be said , I thin k, that th co11i sion

was caused by reason of Voyager maki ng a turn beyond 020°' ('Spicer Report '. p. 10) . H e wen t on to observe: 'It is not possible to form an y firm conclusion a to why Voyager did this. It is not easy to understand how th e colli sion

could have occurred if an effective lo okout were being maintained on Voyager' ('Spicer Report', p. 10). In hi s Report Sir John refers to evid ence th at shortly after the flying course signal was received Captain Stevens was down at th e chart table ('Spicer Report', p. 11) . The evidence of Lieutenant Tuke, R.N. ,

at the present inquiry strongly suggests that Captain Stevens, if at the chart table, was endeavouring to elucidate a signal (which had been received on Voyager about half an hour before the collision) containi ng a message wh ic h Tuke had been requested to decipher, but was unable to do so and which had been returned by Tuke to the Captain on the bridge not very long before the collision. This was a 'priority' message of a type which Captain Stevens, as a matter of practice, required to be answered within an hour unless a good rea on fo r not

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doing ' so could be given. But the receipt of this message (the ongm of which could never be traced) did not constitute such a grave emergency as would justify Captain Stevens ceasing to keep close watch upon Melbourne when the carrier and Voyager were in close company and at night executing a turn together. It was

not a signal which emanated from Melbourne and it had no bearing on the opera­ tions then in progress between the two ships. To keep such a watch is a matter of absolute duty except in a dire emergency, e.g., fire on board, heart-attack of captain (as was made plain by the evidence of Rear-Admirals Peek, Gatacre and

McNicoll) . As Rear-Admiral McNicol! said in evidence, 'At any time that he is at risk I would expect him to watch the carrier all the time'. When asked whether it would be unusual for the Captain to be at the chart table in these circumstances, Rear-Admiral McNicol! replied: '(l ) t would be unusual unless he was convinced

that he was in fact steering away from the carrier' (p. 3926). Another 'poss i­ bility' for the diversion of Captain Stevens' attention envisaged by Sir John was th at the Captain was consulting the signal book as to the effect of the flying cour e signal ('Spicer Report', p. 11). This again would never justify the abandonment by him of a watch upon Melbourne unless he was satisfied that both vessels had

completely and accurately complied with the turning signal. It would be a case for Voyage r to obtain signal clarification from the carrier. Thus, for Sir John to have contemplated that during a turn together the collision was caused by Captain <;:te- vens fail ing in his strict duty of watching Melbourne throughout the turn. is to

impute a degree of error by the Captain in the performance of his duties far greater than the fault of the Captain which he declined to entertain in relation to Captain Robertson's second theory. Whilst the possibility exists that Captain Stevens was, by reason of his 'ulcer condition', not his competent self on that occasion, it is far

easier to suppose that he would have attempted to perform his basic duty of keeping watch on the carrier during a turn together rather th an that he would have failed to keep watch at all; and that supposition is consistent with his condition as it was obse rved by a number of witnesses on Voyager that night.

T he persistence of · 'oyager's wheel on

port 10° as a ground

for rejection of the

theOJ1'·

The next obstacle to Captain Robertson's theory in Sir John's mind was that it 'assumes that the wheel (of

Voyager) was kept on port 10°' ('Spicer Report', p. 24) . Sir John Spicer rejected-and with respect, we think, rightly rejected any suggestion that Voyager's wheel was kept on port 10° through sheer inadvertence ('Spicer Report', p. 24). The keeping of the

wheel on part 10 ° (so far as it may be in vo ked as a reason for rejecting Captain Robertson's theory) must be regarded in the light of its possible inconsistency with Captain Robertson's assertion that Voyager was not turning together with the carrier. but acting at discretion in going to plane guard station No. I in the belief

that she was on the port beam of M elbourne. The retention of the wheel on port I oo beyond 020° is inconsistent with a turn together to 020°. The evidence is that rrior to the collision Melbourne had completed her turn from 060° to 020° and had steadied on the course of 020° prior to the collision for a period which , accord­ ing to various witnesses, varied from between 2 to 6 minutes; the preponderance

of the evidence favoured 3 to 4 minutes. Sir John Spicer said: 'I think a conclusion is justified that M elbourne was steady on the cour e of 020° shortly before the collision. Here again the fixation of exact time is not possible but I would conclude that she was steady on course for a minute-more or Jess' ('Spicer Report', p. 9).

This can only be an inference drawn from evidence which prescribed, as a mini­ mum, a time of 2 minutes (see pp. 5428-32). It was submitted on behalf of

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Captain Robertson that the time could not have been less than 1 minute and that the only inference capable of being drawn legitimately from the evidence was at least 2 minutes. That is a submission which we feel compelled to accept. In these circum­ stances it is impossible to reconcile the finding that the wheel of Voyager was deliberately kept on port 1 oo with the concept that she was executing a turn together with Melbourne, because it was Voyager's duty to maintain her true bearing and distance from the carrier and to turn, as far as possible, parallel with the carrier with the natural result that one would not turn to the signall ed course to any greater degree than the carrier. The persistence with wheel of port

10 ° is, however, consistent with Voyager believing herself to be on the port beam of Melbourne and taking herself well to port of Melbourne as a preliminary to putting on more port wheel to take up her station position which was 20° out on Melbourne's port quarter. Accordingly, the keeping of Voyager's wheel on port

1 oo is favourable to the adoption of Captain Robertson's second theory and not an argument for its rejection.

Sir John Spicer's finding that 'Voyager' was steady on

course for a minute more or less.

We now come to Sir John Spicer's finding that

Voyager had steadied on course (of 270° ) for a minute more or less prior to the collision. It is difficult to conceive any manoeuvre to take up plane guard station which would involve Voyager pursuing a straight course of 270° for a minute, and no doubt the finding that she steadied on course for that length of time is, in itself, inconsistent with Captain Robertson's theory. The finding is also as we see it the essential finding on which Sir John Spicer based his criticism of Captain Robertson in his failure to give a warning signal. Sir John Spicer in his Report said:

I have already indica ted that twenty seconds or so before impact the order 'bard astarboard' was given and had some effect.

I think the evidence justifies a conclusion that prior to that order Voyager was on a steady course for a minute m ore or less. There is some evidence the other way but the preponderance of evidence, in particula r from those who were in V oyager, indicates a steady course for a short period. ['Spicer Report', p . 10]

By the phrase 'steady course' in its context it seems clear that Sir John intended to convey the idea of a straight course and not a course constituted by a constant curve in the same degree of turn. Sir John drew the conclusion that the course upon which Voyager was steady for a minute more or less up to about 20 seconds prior to the collision 'may have been 270° or thereabouts'; 'that the heading of

Melbourne' (at impact) 'was 020°, and that the heading of Voyager at the time of impact was 280 ° or 290°'; that the alteration in the course of Voyager from 270° at the point of time 20 seconds before impact to 280° or 290° at impact was caused by the order 'hard astarboard'; and that '. the angle of impact measured from the stern of M elbourne to the stern of Voyager was between 90°

and 100°' ('Spicer Report', p. 7). At approximately 2056 hours M elbourne struck Voyager more or less amidships and cut Voyager in two ('Spicer R eport', p. 2). The last turning signal sent by Melbourne to Voyager for immediate execu­ tion, and which was acknowledged, was despatched at 2053 hours when both vessels were steady on a course of 060° ('Spicer Report', p. 6). The turn together was from 060° to 020°. This turn would have taken '. a period of some

90 seconds' ('Spicer Report', p. 11) and the course of 020° would accordingly have been reached at approximately 90 seconds before the collision.

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The fallacy in the finding that Voyager was on a straight course of 270° for a period of 'one minute more or less' up to about 20 seconds before the collision can be seen when the propositions upon which it is based are analysed as follows: (i) Voyager was on course 060° at 2053 hours when she was given the signal

to turn to course 020°; ( ii) T he tu rn from 060° to 020° took Voyager 90 seconds ( H minutes). (iii) Therefore, Voyager arrived at course 020 ° at 2053 hours plus 90 seconds, namely, at 2054 hours 30 seconds.

( iv) The collision took place at 2056 hours and Voyager was on course 270° at 20 seconds before the impact, that is to say, at 2055 hours 40 seconds. (v) If Voyager had been on course 270° for a minute more or less the n she must have reached that course at approximately 2054 hours 40

seconds i.e. 2055 hours 40 seconds less (approximately) one minute. (vi) Accordingly, Voyager must have changed her course from 020° (where she was at 2054 hours 30 seconds) to course 270° at 2054 hours 40 seconds in approximately 10 seconds.

Thus Voyager, if she was on a straight course of 270° for a minute more or less up to point of time which was about 20 seconds before impact, was able in about 10 seconds to change course from 020° to 270° whereas it took Voyager 90 seconds to change from 060° to 020°. The latter is a change of

40 degrees, the former is a change of 110°; and it must be remembered that the evidence is that throughout this manoeuvre both these changes of direction were effected with the same degree of wheel, namely, port 10°. This, of course, would be quite impossible to achieve.

The 'evidence' to which Sir John referred as justifying a steady course of 270° for Voyager for a minute more or less came from five witnesses who varied the time from 2 to 3 minutes to less than 1 minute. Having regard to the disaster which so quickly followed, these statements are merely impressions of time and

the only inference to be drawn, if their evidence as to a steady course is

accepted, is that it lasted for a very short period before impact. There was evidence against the steady course from a number of witnesses. It seems to us that all the evidence amounts to is that for some brief period of time prior to the collision Voyager did steady on course and that is, of course, consistent with the

order 'hard astarboard' given 20 seconds or so prior to impact.

Sir John Spicer attached considerable im portance to the evidence of Lieutenant-Commander Dadswell as indicating that Voyager was on a steady course 'for a short period' prior to the impact ('Spicer Report', p. 10). If 'a short period' were to be read as '20 seconds' Dadswell's evidence must be regarded

as acceptable; but if it is to be read as indicating a period of one minute or more, we think that its value needs much closer scrutiny, although we hasten to say that any criticism of his evidence is not to be construed in any way as an attack upon his honesty. The difficulties in the way of drawing the inference from his evidence as to the longer period of the straight course lies in his capacity of observation from the view which he had of the collision. On the night of the collision

Dadswell piloted a Gannet aircraft which was due to take part in a 'touch and go' exercise with Melbourne. He had received the flying course of 020° from Melbourne when he 'had about 10 miles to go at about 200 knots'. He stated that he

observed the wakes of the two vessels in the last few moments before the

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collision. On his return to base he drew a sketch of them which was not retained but about one week later he drew another diagram of them which is Appendix 3 to the 'Spicer Report'. Sir John said: 'The wakes shown in the diagram are not to scale. They are purely an impression.' As to Voyager, Dadswell 5aid in evidence

' the wakes were close together and Voyager did something, but she

definitely was on a bard turn and she straightened out'. He had difficulty in indicating the distance for which she straightened but in answer to a question by me said: 'It was certainly well under a mile, it was Jess than a mile'. Now Dadswell was flying on instruments at 400 feet at 200 knots (which we were informed was 215 or 220 miles per hour). In Appendix 3, according to Dadswell, the 'wakes are not drawn to scale. They are purely recollection. The ship is drawn to scale and my track is drawn to scale because I knew that is where I went, but the wakes are purely an impression'. An examination of his evidence

and Appendix 3 shows that his impression of the wakes must have been obtained in an interval of a few seconds, interrupted by some attention to his aircraft and by the appearance of an ·explosion low down on Melbourne's port bow. It was like a ball of fire which appeared, lit up the water, and

then disappeared just as quickly as that. He then flew across the wake of Voyager which he says he saw 'very clearly' and which he described as follows: 'It appeared as a U shape terminating in the vicinity of Melbourne's position. The wake seemed a regular curve towards Melbourne.' lt was then be said that ' Voyager did something, but she was definitely on a hard turn and she straightened out'. It will, accordingly, be observed that Dadswell's evidence fits the contention

that Voyager was on a continuous curving course and that she straightened out before the collision by the application of 'hard astarboard' to the rudder position of port 10°. The only query could be-for how long did she proceed on the straightened course after 'bard astarboard'? The sketch in Appendix 3 drawn from recollection in the circumstances outlined and not to scale is of no real

assistance. The reply to Sir John that such distance was ' certainly

well under a mile ' is indicative of Dadswell's lack of certainty, very

natural in the circumstances. Sir John said that ' the revolutions of

Voyager's engines for more than 5 minutes prior to the collision were those appropriate for a speed of 21 knots'. At this speed, as the effect of the order to put both engines 'full ahead' made no appreciable difference, the distance travelled by Voyager in approximately 20 seconds on the 'bard turn' (hard astarboard from port 10 °) was slightl y in excess of 100 yards. In these circum­ stances and in light of the countervailing evidence, we could not accept the evidence of Dadswell as es tabli shing that Voyager travelled for approximately a minute on a

straight course until 20 seconds before the collision ; in fact , we think that, if anything, his evidence points the other way .

Sir John Spicer also states ('Spicer Report', p. 10) that Captain Robertson's first report in writing made on 11 February 1964 to F .O.C.A.F. is consistent with the idea that Voyager was on a straight course for one minute more or less. This report contains a sketch which is Appendix 2 to the 'Spicer Report'. The steady

course, according to Sir John, is shown on this sketch for a distance of about 2t cables. Sir John said: 'It is a preliminary sketch stated to be "not necessarily to scale" but does, I think, illustrate the nature of the Captain's recollection at that stage'. The sketch shows the turn to starboard and the turn to port; it then

shows a line which appears to be a very slight curve from th e point of the port turn to the heading of Voyager at impact. It was stated from the bar table that the

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was made by Acting Commander Kelly. The Report simply concludes with

the words: 'A sketch to illustrate the above is attached'. However, the Report itself (see Exhibit 148 Voyager 1), after referring to the turn of Voyager to starboard and then coming back to course, proceeds (see Paragraph 10) :

When he turned back to the original course I assessed that he was slowing down remaining on this course rather than turning further outwards. When he continued to tum to port I was at a loss to understand what his intentions were.

To ·continue to port' is a phrase more apt to describe a curving course than a straight course. But it cannot be inferred from the sketch or the report that Voyager was on a straight course for one minute or more. The Report does not give any distance or times for the turn to port and the sketch, being expressly stated as

not to scale, cannot be used to obtain them .

In these circumstances, we are unable, with respect, to regard any of the reasons advanced by Sir John Spicer for rejecting the second theory of Captain Robertson as acceptable.

(b) AN EXAM INATION O F POSSIBLE E XPLANATIONS WHY Voyager CAME ON A CoLLISION CouRsE WITH MELBOURNE

If the second theory of Captain Robertson is not to be rejected as an

explanation, that is not to say that it should necessarily be accepted. The question is still: Why did Voyager turn into the path of Melbourne. To answer this requires an attempt to ascertain what was operating in the mind of Captain Stevens in taking a course into the path of the carrier. Let us examine the possibilities.

( 1) Was the Voyager taking course in response to the last 'turn together' signal i.e. from 060o to 020°?

(a) As the course taken involved a turn well beyond 020°, such a manoeuvre would have amounted to a flagrant disobedience of the signal or to gross negligence in carrying it out. Neither of these possibilities could be entertained.

(b ) The carrier would have been observed as not continuing to turn beyond 020°.

(c) The initial turn to starboard 15 ° would have been in a direction directly opposite to that ordered by the signal.

(d) A single application of port 10° wheel without any adjustment.

(2) Was the last 'turn together' signal corrupted in transmission ?

(a) The prime obstacle to this explanation (which is, as we have said, neces­ sarily involved in the adoption of the turning signal theory at all) is that there is no evidence of corruption in any of the signals. The evidence is all to the contrary. All signals were transmitted in a loud, clear voice. All

signals were acknowledged by Voyager and no explanations were asked for. The loudspeaker on Voyager's bridge was switched on and working efficiently.

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(b) Sir John Spicer ('Spicer Report', p. 7) discussed the possibility that the order to turn to 020° was mistaken by someone on Voyager for an order to turn to 270°, but he agreed that it was unlikely. He discarded any question of confusion with Melbourne's call sign '07' and pointed out that no one was able to suggest an explanation for this error. Sir John thought that a less unlikely error was a confusion of 200° to 220o

for 020°. But this is not a question of calculation; it is a question of a number of officers on the bridge of Voyager hearing a clear message on the loudspeaker and all making the same error which is not credible. A further obstacle to its acceptance, as Sir John pointed out, is that

if the mistake occurred in the order given by the officer of the watch to the quartermaster, there wo uld have been an application of the wheel far beyond the signalled course for a considerable period of time, without the movement being noticed by anyone on the bridge of Voyager.

(c ) Any explicable theory of corruption in the signal must be based upon a turn to port and this is inconsistent with the preliminary turn to

starboard.

(d) A corrupted signal of this nature would not necessitate Captain Stevens going to the chart table. It was, even on the assumption that it was corrupted, a 'turn together' signal, and th at required him to watch the carrier very closely throughout the turn except in some very grave

emergency of which there is no suggestion, and in any event the occurrence of such an emergency should have immediately been signalled to the ship in company, the carrier.

(e) If the signal was incomprehensible to those on the bridge of Voyager, it cannot be supposed that the officers engaged in a discussion as to its con­ tents sought no explanation from Melbourne, all the tim e leaving Voyager to continue a turn to port without watching the carrier.

(f) It is impossible to conceive that the bearing 020° in both the turning signal and the flying course signal was corrupted to 270°. A correctly received signal that the estimated flying course was 020°, given one minute after a corrupt signal to turn to 270°, must have immediately called for explana­ tion on the part of Voyager and none was sought.

(g) A single application of port 10° wheel without any adjustment.

(h) Both the turn to starboard and the turn to port were made, according to Captain Robertson who at this stage had Voyager under continuous observation, after Voyager had acknowledged the fl yi ng course signal.

For these reasons the idea that Voyager acted upon a corruption of the 'turn together' signal must clearly be rejected.

'Voyager's' 15° tum We have already observed that Sir John Spicer did not to starboard. come to the opinio n that Voyager's final turn to

and her subsequent turn to port took place as the result of the final turning signal as a firm conclusion. He said: 'I incline to the view that it did' ('Spicer Reoort', p. 9). He recognised the difficulty in Voyager turning to starboard at all if her movement was induced by the turning signal ('Spicer Report', p. 8) and he rejected

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explawtions which were advanced to endeavour to get over this aspect of the operation as a naval manoeuvre to adjust station position. We think that it is true to say that, on the assumption of a movement in response to the last turning signal, the turn to starboard was left unexplained. But one matter did tend Sir John towards

the notion that the turn to starboard was consistent with obedience to the last turning signal, and that we will proceed now to deal with, pointing out, however, that it is not derived from the terms of the turning signal itself either in an uncorrupted, corrupted or misunderstood form and that it received no support from

any naval navigational practice or procedure. Tbis is a comment by Captain Robertson to Commander Kelly ('Spicer Report', p. 8) which in Sir John's opinion was ' appropriate if the turn followed the turning signal but

difficult to understand if it followed the flying course signal'. The comment was : 'What is Voyager doing turning to starboard?' The reasoning of Sir John Spicer as to this remark was as follows:

It seems to me that Captain Robertson would not have made this remark if the

turn to starboard bad followed the flying course signal because his view was, and is, that upon receipt of that signal V oyager was obliged to proceed to her proper position and, as I have already explained, the more appropriate means of proceeding to that position involved an initial turn to starboard.

Implicit in this reasoning, of course, is that Captain Robertson's comment was one of surprise that Voyager, in obedience to a turning signal which required a turn to port, should have turned to any degree to starboard.

We have examined the evidence of Captain Robertson, Commander Kelly and Sub-Lieutenant Bate at the First Voyager Commission. Captain Robertson denied that he was surprised. Neither Kelly nor Bate say that Captain Robertson was surprised either by tone of voice, inflexion of words or otherwise. Other versions

of the Captain's remark were given in evidence which could not bear the con­ struction that it was made by way of surprise, but we accept Sir John's finding of fact that what is quoted above was the actual form of words used. All three officers explained the remark as having been made after the flying signal to obtain unanimity between the Captain and the fleet navigation officer as to the correct

movemen t of Voyager in pursuance of that signal. lt was put as a usual naval practice for such a conversation as this to take place between a captain and a navigator to cross-check each other's impressions as to what was taking place. This does not appear to us to be unusual. It was a night operation. Sir John Spicer bas referred to the dangers which were inherent by stating ('Spicer Report', p. 11) tb:>t be '. emphasised that the two vessels were engaged in a manoeuvre

which, though comparatively elementary, was fraught with danger if there were any appreciable departure by either vessel from its proper course'; he also referr.::d to the importance of Voyager being in her correct position as the plane guard destroyer to pick up the crew of any aircraft which was forced to land in the water and that her presence there was essential for this purpose ('Spicer Report',

p. 26). That in itself could well dictate the prudent course of officers on Melbourne checking each movement of Voyager as between themselves and, of course, Captain Robertson was in overall control of the joint operations. But there is an additional reason why some question by way of check upon Voyager's movement

might be asked. The flying signal could be executed in a variety of ways and it would have been advisable for those on the carrier to have appreciated what course she was taking in order to comply with the signal. In these circumstances,

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and especially having regard to the fact that the turn to starboard is inexplicable in relation to the last turning signal, we do not think that Sir John was justified in drawing the inference which he was prepared to draw.

Sir John Spicer's Sir John Spicer stated that (a) further indica-

view that the time · f h · h" !Ion o t e signal w Ich prompted Voyager's final turn may between the flying course signal and the be provi ded by a consideration of the time when the final collision was too signal was in fact transmitted,' and he proceeded to make a short for 'Voyager's' series of time calculations which ultimately induced him to movements to have say: 'These considerations suggest that the final movement been influenced by was not induced by the final signal' i.e. the flying course the flying course signaL signal ('Spicer Report', pp. 8-9). The basis for these calcula-tions is the time records recorded in Melbourne only, as all such records in Voyager were lost in the disaster. He drew attention to the fact that there were discrepancies between two sets of recorded times on Melbourne, namely, those of the signals recorded in the Communication (or Tactical) Operator's Log and the movements of Melbourne as recorded in the Ship's Log which was accounted for by the different methods used in recording the respective times. For example, the Tactical Operator disregarded seconds attributing the relevant time to the minute currently expiring e.g. 2042 huurs remained 2042 hours until the minute hand reached 2043 hours. It will be observed that this method entails a possible error in the actual time of any event of 59 seconds. On the other hand, the ship's log recorded times to the nearest minute e.g. 2042 hours 29 seconds remained 2042 hours and 2042 hours 31 seconds became 2043 hours. lt will also be observed that this method entails a possible error of 30 seconds. Sir John also thought that it was probable that the Tactical Operator's watch was up to 20 seconds fast as compared with the ship's clock. It is plainly apparent that these different methods of time recording make reliance on brief segments of time an uncertain basis to ascertain! the precise moment of the happening of an event. For instance, both the Tactical Operator and the Sh ip's log record Melbourne's 'St and By-Execute' order to make th e first turn to course 020° as havi ng been sent at 2042 hours. This was the turn from course 190 ° to 020° and Sir John accepted this time as a commencement figure ('Spicer Report', pp. 5-6) and this is 14 minutes prior to the collision at 2056 hours. But, although the Tactical Operator's Log and the Ship's Log matched times at 2042, in the next 4-5 minutes th ere is a difference of one minute in the times respectively recorded by them, the time in the Ship's Log being one minute less than the time in that of the Tactical Operator: and this difference in the respective log times is thence­forth maintained. After referring to the fact that both logs recorded the turn from 190 ° to 020° as at 2042 hours, Sir John said: 'Without accepting that time, or indeed any of the other times with which I am here concerned, as strictly accurate, T take 2042 hours as a fair starting point' ('Spicer Report,' p. 8). Working forward from that time of 2042 hours Sir John built a time sequence and said ('Spicer Report', p. 9) : ' I am concerned to determine the time which necessarily expired while Voyager moved from an assumed course of 020° to the point of the collision.' He stated that the evidence, including the diagrams of Captain Robertson, supports the conclusion that it took Voyager some 2t to 3 minutes from the time port 10° wheel was put on to reach the point of collision. Sir John observed : 'It seems impossible to account for the collision upon the basis of a movement induced by the flying course signal if that signal was sent any later than 2053 hours. In my view the evidence indicates that it was later than that' ('Spicer p. 9). 192

An analy is of Sir John's time sequences taken from the 'Stand By-Execute' order at 2042 hous as his starting point, however, would appear to be as follows:

Event

'Stand By-Execute' turn from 190° to 020° Turn to 020° completed .

Melbourne steady on course of 020°

Immediate execute turn from 020° to 060° Turn to 060° completed .

Melbourne steady on course of 060 for 4 minutes Immediate turn from 060 to 020° Turn from 060, to 020 ' completed

Times Estimated by

Time Sir JoH SPICER

2042 hours

Elapsed to Complete Event

2047 hours 30 seconds 5 minutes 30 seconds ('Spicer Report', p. 8) 1 minute (Spicer Report', p. 8)

2048 hours 30 seconds 2050 hours I minute 30 seconds

2054 hours

('Spicer Report,' p. 8) 4 minutes ('Spicer Report', p. 9)

2055 hours 30 seconds I minute 30 seconds ('Spicer Report', p. II)

Flying signal (sent at or about time Melbourne 2055 hours 30 seconds steadying on course 020°)-('Spicer Report', p. 9)

At page 9 of his Report Sir John Spicer said that on the basis of the times h .... had attributed to various movements of Voyager the flying course signal was transmitted to Voyager ·,at or about the time when Melbourne was steadying on 020° for the last time and ' this would be in the region of 2054 hours

30 seconds, a time consistent with that recorded in the Tactical Operator's Log which on his method of recording time could be anything short of 2056 hours. The collision occurred at approximately 2057 hours.' But, as the Tactical Operator's Log shows the time of the turning signal from 060° to 020° as 2053 hours whereas

Sir John by his calculations fixes the time at 2054 hours, there is an obvious false relationship between the time noted in the Tactical Operator's Log and Sir John's time of 2054 hours 30 seconds for the flying course signaL There is in point of fact a mathematical error. The total of the periods of time assumed by

Sir John Spicer brings the final time to 2055 hours 30 seconds and not 2054 hours 30 seconds.

This mathematical error of itself invalidates the use of these calculations to establish that the flying course signal was given too late for Voyager to have responded to it. There is , of course, no time recorded in either the Ship's Log or the Tactical Operator's Log which supports the time of 2055 hours 30 seconds as

the time of the flying course signal. But since all the times included in the calculation are only estimates we think that with respect the calculation cannot possibly be relied upon to establish with any significant accuracy the time which elapsed between the giving of the flying course signal and the collision. The margin of error could be at least up to two minutes.

There are other considerations which show that the table (apart from the mathematical error to which we referred) cannot be correct: (i) If the 'Stand-By Execute' signal for Voyager to turn from course 060° to course 020° was sent at 2054 hours and if it took 1 minute 30 seconds

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to arrive from course 060° to course 020°, then Voyager commenced to move beyond course 020° towards the carrier at 2055 hours 30 seconds which is 30 seconds before the impact. Of this period of 30 seconds , approximately 20 seconds has been found to be absorbed in moving from a course of 270 ° to a course between 280° and 290° as a result of the order 'hard astarboard'. It would have to follow that Voyager had moved from the course 020° to the course 270° in a space of 10 seconds. This, as we have shown earlier herein, would have been impossible of achievement.

(ii) If all the relevant evidence points to the fact that it took Voyager from 2-l- to 3 minutes to reach the point of collision from the time when the port 10° wheel was put on ('Spicer Report', p. 9) then port 10° wheel was put on at 2053 hours 30 seconds or 2053 hours whereas on Sir John's timetable the signal for the immediate execution of the turn from 060° to 020° was not despatched to Voyager until 2054 hours. It would follow that Voyager bad commenced to turn to port without any signal

at all, and continued to turn to port whilst Melbourne was remaining steady on the course of 060° for a further 1 to 1 t minutes, although the immediate 'turn together' signal was for both Melbourne and Voyager to turn simultaneously.

(iii) Altho ugh Sir John Spicer found on the evidence before him 'that prior to her final turn to port, Voyager turned to starboard', his timetable appears not to include any allowance for this operation. This starboard turn was the result of the order given on Voyager for starboard 15 ° rudder and was a change of course taken after his starting point of 2042 hours. But it was probably discarded by Sir John as the course pursued by Voyager was continued only for a very brief period. But the turn was from course 060° to course 075 ° upon which she steadied for a few seconds, and it was at this stage that port 10° rudder was put on. Hence the degree of turn, which was from that point onwards a continuous tum

to port, to the course 270° was an additional 15 ° to the 110° from 020° to 270°. If the turning signal to effect a change of. course from 060° was given at 2054 hours, it does not appear to be conceivable that Voyager could have turned from 060° to 075 ° and from the latter course back to

270° in time to close the gap between and collide with Melbourne within a space of two minutes. It would seem to follow necessarily th at the turn to starboard and the reversal of the wheel to port 10° took place after the turn from the course 060° to the course 020° had bee n completed or had almost been completed by Voyager.

(iv) From the passage from Sir John's Report at p. 9 which we have earlier cited it appears that he found that the flying course signal was sent 'when Melbourne was steadying on 020° for the last time'. He had concluded that Melbourne was steady on 020° 'shortly before the collision;' he found that the exact fixation of time was not possible but he concluded

'that she was steady on course for a minute-more or less' ('Spicer Report', p. 9). We have already drawn attention to the fact that this was an inference drawn from evidence which gave the minimum period for this passage of time as 2 minutes and that the preponderance of

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the evidence favoured 3 to 4 minutes. We do not think that upon the evidence the inference of approximately one minute could, on that evidence, properly be drawn. (We pause here to note that Captain Robertson in Para. 23 in his report to FOCAF dated 5 March 1964 says that he sent the flying course signal 'when Melbourne was just steadying on the new course' of 020° although he adopts as the time

of the despatch of that signal 2054 hours which he takes from the Tactical Operator's Log.) According to Sir John's es timate of times, Melbourne would have been steadying on course 020° at 2055 hours 30 seconds so that the flying signal was sent only 30 seconds before the

collision and, although such signal was acknowledged by Voyager, she still persisted on continuing to turn into Melbourne on port 10° wheel. But it was not due to the receipt of the flying course signal that any alteration of course was made by Voyager but because the Officer of the Watch on Voyager, looking through his binoculars, was surprised by Melbourne's position into giving the orders which were an attempt to

avoid the imminent collision. It would be curious indeed if a half a minute were to go by before Voyager made any attempt to obey the flying course signal inasmuch, as we have rejected the idea that the signal needed either further clarification or any further order before

it was executed. Furthermore, it was accepted by Sir John that Captain Robertson was more or less continuously watching Voyager at the relevant time and he stated that Voyager turned to starboard without delay on receipt of the flying course signal (Transcript pages 2439, 2678 and

2742, Voyager I); Robertson's preliminary report P. 5 and final report Para. 24 ) .

The impossibility of accurately plotting the course of 'Voyager'.

We are of the opinion, that these reasons demonstrate that it is impossible to arrive at the times at which the respec­ tive movements of both ships took place with any such pre­ cision as would satisfactorily explain their manoeuvres in the events which immediately led up to the collision in a time span which is so

limited that fractions of a minute are taken into account. The logs of

Melbourne herself are themselves inconsistent and because of the human element also, do not take into account time lags in the receipt and transmission of orders, messages and acknowledgments so that the requisite degree of accuracy is missing. The records of Voyager which may have been used by way of a check were lost

in the collision. Hence any attempt to use the times available to plot the events of that evening is, we think, based on a very shaky foundation and is an illusory exercise. We believe that the context of Sir John Spicer's Report shows that he . too, recognised to a great extent this difficulty.

A number of theories were advanced to explain the causes of the collision and there are difficulties which must be faced before there can be an unqualified acceptance of any of them. Various diagrams were drawn, including some by Captain Robertson, which plot the courses of the two vessels to the point of

impact and these include time data which purport to assign minutes and their fractions to each signal and to each movement of both ships. A considerable and praiseworthy amount of work has gone into their preparation but their value has really been to illustrate the theories which were expounded. They do not prove the theories to which they relate. They are reconstructions of the actions

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of Melbourne and Voyager and, because they correlate facts with assumptions of fact which cannot be regarded as reliable, they amount to no more than supposi­ tions of little real value.

An almost infinite variety of courses of Voyager may be plotted according to assumptions made of such uncertain and variable factors as the times taken to pass from one bearing to another, the times at which certain approximate bear­ ings were taken by the several witnesses, and the speed of Voyager at certain points. The truth is that it is only possible to obtain a broad picture of the course that Voyager must have taken after the turning signal 060° to 020° was given. We return to the basic consideration that the time which elapsed between the signal given to turn from 060° to 020° and the collision was in the region of three minutes. In that period of time Voyager had to :

(i) Turn from 060° to 020 °. (ii) Turn 15 ° to starboard. (iii) Having turned 15 ° to starboard (i.e. to 075 ° ) to turn through 020° to 270° (i.e. 110° plus 15 ° equals 125 ° ). (iv) After reaching the course of 270° she turned hard to starboard to 285 °

and collided at 2056 hours with Melbourne.

It is estimated that (i) took 90 seconds (assuming she turned together with M elbourne) and that (iv) took 20 seconds. We know that (iii) must have taken more than 90 seconds. When Voyager passed beyond 020° she was proceeding at discretion. Her turning circle was less than that of Melbourne and we do not know

her speed. It does not, therefore, follow that the time taken to pass through 125 ° was directly proportional to the time taken to pass through 40°. However one looks at it, it must have taken more than 90 seconds and that is about as far as one can go . A consideration of the movements to which we have referred suggests

that the time which elapsed between the signal to turn from 060° to 020° may have been four minutes. This indeed would be supported by the times recorded in the Ship's Log (turn 020° at 2052 hours-time of collision 2056 hours). Whatever margins one allows by way of permissible increase or reduction for the times of the respective movements, it is quite plain that in the result the Voyager could not have been steady on the course of 270° for a minute. We are of the opinion,

accordingly, that the use of times and diagrams are an unsafe guide to explain the events of 10 February 1964 and that they should be rejected.

(c) THE CAUSE OF COLLISION

For the reasons which we have set forth above we do not accept the proposi­ tions that Voyager was on a straight course of 270° for one minute more or less prior to the collision and that the final turning movements of Voyager by star­ board 15 ° and then by port 10° was induced by the final turning signal.

We think that the search for the true explanation of the reason for the impact between the ships must be made on safer grounds and these we find in the field of navigation. There is no dispute that each of the various signals to which the evidence refers ('Spicer Report', pp. 5-6) were given to Voyager and acknow­

ledged by her. There is abundant and reliable evidence that these signals were correctly transmitted, received and understood. The only evidence of a corrupt message being taken by Voyager that night is the one to which we have earlier

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referred in connection with Lieutenant Tuke, R .N., and which did not

come from Melbourne or relate to the manoeuvres of the two vessels. Sir John Spicer did not have the advantage of Tuke's evidence. Tuke was called in the present Inquiry, not upon the navigational aspects of 10 February 1964, but to give evidence relevant to the fitness of Captain Stevens that evening and upon other matters. But in accordance with a well-established principle his evidence,

in so far as it bears upon a corrupt message and the Captain's presence at the chart table, once given cannot be ignored. Captain Robertson was in tactical com­ mand of both ships and took Melbourne on a course to which no possible excep­ ti on could be taken. It is not suggested that he made any error in the actual

navigation of Melbourne or in the orders which he caused to be transmitted to Voyager. The criticism made of him lies in a failure to warn Voyager that he was where he was perfectly entitled to be, and where his signal indicated he would be. Captain Stevens was a competent and experienced destroyer captain well­ versed in the type of manoeuvres in which he was engaged and, presumably, with a clear understanding of the meaning of the signals transmitted to his ship which

would cause him to give the orders requisite for the proper execution by Voyager of these manoeuvres. Despite the danger which could easily arise if '. there were any appreciable departure by either vessel from its proper course', the manoeuvres were '. comparatively elementary' ('Spicer Report', p. 11). Subject to the question of the condition of Captain Stevens that night, there could

be no question of his capability to carry out what he was called upon to do. Both ships were suitable for the task in which they were engaged and they and their equipment were in a proper state of preparedness for the exercise ('Spicer Report', p. 27)./f, as was the case, there was no navigational error on the part of Melbourne,

such an error must be found in Voyager and the question becomes what was the nature of the error and how did it come to be commit ted. The first part of the question is simple enough. Voyager turned to port and, more importantly, kept turning to port continuously so that she drove directly into the path of Melbourne

instead of either keeping to the turn away from Melbourne to starboard, or reversing her wheel from port to starboard at a point which would permit Voyager to keep well clear of the track of Melbourne on the course 020°. The second part of the question is the crux of this section of our inquiry and this we

now proceed to consider.

If Voyager was not obeying the last 'turn together' signal , whether uncor­ rupted or corrupted, then, because it is not conceivable that Captain Stevens con­ sciously pursued a course independently of orders received from Melbourne, the conclusion must be that he acted in pursuance of the 'flying course' signal which

was the last signal received and acknowledged by Voyager and the error made in Voyager lies in its attempt to comply with that signal. Sir John Spicer pointed out that differing views were expressed in evidence as to the effect of this signal. He said:

The view of the aval Board and those who agree with it is that the initial signal

required Voyqger to take station relative to each new flying course immediately it was passed without the need for any further direction to take station. The other view is that such a direction was necessa ry. The evidence does not discl ose which view was held by Captain Stevens or other officers in Voyager. ['Spicer Report', p. 7]

The great preponderance of evidence favours the view that the form of such a signal requires action to be taken upon its receipt and does not require the send­ ing of a further signal such as 'Stand By- Execute'. Rear-Admiral Gatacre was

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the sole exponent of the need for a further execution signal. Captain Robertson, who was watching Voyager at the relevant time, says that, upon her receipt and acknowledgement of the flying course signal, she acted upon it without any delay and turned to starboard. That Captain Stevens took the same view of the effect of the signal as the Naval Board receives corroboration from the fact that Voyager originally made course to starboard by the wheel order starboard 15 o. Apart from the doubt as to the need for a further execution signal before it should be acted upon, which we have rejected as plainly against the evidence, the terms themselves of the flying course signal are clear and permit of no misunderstanding as to what was required of Voyager to execute it. As Voyager was on the starboard bow of the carrier, the course set by this order was clearly the correct one for Voyager in her then position and acting at discretion to proceed to plane guard station No. 1. But this wheel order was followed by a further wheel order, namely, port 1 oo. If Vovager, as she in fact was, were on the starboard bow of Melbourne, the order port 10° could only -be correct as a temporary adjustment of course in order to carry out what was a 'fish tail' manoeuvre; it would be completely incor­ rect if the wheel were to be kept to port 10° for any considerable length of time because it would, at best, bring Voyager across the bows of Melbourne, a pro­ cedure which no captain as experienced as Captain Stevens would carry out, at any rate, not without permission of the carrier. If, however, Voyager was on the port

bow of M elbourne, not only would a continuous course directed bv a wh ee l order of port 10° be an acceptable and safe course, but also the duty of Captain Stevens to keep a close and constant watch on Melbourne would be relieved and it wou ld be in order for him to go down to the chart table in order to endeavour to decipher the message which had hitherto defied the efforts of the signalman and Lieu­ tenant Tuke. For in those circumstances a continuous turn to port would be taking the destroyer further and further away from the carrier whose flying course for the impending aircraft operation had been given as 020°. as Voyager was not on the port bow but on the starboard bow of the carrier and inasmuch as the order of Voyager's rudder was maintained until about 20 seconds before the collision when, too late, the order 'hard astarboard' was given, in our opinion the actions of Voyager are explicable only on the basis that the bridge of Voyager had lost the tactical picture at the time when the order port 10° was given and that order was grounded in the belief that Voyager was on Melbourne's port bow.

It has been submitted that the change from starboard 15 ° to port 10° was the result of a countermand and could only have been given by Captain Stevens. It appears to us that this is likely; in any event the responsibility was his and his alone. It does not seem feasible that the Captain, being on the bridge and hearing an officer give these two contradictory orders within a short space of time, would not have taken steps to satisfy himself that the second order, port 10°, was (in his belief) the correct order so that that degree of rudder was left on.

It is beyond controversy, as we have already remarked, that the error in na vigation did not lie in any lack of knowledge or experience on the part of Captain Stevens as to what he was supposed to do in compliance with the flying course signal. We have expressed our satisfaction with the evidence that the signal was given to and acknowledged by Voyager free from any corruption and that its meaning would have been understood by the bridge of Voyager. It appears to us, therefore, that it follows that the navigational mistake made by Voyager by her

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constant adherence to the course set up by the port 10o wheel (after the initial wheel turn of starboard 15 °), could only have come about: (i) by a loss of the tactical picture by Captain Stevens at some time between the putting on of starboard 15 ° wheel and the alteration of course by the

putting on of port 1 oo wheel in the event that he gave both these orders or (ii) in the event that some officer on Voyager other than Captain Stevens authorised the turn of starboard 15 o, by a loss of the tactical picture by Captai n Stevens either before or after starboard 15 ° was put on so that

the order of port 1 oo wheel was given by him in either case by way of countermand of the earlier order by that officer or as a countermand by another officer with his acquiescence. By 'loss of the tactical picture', we mean that Captain Stevens had at either of

those times come to the belief that Voyager was on the port bow of Melbourne whereas, in fact, she was on her starboard bow. Three matters have been established by the evidence which seem to us to make this inference a compelling one.

Firstly: after the flying course signal had been received by Voyager and acknowledged by the Officer of the Watch, Tactical Operator Evans saw the Captain down at the chart table (Transcript pp. 890-1 Voyager I; 'Spicer Report', p. 11) which was a position in which the Captain would never be if

he believed Voyager was turning towards Melbourne; secondly: the constant course derived from port 10° which placed Melbourne right in the path of Voyager; and thirdly: after acknowledging receipt of the flying course signal Voyager did not

delay in turning to starboard (Transcript p. 2439, Voyager I). The loss of the tactical picture could arise by reason of an error of judgment, some confusion in the mental process in the course of the various turns and manoeuvres of the ship that night when Melbourne was searching for the wind to carry out

the touch and go exercises which had been in progress since about 7.45 p.m. and which had involved the taking of a number of different courses in com­ pany; or the tactical picture could be lost by an error in visual observation which, as we will see, is not altogether easy in the circumstances in which

the ships were operating; or the loss could be brought about by both these factors. Another factor which may have led to confusion by the bridge of Voyager as to whether their ship was on the starboard or port side of Melbourne is that a red light on the starboard side of Melbourne could have been mistaken for its port

navigation light. In his address in chief Mr Samuels, Q.C. (for Captain Robertson) was disposed to think that the evidence of this was too indefinite (p. 5465) but later in chief (p. 5584) did urge this as one reason why such a mistake could have been made. Through Mr Murphy, Q.C., the Naval Board expressed the view

that 'one of the most plausible theories involves a false appreciation of the situa­ tion on the bridge of Voyager; possibly because of a red light shining to starboard on Melbourne (p. 5769). The light in question was a floodlight (Exhibit 6-VoyaRer 1) the rear of which had a red glow in it which was visible from the

starboard of Melbourne. Mr Murphy (pp. 5751-2) said: It need not merely have caused delay in the officer of the watch's reaction to what be saw although of course it could have caused delay and slowness to realise the danger but it could have caused the initial error and could have caused confusion to

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anyone who saw it on Voyager. It could have caused an upset of what they had in mind as a correct tactical picture . . . It may be, after the order to go to

starboard, that the red light showing to starboard was taken as a port light and

upset, by the evidence of their own eyes, in the mind of the bridge of Voyager the previously correct tactical position which they had.

It was argued that a difficulty in the way of this theory was the positioning of this red light to starboard relative to the position in which one would expect to find the red navigation light on Melbourne's port. The rear of the floodlight was stated to be ' up to 30 to 40 feet' higher than the site of the navigation

light (p. 5770). However, having regard to the relative positions of the two ships, their distance apart and the fact that they were both moving at night, we would agree with the Naval Board that a mistake made in observation so that the red rear of the floodlight was taken for the port navigation light could not be ignored.

A question which naturally suggests itself is why in any event the green star­ board navigational light of Melbourne was not seen by the bridge of Voyager in sufficient time for the relative positions of the two vessels to be appreciated. We have said that the course of Voyager cannot be plotted with any significant

accuracy. Having regard to this and other circumstances appearing in the evidence it is impossible to say at what stage the green starboard light of Melbourne would have been seen by the bridge of Voyager and from what position on the bridge.

The chances of an error of judgment or observation being made are greatly increased when the person who makes the error is not completely physically fit or is fatigued. But, quite apart from physical fitness and the like, no man, not even a naval captain, can claim complete freedom from the liability to ordinary human error; that it is a cliche to say so, does not detract from the accuracy of

the saying that everybody can make mistakes. Rear-Admiral McNicoll referred to near-collisions at sea, probably 'very hair-raising things'. as not out of the normal and as happening to everybody. Such occurrences are not unknown in broad daylight. Vice-Admiral Hickling in the Introduction to his book, 'One Minute of Time', writes to the same effect and describes two collisions in which

he was involved whilst in command of Royal Naval vessels. Earlier in this Report we have discussed at length the health problem which had plagued Captain Stevens over a long term and especially in 1963, and to the evidence which points to trouble which arose from his 'ulcer condition' in the second half of January 1964.

We have concluded that in this period he could not be described as fit and a recurrence of ulcer symptoms on that night, e.g. , pain, nausea, fatigue to some degree cannot be discounted; and, even without the presence of symptoms on that evening directly attributable to ulcer, previous onsets may have deprived him of

that necessary quota of sleep and rest which would have weakened his ability to go through long hours of work and strain without fatigue. It is impossible to say. Although Captain Stevens appeared to be normal to those who observed him on the night of 10 February 1964, it can never now be known whether he was in any way affected by the ulcer condition from which he had suffered and which had not completely healed, because the symptoms are subjective and he was a

man who was not given to complaining about them. All that can be said is that he was not a man who was at all times in good health, that he had consumed a moderate amount of alcohol on the previous day which could have acted as an irritant to his condition, and that the exercises at sea during the previous week coupled with the long hours of work on 10 February 1964 could have produced

in him fatigue, which of itself could have dulled his usual alertness and which al so

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could • have tended to cause a recurrence of symptoms which could impair his judgment. Let us at once say that any suggestion that he was in any way adversely affected by liquor that night must be completely scouted.

This is as far as any problem concerning the Captain's health in relation to the events of the collision can be taken. However, quite aside from any physical matter which might have contributed to the mistake made by Captain Stevens Js to the tactical picture, the question of ordinary human error cannot be di scounted, perhaps contributed to by fatigue induced by the long events of the day and evening. Sir John Spicer has pointed out that there was no moon on that night and the Melbourne was darkened for night flying ('Spicer Report', p. 4).

He also observed that '(T) he difficulty of determining range and the beading of the carrier at night are elements not to be overlooked ' ('Spicer Report',

p. 1 1). Melbourne was carrying two dimmed bow navigation lights at fl ight deck level visible for about one mile, two red masthead obstruction lights and lights in connection. with the flying operations. A number of submissions were made to us, accompanied by diagrammatic expositions, as to the difficulties to be encoun­

tered at night in ascertaining from the bridge of a destroyer ahead or almost ahead of a carrier such as Melbourne whether the destroyer was on the starboard or port bow of the carrier. A consideration of this problem did lead us to the conclusion that it is not easy by visual observation alone to determine, at night, whether

the destroyer was fine on the port bow, fine on the starboard bow or dead ahead of the carrier. The evidence that the Officer of the Watch on Voyager was staring through his binoculars at Melbourne until be dropped them on their lanyard and he gave the order 'hard astarboard-full ahead both engines' is consistent with surprise, at least on his iPart, when he finally became aware of the actual position of the carrier. On the bridge of the Voyager was a pelorus and on each of the

port and starboard wings of the bridge there was a compass rose (a wing repeat) to be used when visibility from the bridge is restricted. A compass rose may be described as a replica of the pelorus. To determine whether a leading ship is on the starboard or port bow of a following ship, a bearing may quickly be taken

fro m the pelorus of the leading ship. A bearing, had !it been taken on Voyager, would have shown the true position of Melbourne beyond doubt. It must be presumed that no such bearing was taken because of the confidence, however misplaced, in the belief entertained as to the respective positions of the ships. Such confidence would not be out of keeping with Rear-Admiral McNicoll's

assessment :of Captain Stevens on 6 January 1964: 'He handles his ship well but hi s movements in company sometimes show more impetuosity than judgment' (p. 3812). If, however, Captain Stevens gave both the orders starboard 15° and port 1 oo it would appear more than possible that, after he gave the starboard

order, he may have entertained some doubt as to its correctness and, if that were so, he should have had a bearing taken upon the pelorus. Tactical Operator Evans (Pages 890-1 'Voyager 1') said that after be observed Captain Stevens examining; something at the chart table: 'He took his position again on the bridge

platforms, then he suddenly ordered the wheelhouse "Full ahead both engines, hard as tarboard" and also said to the wheelhouse, "Wheelhouse, this is an emergency." When asked where the Captain was when he gave these orders, Evans replied: 'Upon the compass platform, near the pelorus'. Whether the Captain had

or was about to take a bearing to confirm his earlier decision is, of course, not known. What was running through his mind in the critical period must remain in the realm of the unknown. But that some error was made is, for whatever reason, beyond doubt.

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Now we wish to make; it abundant ly clear that we are unable to say what was the true cause of the error made on the bridge of Voyager on the evening of 10 February 1964; whether it was made because of some impairment of judgment or observation on the part of Captain Stevens due to some physical cause or whether it was simply a human error of judgment or visual observation so confidently made th at the taking of a bearing was regarded as superfluous cannot now be definitivel y determined.: We are unable to identify with complete confidence by whom the error was made although we think it probable that it was made by Captain Stevens. But, whatever the cause, we think that the

inference is upo n the evidence compelling (and we draw it) that those on the bridge of Voyager turn ed to port in purported execution of the flying course signal as a procedure to take up plane guard station No. I in the mistak en belief that Voyager was on the port bow of Melbourne whereas sh e was on the carrier's starb oard bow and that whoever else had or had not the true tactical picture in his mind the conclusion is inescapable that Captain Stevens did not have it.

(d) SIR JoHN SPICER's CRITICISM OF CAPTAIN R oBERTSON We turn now to the find ings of Sir John Spicer in relation to Captain Robertson, Acting Comm ander Kelly (Melbourne's Navigating Officer) and Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate (M elbourne's Officer of the Watch). Sir John Spicer having

determined that the primary cause of the collision was the action of Voyager ('Spicer Report', pp. 13 and 28) proceeded to consid er the actions by Captain Robertson, and in the course of doing so, appl ied Rule 28 (a) of the International Regulations for Prevention of Collision at Sea which reads as follows :

(a) When vessels are in si ght of one another, a power-dri ven vessel under way, in taking any course authorized or required by these Rules, shall ind icate that course by the following signa ls on her whistle, namely : One short blast to mean

'I AM ALTE RING MY C OURSE T O STARBOARD'.

T wo short blasts to mean 'I AM ALTERING MY COURSE T O PORT'.

Three short blasts to mean 'MY ENGINES A RE GOING ASTERN'. ( b ) Whenever a power-driven ve ssel which, under these Rules, is to keep her course and speed, is in sight of another vessel a nd is in doubt whether sufficient action

is being taken by the other vessel to avert collision, she may indicate such doubt by giving at least five short and rapid blasts on the whistle. The giving of such a signal shall not relieve a vessel of her obligations under Rules 27 and 29 or any other Rule, o r of her duty to indicate any action taken under these Rules by giving the appropriate sound signals laid down in this Rule.

Sir John thought that Captain Robertson took the appropriate action in giving the order 'Full astern both engines'. He then said: In my opinio n it should have been indicated by three short bl as ts (Rule 28 (A ) ), but the fa il ure to give that signal did not, in my opinion, contribute to the di saster

save to the extent that even the fir st bl as t at an appropriate stage may have served as a warning and been sufficient tq alert Voyager to a danger of which those in

control of her may not have been aware. ['Spicer Report', p. 18]

Sir John Spicer then proceeded to consider whether Captain Robertson should have taken steps to alert Voyager by 'five short and rapid blasts' under Rule 28(b ) or by radio communication. He said ('Spicer Report', p. 18): On his own view of the matter, Voyager was engaged in an unusual operation. The

turn to starboard indicated to him a movement designed to take up the plane guard

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, sta ti on. The moment V oyager turned to port forward of the beam her action should, as it seems to me, have created some doubt at least in Captain Robertson's mind as to what her intentions were, and the moment the movement to port passed beyond such as would have brought her back on course, it seems to me that Captain Robertson should have made some inquiry or passed some signal, whether by whistle or other­

wi se, to Voyager. Whether action of this kind would have avoided the collision I am unable to say, but I feel that the chances of a collision occurring might have been lessened if some such action as I have indicated had been taken by Captain Robertson. I cannot but feel th a t some such action would have been taken by a more

experienced officer in tactical command and it may be that his inexperience, coupled wi th hi s knowledge of the experience and capacity of Captain Stevens, led to some hesi tation in interfering on this pa rti cular occasion.

We construe the last paragraph cited from Sir John's Report as applicable to the possible applications of both (a) and (b) of Rule 28 .

It is to be observed that these are not positive findings of contributory negli gence on the part of Captain Robertson but they do amount to a conclusion that there is a possibility that the collision may not have occurred if Captain Robertson had taken either of the contemplated actions. It is this criticism of his conduct which Captain Robertson had most strongly resented and we shall now examine the question as to whether the comment was justified in all the circum­ stances as we have found them to be. We start with several uncontradicted matters, firstly, that Captain Robertson believed, as Sir John found, that Captain Stevens was a competent and experienced destroyer captain and one who had recently been well-versed in this particular type of manoeuvre, and, secondl y, that Captain Robertson had no knowledge whatsoever of anything which could

create in his mind doubt as to the ability of Captain Stevens to exercise his skill and 'know how' on that evening. The next matters, also uncontradicted, and basic to our consideration, are that after the last signal was passed to and acknowledged by Voyager, i.e. the flying course signal, Captain Robertson believed that such signal was for immediate execution by Voyager and knew that a destroyer's captain acting in compliance with such a signal, may direct the course of his ship, within reasonable limits, at his own discretion to take up plane guard station; and that there are at least four variations of course within the scope of a proper exercise of that discretion.

The substance of the criticism of Captain Robertson in the 'Spicer Report' is that he should have sounded a warning 'after Voyager had passed' through 020° ('Spicer Report', p. 16) or, as Sir John otherwise expresses it ('Spicer Report', p. 18), at ' the moment the movement to port passed beyond such as

would have brought her back on course .' We pause here to point out that in relation to the first of these alternatives Sir John does not define how far beyond 020° Voyager did have to proceed before the duty to warn arose and that, in relation to both the alternatives, that position even when assessed, as will be seen, is one which it is by no means easy to judge when it has been reached. There are three significant comments to be made, namely:

(i) it is extremely difficult for a following ship at night to ascertain when the leading ship has passed through a particular heading as Sir John himself acknowledged ('Spicer Report', p. 11) (ii) as the destroyer can, within reasonable limits, act at discretion, the

observers of her movements on board the carrier cannot at once determine that some movement to port, even if it can be immediately and accurately perceived to be beyond 020°, is a collision course, so

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that no duty to warn would arise until it was apparent that the course taken by the leading ship was beyond the limits of acceptable naval operation, especially when she is under the command of a captai n of known ability and with the experience of plane guard station practices (iii) the curved (as opposed to a steady or straight) course continually

followed by Voyager through 020 ' wo ulo delay tne ability of an observer on Melbourne to ascertam th e point at wh tch a further alteration of Voyager's wr.eel couid be made so as to allow Voyager to pass clear of Melbourne, and this would operate to postpone the moment when a real apprehension of collision should reasonably have been entertained, and (iv) the time factor arising out of the respective positions and speeds of the

two vessels, the shortening of which is accentuated by the admixture of the ingredients referred to in (i), (ii) and (iii) above. From a practical point of view, therefore, there is no real difference in the two alternatives referred to by Sir John. (i) (ii) and (iii) above do not need any further discussion, they are both self -evident and beyond question.

We turn now to ( iv), the time factor. Sir John Spicer found that ' there was a period of approximately 90 seconds in which she' (Voyager) 'was engaged in a somewhat unusual and unexpected manoeuvre' computed from the time when Voyager reached 020° ('Spicer Report', p. 16).

For reasons which we have discussed in some detail earlier in this section we believe that it is better not to come to a decision in such matters as these based upon a precise period of time, especially where, as here, the time given is such a short span as 90 seconds. However, this comment should be made even on the assumption that a period of 90 seconds is accurate. There is no dispute that Captain Robertson had Voyager under almost continuous observation from the time she took her starboard turn until the collision ('Spicer Report', p. 16) . Sir John quite clearly was persuaded to the view that the turns to starboard and subsequently to port which led Voyager to collide with Melbourn e were induced

by the last 'turn together' signal. He, accordingly, calculated the duration of 90 se conds in which he thought that Voyager was engaged 'in a somewhat unusual and unexpected manoeuvre' from tthe moment that Voyager passed through because she should have steadied on 020° to comply with the turning signal. This means, of course, that Captain Robertson should have issued his warning very early in the 90 seconds span. But we have found that the movements to starboard

and port were not induced by the turning signal but by the flying course signal. This was a movement which did not become 'unusual or unexpected' the instant Voyager moved through 020°, and would only become so in the mind of the observer (Captain Robertson) when Voyager, having passed through 020°, had reached a point which could not be justified as a permissible naval manoeuvre an d which created doubt as to whether sufficient action was being taken by Voyager

to avoid a collision. Further, Sir John found that Voyager was on a straight course for a minute more or less which was the course 270° and one which was, as it were, aimed directly at Melbourne. We have found on the other hand that this could not be so and that Voyager was on port 1 oo wheel from the moment she

turned from the course reached by the starboard 15 ° order and thus was on a continually curving course until approximately 20 seconds before the impact. The difficulties of determining the range and heading of a ship at night are well recog­ nized ('Spicer Report', p. 11). The situation which confronted Captain Robertson

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was accentuated not only by these inherent obstacles but also by the fact of the preliminary turn to starboard followed very shortly by the turn to port which Captain Robertson bas since described as part of a series of movements which he called a 'double fishtail'.

At this stage the use of the term 'fishtail' needs explanation. It means a pro­ cedure whereby a destroyer in company with a carrier changes station in relation to the carrier so as to get to a position to the stern of the carrier, to enable it to take up plane guard station. Where a carrier, such as Melbourne, was travelling on course 020° as a flying course and the destroyer was to starboard of the carrier,

the de troyer would alter to a course of 11 oo so as to be at right angles to the carrier and would then turn back to port towards 180° and come round the stern of the carrier (p. 5758). If the carrier were on the same course and the de troyer to its port, the destroyer would alter course to 290° to be at right angles to the

carrier and would then turn back to starboard towards 180° and come round the stern of the carrier. Hence, it follows that as Captain Robertson observed Voyager turn to port and keep on that turn when he knew that Voyager was to the star­ board of the carrier he would realise that Voyager was not do ing a fishtail as above

defined. Captain Robertson, however, described the abovementi oned movement as a 'single fishtail', and stated that when he observed Voyager reverse wheel to port after the initial turn to starboard, his opinion was that she was doing what he described as a 'double fishtail' which was, he said, 'the name we have dubbed it

with since the calli ion' ( _443 Voyager 1). He used this expression 'for lack of a better word' to indicate 'a series of minor alterations of course with reduction of speed to lose bearing'. We quote from Paras. 25, 26 and 27 of Captain Robertson's report to FOCAF dated 5 March 1964 as follows:

25. Watching from the starboard wing of the bridge I could see Voyager clearly with the naked eye. I did not use binoculars at any time during the next few minutes. I watched her turn to starboard to a course which just made her starboard side visible to me (inclination about 10° right). I did not take her bearing and so cannot give her

heading accurately 26. She steadied on this course and, about ten to fifteen seconds later, started to swing back to port. I then re-appreciated the situation because my previous assessment of her intention to continue her turn to starboard was obviously incorrect. I came to

the conclusion that she had decided to carry out a 'fishtail' manoeuvre until clear astern of Melboume and then move across to her new station. This is a normal method of changing station in the circumstances but I made a mental note that she had not altered sufficiently to starboard to carry out this manoeuvre with a single

'fishtail' and concluded that she would carry out a series of small alterations of course to lose the necessary bearing, probably with a reduction of speed. 27. At this time I estimated that V oyager had reduced her speed to about fifteen knots. I do not recollect any reason for this estimation. I did not examine her bow wave cr

wake with a view to assessing her speed; in any case I do not remember her bow wave being vi sible at this time. My appreciation of her intention to carry out a series of minor alterations of course which would require a reduction in speed to execute the manoeuvre expeditiously may well have caused me to believe that she had

reduced speed. However, an impression of reduction in speed was certainly in my mind and it was sufficiently strong for me to think momentarily that she may have decided to remain on a parallel course (rather than 'fishtail'), and drop astern by reducing speed. I recollect her bearing as about Green 40 but did not measure it.

This type of manoeuvre was put to Rear-Admiral Becher by Captain Robertson (Page 105 'Voyager 1') as follows: CAPTAIN ROBERTSON: Q. Yes, this is changing station from 20 degrees on the port bow to 20 degrees on the opposite quarter. range being 1500 ya rds. This is

by what could be referred to as a double fishtail combined with a reduction in

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speed. That is Voyager turns outwards away from Melbourne, reduces speed and then turns inwards, still reducing speed, and then outwards again by which time she would probably drop to about abreast of Melbourne and could turn under the beam, increase speed and get into the correct station. This is a slow way of doing it and on my calculations it would take seven minutes compared with four or five minutes for the other two manoeuvres but it is a possibility, particularly if there are other ships stationed in the area which may have prevented Voyager doing a complete turn or fishtail. This may in fact have been the only way

left open to change stations. HIS HONOUR: What do you say about that, Admiral? REAR-ADMIRAL BECHER: A. I would regard it as a method that could but should not be used because it is unseamanlike. It is an unseamanlike method in

that he is turning towards the carrier while he is still in fact forward of the

beam, physically forward of the beam. Therefore he is going to get unnecessarily close to the carrier and could put into the head of the captain or the commander of the carrier a great deal of doubt about in fact what he was up to. I would

not like it at all although it is one of the many ways this new station could be

taken up. I would not like it and if he did it while I was there he would know all about it. CAPTAIN ROBERTSON: Q. And so to sum this up , in the circumstances which have been postulated, mainly to change station from 20 degrees on the bow

to 20 degrees on the quarter as opposed to the second method put to you yesterday. there are three of many suitable methods we have discussed, and the best is probably to turn a complete circle, the next best is to do a fishtail out and

back and a very bad last is this double fishtai l one of dropping the bearings,

which would only be used probably if it had to be used ? REAR-ADMIRAL BECHER: A. Agreed.

Captain Robertson was cross-examined by Mr Smyth Q.C. (Pages 2556-60 'Voyager 1') with regard to this double fishtail manoeuvre and he agreed with M r Smyth that in watching Voyager embark upon what he conceived to be this series of movements he saw '

things could have as its consequence a dangerous situation; but be asserted that he was serious in saying that it did not pass through his mind that that manoeuvre would be dangerous for Melbourne and Voyager, but just a possibility of a dangerous situation; that it was a manoeuvre which could give ri se to a dangerous situation. He gave this evidence:-

Q. Well now, do you think that you, as Captain of the carrier, witnessing a manoeuvre which you knew could result in a dangerous situation, that you would do nothing about it? A. That is exactly what I say in answer to that question.

We are of the opinion that Captain Robertson ought to have at once queried the movements of Voyager as soon as it appeared to him that Voyager was not taking a course which was reconcilable with her execution of the flying course signal. That point could have arisen at a comparatively early stage after the flying course signal had been acknowledged by Voyager if, for example, Voyager had put her wheel to some course which appeared to be so opposed to recognised

naval procedure that it was not possible to envisage that she could take up plane guard station within any reasonable time to permit of the commencement of the contemplated flying operations. That point, however, giving ful l force to the evidence of Rear-Admiral Becher, did not arrive at an early stage in the course of Captain Robertson's observations of Voyager but at a late stage. Admiral Becher agreed with Captain Robertson that the so-called 'double fishtail' series

of movements was one of the many ones in which the plane guard station could be taken up, although he did not like it because he considered that it was

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'unseafnanlike'. Captain Robertson stated that it was not a series of movements that he himself would have employed and that be too regarded it as 'unseamanlike'.

The considerations to be urged in his favour when he did not query the movements of Voyager are accordingly these: ( 1) The course of Voyager in response to the flying course signal was not a forbidden course although it has been described as 'unseamanlike' and as

the least desirable. (2) Whilst pursuit of such a course could give rise to a situation of danger to both Melbourne and Voyager, the fact of a collision between the two ships was not necessarily inevitable because Voyager was observed to be

on a continuously curving course which, by the addition of further port wheel, could have brought her parallel to Melbourne. Captain Robertson stated that all naval manoeuvres can be dangerous and we have elsewhere referred to evidence of senior naval officers which illustrate that danger in naval manoeuvres is not a complete rarity. Evidence before us has

established that there must be trust in the competence and experience of a destroyer captain, and that rebukes for unseamanlike manoeuvres on his part are by custom given after and not in the course of the event. ( 3) Bearing also in mind the difficulties in ascertaining the precise intention

of Voyager in the particular circumstances which we have earlier discussed, a passage from Halsbury's Laws of England Vol. 35 , 3rd Ed. at p. 651 ('Spicer Report', p. 17) is not out of place: It must always be a matter of some difficulty for the officer in charge of a stand-on

vessel to determine when the time has arrived for him to take action and some little latitude has to be allowed to him. It is quite impossible to determine

mathematically the point at which the stand-on vessel must act; the rules have to be construed so that men may act reasonably upon them.

From these factors we draw the following conclusions: Where a ship's movement is a permissible movement, the fact that it is also described as 'unseamanlike' can only mean that it is not a movement which ought to be followed when other equally permissible movements are available and the particular circumstances of

the case do not ,dictate the following of the unseamanlike manoeuvre as the only course which can be pursued. For a captain to pursue the unseamanlike manoeuvre when the particular situation does not force him to adopt it calls for criticism fr om his superior officer after the event but not during the event when at a

critical moment the Captain's full attention is required to execute the movement in safety. Having regard to the events which took place on the evening in question in such a short space of time, we are of opinion that the crucial moment at which the si tuation passed from one which could be dangerous to one which was, in

fact, dangerous was not ascertained by Captain Robertson until the collision between Voyager and M elbourne was inevitable.

It follows from the foregoing considerations that the fact that Voyager passed through 020° on a direction to port towards the projected course of M elbourne, not on a· straight track, but on a curving movement need not-and it did not­ cause apprehension in the mind of Captain Robertson. It was not at that stage

'an unusual and unexpected manoeuvre'. It would only become so when in the mind of a reasonable man in the shoes of Captain Robertson the realisation came that Voyager was about to do the incredible by continuing on a course across Melbourne's bows instead of keeping clear of her by a late but effective change

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' '

of course. This point of time in night operations would be a matter of fin e judgment attended by the difficulties to which Sir John Spicer has referred, and obscl!red by the conviction that Captain Stevens would know quite well what be was doing in a 'comparatively elementary' operation, and that there was nothing

to prevent him from doing it. We have seen, too, in this inquiry the resentment against unnecessary advice from one captain to another in sea operations. It. was submitted in argument before us (p. 5588) on behalf of Captain Robertson, that a wheel order at minus 60 seconds would still have carried Voyager clear of Melbourne, but that after that point of time, the margin for safety bad entirely disappeared (pp. 5599-5600). If this were applied to Sir John's span of 90 seconds, it would leave something just over 30 seconds for Captain Robertson to

determine where Voyager was heading, her range, and that, not being on the straight collision course but on a curving track, what her intentions really were in response to a signal to proceed to plane guard station No. 1, and what sea space she had to carry them out. Such a period wo uld seem to be much too short for Captain Robertson to arrive at the appropriate decision in resolving the queries which be at th is stage was considering.

W .... have co me to the conclusion that it is impossible upon the evidence to fix the exact times at which V oyager was in this particular position or to ascertain (within a duration which must be calcul ated as a quantity of seconds) when Captain Robertson should hav-: that Voyage r was putting both herself

and Melb ou.·ne at risk of collision. On any view, in light of the findings which we have made, the time must be calculated! from some position of Voyager after she bad passed on a curved course through 020 o , and that time, although it cannot be assessed at a preci se number of seconds, must have been of a very restricted duration.

Whilst it is posible that, if some other officer bad been in tactical command on that night, an appreciation of the arrival of that crucial moment might have been perceived at a point earlier than Captain Robertson realised it, such a possibility is not really to the point in making a judgment of Captain Robertson's ac ti ons. The question must be--did he act reasonably in all the circumstances, and not what someone else might have done; and in any event it would appear difficult to envisage an awareness of the inevitability of the point of no return very many seconds earlier and it is doubtful whether any action would have avoided impact between the two ships.

It is fundamental to the concept of negligence that in framing his conduct a man is only bound to anticipate what is reasonably forseeable in the circumstances. T hat Vo yager under the control of an experienced captain, would continue to turn to port and cross Melbourne's bows, far from being reasonably forseeable, was entirely incredible. The realisation that she was going to cross Melbourne's bows instead of veering away in time could not in the circumstances be reasonably attributed to a captain in Captain R obertson's position until in his mind, there arose a real possibility that the point of no return was about to be reached. It is clear from Captain Robertson's own evidence that that was precisely his state of mind, and that is why it is not surprising that at that stage no thought of warning Voyager entered his head. His immediate du ty was to endeavour by positive means to take avoiding action in the interests of safety of his own ship. This, as Sir John Spicer found, he did, and he could do no more. For these reasons we find that the criticism of Captain Robertson was not justified and the whole responsibility

for the disaster lies with Voyager.

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' (e) SIR JoH SPICER' s CRITICISM OF A c TI G CoMMANDER KELLY

Sir John Spicer also found that the watch which was maintained on Melbourne by the Navigating Officer (Acting Commander Kelly) and the Officer of the Watch (Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate) was in the circumstances inadequate ('Spicer Report', p. 21). Sir John thought that Acting Commander Kelly was a navigating officer of considerable experience. He then said ('Spicer R eport', p. 2 1) :

He [Kelly] had with him an officer of the watch [B ate] of limited experience, a circumstance which called, I think, for special vigilance on the part of the navigating officer. He was unaware of the watch being m aintained by the Captain, and was unaware whether the Officer of the Watch had Voyager under observation. Prior to

the moment of his exclamation-[Sir John found that, when Voyager was about 700 yards away, Bate, who was then devoting his attention to th e port side of M elb ourne, heard Kelly exclaim: 'Christ, what the hell is Voyager doing?] he does not appear to have bad Voyager in view since she relatively crossed the bow of M elbourne during the course of the turn from 060 o to 020°, except when the Captain directed his

attention to the starboard turn. I think in all the circumstances Commander Kelly should himself have pa id more regard to Voyager's movements than be did.

Of course, on that night Kelly had other duties to perfo rm than keeping a con­ tinuous watch on Voyage r throughout all the manoeuvres. For example, he was ve ry concerned wi th fi ndi ng the wind for the aircraft for which he was plotting a course and usi ng the anemometer (wind gauge) . Kelly said (Page 515, Voyager 1):

'I would say that it is impossi ble with my other du ties to keep a close eye at all times' (on Voyager ). 'I watched her sufficientl y to be quite satisfied th at duri ng all these manoeuvres she was carrying out manoeuvres correctly and was in fact in ve ry reasonable station' . But we are not really concerned as to Kelly's actions until

Melbourne sent to Voyager the final fl yi ng course signal , and at that stage Kel ly kn ew th at Captain Robertson was watching Voyage r because the Captain at that time made the remark to Kelly: 'What is Voyager doing turning to starboard?' ('Spicer Report', p. 8). The turn to starboard upon receipt of the flying course signal was not only a perfectly correct movement by Voyager but it was one

which would take Voyager right away from Melbourne. Captain Robertson had Voyager under continuous observation from the point of the starboard turn until the collision itself ('Spicer Report', p. 16). Kelly then turned his attention to the anemometer and possibly the chart table because he had a new position and

intended movement for communication to Nowra (Page 529 Voyager 1) . He con­ tinued to look at the anemometer until he looked up and saw Voyager again-she was about 30 degrees on our starboard bow at a range of about 700 yards'. It was then that he gave vent to the exclamation quoted above. His

estimate of distance was made by looking into the dark after gazing into the white light of the anemometer, so he went straight to the radar set and checked the range because he said that to judge distances at night from a ship's lights is an extremely difficult thing to do. This check took in all 10 seconds. The distance

was 600 yards. He immediately gave the order 'Stop engines half astern' which almost at once was overridden by Captain Robertson's order to full speed astern . In these circumstances we do not think that it is correct to say that Kelly was un aware that the Captain was watching Voyager; in fact, he knew that the Captain

was watching Voyager because of the discussion between them relative to the turn of Voyager to starboard, which was a turn which would leave the position of the two ships in one of complete safety. He then left the Captain, who continued to watch Voyager, and returned to other duties which had to be performed for the flying operations which were about to commence. In these circumstances we do

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not think that Acting Commander Kelly could be said to have been guilty of any failure in the performance of his duties. At no stage after the turn of Voyager to starboard would he have been in any different position from that of Captain Robertson. We are of the opinion that the criticism of Acting Commander Kelly

was not justified.

(f) SJR JOHN SPICER's CRITICISM OF AcTING S u B-LIEUTENAN T BATE

So far as Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate is concerned Sir John Spicer said: It was of course proper for the Officer of the Watch to be concerned with the move­ ment of ships other than Voyager, but the radar indicated that there was no immediate cause for anxiety in that regard. It seems to me somewhat inexplicable that he would

have devoted his attention to observations on the port side, where a ship appeared to be eight miles distant, without satisfying himself that Voyager, within 1,500 yards on the starboard side, presented no danger. In truth be appears to have taken little interest in Voyager at this stage. He said he did not appreciate she was turning to starboard. When asked by me whether she appeared to be turning to starboard, he said 'I was

not interested' and then explained that he was interested in the fact that she was going to starboard but not concerned about it. ['Spicer Report', p. 21]

Sir John then went on to say: He then devoted his attention to the port side until he heard the excl amation of the Navigating Officer . . . when Voyager was about 700 yards away. During that period he did not know whether the Navigating Officer was looking at Voyager and,

although he had seen Captain Robertson go out to the starboard wing of the bridge, he was unaware of what he was doing. In these circumstances I think he fa iled to exercise sufficient care as officer of the watch to protect his own vessel from collision.

He did not himself maintain sufficient watch over Voyager at a time when he was unaware whether any other watch was being maintained on the bridge. ['Spicer Report', p. 21]

Now it was not Bate's duty to watch Voyager continuously. The responsibility of Bate as officer of the watch, extended to 360° around Melbourne; in particular, he had to look to port and ahead of Melbourne as well as to starboard. Besides Voyager, his observations would be directed to whether there were any merchant or smaller vessels such as fishing boats in the vicinity. He had at the relevant time observed one ship which was eight miles away, but he stated that the radar does not necessarily show every object. He has a rating as a lookout but that does not relieve him of his own duties in observation. In the last ten minutes before collision he had been getting continuous reports from the operations room on various shipping which had been contacted, although at a considerable distance from M elbourne. The observations made by Sir John of Bate's activities do not, we think, present the full picture. When both ships were turning together Bate was in charge of the operation of putting Melb ourne on course and after every turn he checked the position and range of Voyager on the pelorus and radar. Aft r Melb ourne had steadied on the course 020° for the last time, the fl ying course signal was given and Bate was aware of that having been done. When that signal was given he checked the position and range of Voyager aga in on the

pelorus and radar and found that she was on a relative bearing of green 20° at a range of 1,500 yards from Melbourne. It was very shortly after this that be was aware of the fact that Captain Robertson was observing Voyager to the starboard of Melbourne, because he overheard Captain Robertson's question to Kelly: 'What is Voyager doing turning to starboard?' which both be and Kelly,

as well as Captain Robertson, are emphatic was not said as the result of surprise

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at Voyager's movement. lt was a movement which Voyager would be expected to make in keepi ng with naval procedures and Bate said that that was his reaction to it. He then saw Captain Robertson move out to the starboard wing. In light of the conversation which had immediately preceded Captain Robertson going out onto

Melbourne's starboard wing, we would think that the most natural conclusion for anyone in Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate's position to draw, would be that Captain Robertson had taken up that position in order the better to observe the actions of Voyager and, of course, such a conclusion was a perfectly correct one. That is

precise ly what Captain R obertson was doin g. H av ing been informed of the starboard turn, Ba te knew tha t fr om a position of I ,500 yards away from

Melbourne as checked by him on the radar, Voyager was now moving even further away from Melbourne. Bate accordingly moved to the port side of the bridge and was engaged in looking around the horizon for merchant and other vessels from the port side to starboard. At that stage he was not looking for

Voyager. The continuity and degree of watching a ship, even in company with the ship on which the observer is situated, must, when the observer has other duties to perform, be conditioned by his observation of what movement he has seen the observed ship perform and by the fact that the observed ship has moved to an expected, normal course. His attention was again drawn to Voyager by

Kelly's exclamation (see above). He then saw Voyager which at that time was at a distance of 'about 700 yards'. He said: 'When l heard Commander Kelly's exclamation I looked and saw the port light of Voyager appear and become more brilliant as she continued to turn. He made it clear that this continuance of turn

was to port. He was then told by Kelly to order: 'Stop both engines, half astern both engines'; and then Captain Robertson ordered full astern both engines. Bate, when asked why he did not in this sudden emergency, sound the siren replied that he was then engaged in talking to the wheelhouse over the microphone ordering the

various revolutions or engine orders and obtaining back a repetition of those orders to make sure of their correct receipt (Pages 387-406, 'Voyager 1 '). In these circum­ stances we cannot agree that Bate failed to exercise sufficient care as officer of the watch to protect his own vessel from collision.

We would emphasise that we have arrived at these conclusions as to the events on board Melbourne on the evening of I 0 February 1964, not by resolving any conflicts between the evidence of witnesses who were called before Sir John Spicer, but by taking a different view or drawing a different inference from

uncontradicted evidence in relation to these particular happenings from witnesses whom Sir John himself accepted as giving their honest recollection of an incredible disaster suddenly taking place within a very brief space of time. Most importantly too, is firstly , the fact that the criticisms made by Sir John of these three naval

;:,fficers were predicated upon a view that the movements of Voyager which brought her upon a collision course with Melbourne (the starboard 15 ° turn followed by the port 10° tum) were being made in response to a 'turn together' signal which would have compelled the most strict watch of Voyager and checks of her position

(which were in fact made when Voyager was responding to a signal of this type) and not, as we have found, in response to the flying signal which would , by the starboard tum, have moved Voyager further and further away from Melbourne; and, secondly, upon Sir John's view that Voyager was on a straight course for one

minute or less, whereas we have found that she was on a continually turning course from the moment when she put on port 10° wheel which would, and in fact did, lead those on Melbourne, who believed Voyager to be in most experienced

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g 5

and competent hands, to the reasonable suppositiOn that Voyager was probably engaged in a 'fishtail' movement until a point of time at which the impact between the two ships could not be avoided. Finally, it should be observed that it was not only '. Melbourne's undoubted right to maintain her course and speed in

the belief that Voyager, whatever her course might be, would, as in duty bound, i u fact keep out of the way' ('Spicer Report', p. 22) but also that it was the duty of Captain Robertson as the Senior Officer at Sea pursuant to Regulation 2704 (2) to be ·particularly attentive to observing .' that his own ship kept to its

station ('Spicer Report', p. 16).

(g) CONCLUSIONS AS TO THE VARIATIONS WHICH OUGHT TO BE MADE IN SIR JOHN SPICER'S FINDINGS

For the foregoing reasons we are of the opinion that the findings of Sir John Spicer should be varied as set forth in the following eight paragraphs. In each paragraph we first set out our substituted or additional finding by way of variation and then in square brackets we indicate the finding or view of Sir John Spicer

thereby affected.

(1) Voyager's final turn to starboard and her subsequent turn to port took place as the result of the fin al flying course signal and not as a result of the final turning signal. [Sir John Spicer was in the express terms of his report, only inclined

to the view that those fin al movements were induced by the final turning signal, but his tendency to take this view appears to us to have formed the substantial substratum of his other principal findings.]

(2) Voyager's course from the moment when port 10° wheel was put on (after the final turn to starboard) was a continuous curving course caused by an adherence to this degree of rudder until about 20 seconds before the collision, when as a result of the order 'hard astarboard', Voyager straightened to a heading which at time of impact was between 280° and

290°. [Sir John Spicer found that Voyager, prior to the order 'hard astar­ board', was on a steady (i.e. straight) course 'for a minute more or less' or 'for a short period' up to 20 seconds before the collision

wh en the order 'hard astarboard' had some effect to bring Voyager at impact to a heading of between 280° and 290°.]

(3) The cause and the sole cause of the collision was the action of Voyager in continuing to steer to a course beyond 020° as the result of adhering to the port 1 0° wheel. In the light of the variations in the findings of Sir John Spicer which we have said should be made, and for the detailed reasons we have given in Section 4 of this Part, we are satisfied that the criticism of

Captain Robertson made by Sir John Spicer is not justified and that there should be substituted for this criticism a finding that no blame or criticism attaches to Captain Robertson in relation to his conduct as the Captain \n command of Melbourne or as Tactical Operator in command of the

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(4)

(5)

(6)

(7)

joint operations on the night of the collision, the sole responsibility for which lies with Voyager. [Sir John Spicer found that the primary cause of the collision was the action by Voyager in making a turn beyond 020° and, although

he was unable to say whether the collision would have been avoided if Captain Robertson had made some inquiry or passed some signal to Voyager, he felt that the chances of a collision occurring might have been lessened if Captain Robertson had done so. He thought

that Acting Commander Kelly should have paid more regard to Voyager's movements than he did and that Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate failed to exercise sufficient care as Officer of the Watch to protect his own vessel (Melbourne) from collision.)

The action of Voyager (as found by us in ( 3) above) was in turn caused by Voyage r continually turning to port in the mistaken belief held by th e bridge of Voyager until about 20 seconds before the impact that she was on the port side of Melbourne.

[Sir John Spicer found that such a belief was not held primarily because it involved a margin of error on the bridge of Voyager as to her actual course which was difficult to conceive.)

The mistaken belief of the bridge of Voyager (as found by us in ( 4) above) was induced by an error of mental judgment or visual observation , the exact cause of which cannot, by reason of the loss in the disaster of Captain Stevens, Lieutenant Cook (Navigating Officer) and Lieutenant

Price, R.N. (First Officer of the Watch ), be now determined; but that there were some circumstances peculiar to Captain Stevens and certain physical conditions relating to the night, the darkened carrier and its appearance during the final changes of course common to all three officers

on the bridge of Voyager which , along with the capacity of all persons for human error, could, in our opinion, account for such an error. [Sir John Spicer in effect found that no such error was made.]

It is impossible, having regard to th e ev idence which was at the time of the First Voyager Commission and now is available, to determine, either with absolute precision or wi th sufficient precision for complete reliance, the times when signals were dispatched to or acknowledged by Voyager,

elapsed times between signals or in which movements were executed, distances between ships at any given times or the courses or stations of vessels when they were at some considerable distances apart from each other and the actual speeds of the ships at given positions.

[Sir John Spicer did not make a finding in these terms but we think that, despite doubts expressed by him as to accuracy of some of these matters, he did base hi s reasoning upon acceptance of ev idence of this type.]

The course pursued by Voyager to the point of collision was not induced by the corruption or misunderstanding of any signal given by M elbourne to Voyager. [Sir John Spicer, although not making any express findings with

regard to these matters, appears to have left them open as a basis for the error which Voyager made in steering upon a collision course.)

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llSJ

( 8 ) Captain Stevens was an experienced and competent captain of a destroyer and well versed in and able to conduct the type of manoeuvre in which Voyager was engaged at the time of the collision, but was not in such a state of health as would fit him to command a destro er on such

manoeuvres. [Sir John Spicer, whilst finding that Captain Stevens possessed the experience, competence and ability, impliedly found that the condi­ tion of health of Captain Stevens was such as to enable him properly to exercise that command.)

[N.B.-No evi dence was led and no issue was raised before Sir John Spicer with regard to the health of Captain Stevens at any time so that Sir John very naturally made th e implied assumption to which we have referred.) By vi rtue of the foregoing variations it will be clearly observed that vari ou sub :,idiary findings would necessarily be found to be altered as they are dependent upon major findings. We do not think that it is required of us. in these circum­ . ti'l nces, to list alterations to the subsidiary findings which would fo llow as a matter of course and are clearly to be seen in our discussion of thi s questi on. T he refore, we have set out only the major variations.

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PART H-TERM OF REFERENCE 3

Whether the allegations in the document disclosed evidence which was available to counsel assisting the Royal Commission and was improperly withheld from the Royal Commission?

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into the loss of Voyager completed the bearing of evidence on 25 June 1964. Sir John Spicer's Report was presented on 13 August 1964. The 'Cabban Statement' did not come into existence until January 1965.

Term of Reference 3, however, requires us to make a finding whether the allegations in this January 1965 document disclosed evidence which was available to Counsel assisting the Royal Commission and presenting evidence before it up to June 1964 and was improperly withheld from that Royal Commission.

We have in section ( 4) of Part D given detailed consideration to the extent to which Cabban made known his allegations about Captain Stevens' drinking habits and seamanship to counsel assisting the First Voyager Commission, and the reasons why these allegations were regarded as irrelevant at the time. For the

purposes of our answer to the question posed by Term of Reference 3 we do no more than summarise our findings: ( 1) Mr Smyth, Q.C., and Mr Sheppard in their evidence before us said Lieutenant-Commander Cabban told them of a drinking bout by Captain

Stevens during Voyager's visit to Tokyo in June 1963, and of heavy drinking by him at a northern Australian port causing him to be unable to take command of Voyager on her passage to the Far East (Smyth, pp. 710-1, Sheppard, pp. 852-5). Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard were

speaking only from an imprecise recollection of their interview with Cabban after a long lapse of time and their recollection of details cannot be taken as accurate in every respect. However they were certain that Cabban only told them of two occasions of excessive drinking by Captain Stevens, and that the most recent occasion was at Tokyo in June 1964

(i.e. eight months before the collision). Cab ban himself conceded that this was probably correct. They were also certain (as was Cab ban) that Cabban emphasised that Captain Stevens never drank at sea and that in his view Captain Stevens could not have been under the influence of

alcohol at the time of the collision. We have no hesitation in accepting the evidence of Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard that this was in substance the only information about Captain Stevens' drinking habits given to them by Cabban. (2) At the time of their interview with Cabban neither Mr Smyth nor Mr

Sheppard had < any knowledge of Hyland's statement that Captain Stevens had drunk a brandy on the nighrt of the collision and it was not until some time after their interview with Cabban that they had before them a report of the analyst, Mr Neuhaus, that a sample of Captain Stevens' blood disclosed a small percentage of (0.025); and a Report by Professor Blackburn, that this small percentage of alcohol found at post­ mortem examination was inconsistent with Captain Stevens being under

the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. It was clear from this evidence that if Captain Stevens had drunk a glass of brandy and water about an hour and a half before the collision, he was not adversely affected by it at the time of the collision.

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(3) Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard concluded that Cabban's evidence of isolated drinking bouts by Captain Stevens many months before the collision was irrelevant and inadmissible for the purposes of the Inquiry into the events of the night of 10 February 1964. Mr Smyth in fact informed Sir John Spicer of the nature of this evidence and he agreed that it ought not to be called.

( 4) Cab ban himself did not at any time during the First Voyager Commission consider that the evidence he claimed he had as to Captain Stevens' drinking heavily when Voyager was in port during the Far Eastern cruise, was relevant to the circumstances of the collision. He offered his evidence to Captain Robertson after he read of Hyland's evidence, but Captain Robertson at that time also considered it to have no relevance. Cabban

himself found Hyland's evidence incredible.

(5) Counsel assisting the Commission had no knowledge that Captain Stevens had ulcer trouble or had periods of illness during the Far Eastern cruise of Voyager. Mr Smyth said that Cabban told him nothing about Captain Stevens being treated by a doctor. The following extract from the tran­ script of his evidence is important:

THE CHAIRMAN: Was there anything to put you on inquiry as to the captain's health? A. No. As far as I understood it, he was a man who was quite active, athletic and so on. In other words, I only heard about this duodenal ulcer for the first

time when this matter came up in Parliament. Q . You knew nothing about that during the previous inquiry? A. I am sorry, I knew it from the first time I was shown this Cabban statement, which was shown to me by the Secretary to the Naval Board about a year after

the commission ended. He came over to ask me had I been informed of these things. [p. 730)

(6) Mr Smyth questioned Cabban about his statement to Sergeant Turner that there had been 'several near collisions which had occurred between Voyager and Royal Navy carriers while executing this manoeuvre'. He said that Cabban replied:

. . . (i)t is the sort of thing you have to expect with ships, fast moving

ships, at night with no lights, moving in close company. He said 'It is part of the normal thing for there to be near collisions'. Then I asked him, as I recall it, could he describe any of them to me but he was quite vague about it and we just did not get anywhere with it. [p. 708)

Cabban also told Mr Smyth that in none of these 'near collisions' was Captain Stevens to blame, that he was a first class destroyer captain, and he had never known anyone who could keep station as well as he could (p. 709).

We do not entertain the slightest doubt that the decision made by Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard (with which Sir John Spicer agreed) not to call Cabban in evidence to allege isolated drinking bouts of Captain Stevens, at a time completely remote from 10 February 1964 was right. It was clear on the evidence that Captain Stevens could not have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision. Not only did the scientific evidence exclude it as a reasonable possibility, but Counsel assisting the Commission had detailed evidence from the survivors on Voyager as to Captain Stevens' movements and activities immediately

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before • the collision and all this showed him to be apparently com­

pletely normal. In the circumstances to have called evidence that Captain Stevens had been drunk eight months before the collision would have been entirely indefensible. Had we been sitting as Royal Commissioners we would most certainly have not admitted it. The evidence would be prejudicial and of no weight.

It would have been grossly unfair to the late Captain Stevens to have called it. We would go further : if on Hyland's evidence or any other evidence it could have been suggested that Captain Stevens had been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision, it would have been even more improper to have called

evidence of isolated drinking bouts months before. Such evidence would of course be legally inadmissible before any Court having to determine whether a man was under the influence of alcohol on a specific occasion far removed in point of time. Its exclusion does not rest on any technical rules of evidence. Evidence of this

nature is inadmissible because it has no relevance and no weight.

We desire to emphasise that Captain Stevens' drinking habits (as we have found them to be after this exhaustive Inquiry) of themselves remain just as irrelevant to the events of the night of 10 February 1964 as they were during Sir John Spicer's Commission. It is only in the light of Captain Stevens' medical

history of ulcer trouble, and of a complex pattern of circumstances during the Far Eastern cruise of Voyager from which we have inferred recurrences of that ulcer trouble, that the evidence of his drinking habits (for the most part in moderation) as one factor contributing to these recurrences became relevant in

this Inquiry to the question of Captain Stevens' fitness to retain command of Voyager. Counsel assisting the First Voyager Commission had no knowledge of Captain Stevens' medical history or the condition of his health from time to time, and there was nothing to put them on inquiry.

In other words, it is only through the advantage of the hindsight we now possess after an Inquiry continuing for eighty-five sitting days that the relevance of the late Captain Stevens' drinking habits to the investigation of the circum­ stances of the Melbourne-Voyager collision has become apparent. There was

nothing which could reasonably have led Counsel assisting the first Voyager Commission to perceive what was then an entirely unsuspected link and they are not to be blamed in any way for not calling the evidence.

We answer Question 3 as follows:

( 1) The only evidence of matters later appearing in the 'Cab ban Statement' which was available to Counsel assisting the first Voyager Royal Commission was: (a) evidence of two isolated drinking bouts by Captain Stevens when

Voyager was in port months before the collision; (b) evidence that the Ia te Captain Stevens never drank at sea; (c) evidence that in carrying out manoeuvres between a destroyer and an aircraft carrier 'near misses' sometimes inevitably occurred.

( 2) Counsel assisting the first Voyager Commission made an honest and bona fide decision (with the concurrence of Sir John Spicer) that none of this evidence was relevant in the circumstances as then known, and should not be called. The decision was made only upon a proper professional

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1l9:t ._II..

consideration of the relevance of the evidence to the issues in the Inquiry and was not influenced by any other factor or by any other persons. The evidence was not in any way improperly withheld from the Royal Commission. Indeed, as it was made known to Sir John Spicer, it is not true even to say it was withheld at all from the Royal Commission. We have, however, made findings as to the reasons for it not being given in evidence during the public hearing.

21 8

, PART I-SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTS

We are not required by the Terms of Reference to make any recommendations, but with a view to assisting those whose duty it will be to consider the implica­ tions of our findings in relation to Navy administration we think it appropriate to make some general observations and comments upon several matters.

(1) THE ADEQUACY OF NAVY MEDICAL PROCEDURES IN RELATION TO PERIODIC E)CAMINATION OF NAVAL OFFICERS

We have pointed out elsewhere in this Report (in referring to the evidence of Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans) that the Navy has no objection to a naval officer with a healed duodenal ulcer being certified fit for duties anywhere. We have also pointed out (in referring to the evidence of Rear-Admiral McNicoll) that the

existence of an active duodenal ulcer would immediately cause the captain of a destroyer suffering from it to be relieved immediately of his command for the reason that he would not be fit for sea duties. Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans gave evidence to the same effect. When a destroyer captain has been diagnosed as having

an acute duodenal ulcer he, of course, is placed in hospital and then at a suitable time enters upon treatment and rest. This was the course which Captain Stevens pursued, and except for a brief period of sea duty at the end of 1959 when he returned as Executive Officer of H.M.A.S. Melbourne, for a voyage to New Zealand and return, he then entered upon a period of duty in England which

would have been conducive to keeping his 'ulcer condition' in control if he adhered to a regimen which avoided irritant foods and drink. The evidence is that he did restrict his diet in some degree, but he did recommence drinking alcohol iii moderation from the latter part of 1959.

More importantly, he continued throughout the period in England to have some symptoms of possible reactivation. A duodenal ulcer always possesses the quality of possible recurrence and in that sense it is a chronic condition. Although at the end of 1959 Captain Stevens, prior to his departure for England, was pro­

nounced as healed and returned to Category A, his subsequent history in England clearly reveals that this did not continue to be a wholly correct assessment of his physical condition. He was not medically examined from the time of the 'routine' examination in England on 7 July 1960 when it was noted-'Duodenal ulcer­

now resolved--continued treatment with Prodexin' until his annual medical examination on board H.M.A.S. Voyager at sea on 12 February 1963 by Surgeon­ Lieutenant Tiller. This was in the nature of a routine medical examination. It was carried out by the ship's surgeon who was young and inexperienced and

holding the rank only of Lieutenant. The examination was not specifically directed to the question whether Captain Stevens had exhibited signs or symptoms of reactivation of his duodenal ulcer.

Rear-Admiral Coplans has pointed out that upon a medical examination the medical officer has to rely upon a captain relating to him the symptoms of ulcer because signs of reactivation are purely subjective. It does not appear that Tiller pressed Captain Stevens as to the possible existence of such symptoms. It is certain that Captain Stevens did not disclose them to the doctor.

Having regard to the events which have come to light in this Commission, we are disposed to think that once a captain or any other officer occupying a responsible position in relation to sea-going duties has been diagnosed as having

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a duodenal ulcer, he should not be permitted to resume sea-going duties without a r,igid medical examination by a senior medical practitioner with specialist know­ ledge of this disease. We think that it should be made very clear to the officer examined that he is required to disclose a complete history, since his last medical eX!amination, of his (a) mode of life (b) symptoms (c) his diet and (d) any other possible factors, such as the consumption of alcohol. We think it should be made clear to such officer that his failure to make such a disclosure would entail a condign penalty. We think, perhaps, a special medical form (including an exhaus­

tive questionnaire) should be devised for purposes such < as these. We are also dis­ posed to think that there should be periodic 'follow up' examinations by a senior medical practitioner.

We are not required by the Terms of Reference to make any finding or recom­ mendation about this matter and we recognise that it is a matter of policy for the naval authorities but, having regard to what has been disclosed to us in the course of this Inquiry, we think · that in the public interest we should draw these

observations to the attention of the appropriate authorities.

(2) WHETHER SOME MODIFICATION IN THE HEAVY SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS IMPOSED 0 AVAL OFFICERS VISITING PORTS ON AN OPERATIONAL CRUISE IS DESIRABLE AND PRACTICABLE

It will be abundantly clear from earlier parts of this Report that captains of Australian naval ships are required as a matter of duty, or through what is regarded by them to be a matter of strict social obligation, to attend in the various ports of call on a Far Eastern cruise, e.g . Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo, an

almost endless round of official luncheons, dinners, receptions and other functions ashore and on the ships of other navies in harbour and to return hospitality in their own ships. Nearly every senior naval officer has agreed that to carry out these social duties in the Far Eastern ports places a great strain upon a captain

and exposes him to the vicissitudes of food and drink which many of the officers, although otherwise in good health, are unable to withstand without some effect on their physical well being. In the case of Captain Stevens, the heavy programme of sociaf activities which he felt obliged to carry out was a substantial factor con­

tributing to his unfitness, and as we have said elsewhere we have sympathy and understanding for him in his obvious difficulty in withstanding social pressures to depart from what should have been a strict regimen of food and drink. It is no part of our oblig at io n under the Terms of Reference to make any finding with regard to this subject matter and we realise the problem is not an easy one. But in the light of what did happen

the Naval Board to the situation so that they may weigh it up in all its aspects and consider whether there should be any modification to the policy which has hitherto been pursued.

(3) WHETHER R.A.N. SHIPS SHOULD BE 'DRY'

We have said emphatically that any idea that the late Captain Stevens was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision must be rejected entirely and that it is open to grave doubt whether in fact he had even had one glass of brandy

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and water an hour and a half before the collision. We have also emphasised that C aptain Stevens did not drink at any time while Voyager was at sea during the Far Eastern operational cruise. Nor is there any evidence to suggest that any officers concerned with the navigation of the ship drank at sea. It appears that

there is a strongly entrenched tradition that officers concerned with navigation do not drink at sea and that this is adhered to faithfully. It follows that there is nothing which has emerged from the Inquiry itself to suggest that R.A. . ships should be made 'dry', or that there should be any modification of existing dis­ ciplinary regulations as to drinking hours or otherwise.

We only advert to this matter to remove any erroneous impression that may have gained some acceptance that the circumstances of the Melbourne-Voyager collision themselves point to the necessity of making R.A.N. ships dry, or the imposing of a more rigid disciplinary code as to drinking at sea.

The question is one of policy for the Naval Board and there is nothing that bas come to light in our Inquiry which has occasioned us to form any opinion on it one way or the other.

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PART J-SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL FINDINGS

TERM OF REFERENCE 1

Whether any of the allegations made by Lieutenant-Commander P. T. Cabban in the document attached regarding the drinking habits and seamanship of Captain D. H. Stevens were true and being true established that Captain Stevens was unfit to retain command of H.M.A.S. Voyager?

(1) TilE 'CABBAN STATEMENT' (PART D)

The 'Cabban Statement' annexed to the Terms of Reference is a typed transcrip­ tion of a tape recording made by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban in January 1965 at the request of Captain Robertson to provide confidential background material for a book called 'One Minute of Time' then being written by Vice-Admiral

Hickling (R.N. Retired). In this book the Vice-Admiral trenchantly criticised certain findings adverse to Captain Robertson made by the Royal Commissioner (Sir John Spicer) in his Report on the loss of Voyager and claimed that a grave injustice had been done to him. Cabban's espousal of Captain Robertson's cause and his tendency to dramatise situations were factors which go to explain but not to justify his inClusion in the 'Cabban Statement' of incautious sweeping generalisa­ tions about Captain Stevens' drinking habits and of highly coloured accounts of certain incidents. The 'Cabban Statement' on its face suggests that Captain Stevens was frequently intoxicated whenever Voyager was in port. Cab ban himself in his sworn evidence before us disavowed any intention to suggest that this was the fact and conceded that in some respects the 'Cabban Statement' gave a fal se

impression. In fact be only asserted in his evidence that Captain Stevens was intoxicated on two or three isolated occasions throughout the whole Far Eastern cru ise.

As to the incidents involving Captain Stevens' seamanship recounted in the 'Cab ban Statement', Cab ban made it clear in his evidence that be only referred to them to indicate Captain Stevens' temperamental reaction to difficult situations and to illustrate the likelihood of 'near misses' occurring in some naval exercises. He said be did not by recounting them intend to impute to Captain Stevens any incompetence or recklessness in his ship handling suggestive of unfitness to command.

(2) THE CHARACTER AND CREDIT OF LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER CABBAN (PARTE, SECTION (4))

Our assessment of Cabban is that although he did not deliberately fabricate evi­ dence and his evidence as to the objective facts of many specific incidents was amply corroborated be was in retrospect led to reconstruct some events which occurred during the operational cruise in 1963 to fit in with a general impression he had formed of a pattern of behaviour of Captain Stevens. This impression led him to put a wrong construction on some incidents and to jump too readily to

conclusions. A number of instances demons·trate a marked tendency to see himself as the central figure in a dramatic situation. This sense of the dramatic was a contributing factor which coloured his judgment. We therefore regard him in many instances as an unreliable witness, particularly as to matters involving any exercise of judgment or interpretation of a situation-not becau se he did not teU th e truth as he saw it, but because his vision of the truth was obscured by unreliability of judgment. We were therefore for the most part not prepared to

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act on' his evidence unless it was corroborated. We add that neither the 'Cabban Statement' nor his evidence was coloured by any dishonest motive or by any malice towards the late Captain Stevens.

(3) TilE DRINKING HABITS OF THE LATE CAPTAIN STEVENS (PARTE, SECTION (2)) The late Captain Stevens was not a drunkard nor an alcoholic. Nor did he periodically become intoxicated when Voyager was in port. Neither Cabban nor

anyone else suggests that Captain Stevens ever drank when Voyager was at sea. The exhaustive investigation in this Inquiry into his drinking habits over a period from January 1963 to December 1963 has disclosed no acceptable evidence of gross intoxication at any time and only establishes moderate intoxication on one occasion (at the wardroom dinner given in honour of Captain Stevens' birth­ day on 23 March 1963) and mild intoxication on two other occasions (one in

April and another in May). (See the summary of drinking habits in PartE, Section 2 (e) above.) The only occasion which calls for mention in this Summary is that of the Captain's birthday dinner on 23 March 1963 given to him by the wardroom. He was when he arrived for the dinner moderately intoxicated but was able to walk

normally and talk intelligibly to the officers. He had no more than one drink (if any) after he arrived. He was unable to see this dinner through and left after the first course, but he did not 'pass out' through gross intoxication but through a combination of fatigue, pain and nausea related to his ulcer condition (but to

which unwise drinking had contributed). Before the dinner began he indulged in a little horseplay. Instead of being formally escorted to his place at table by his Executive Officer he said to Cabban 'Let's get this over, No. 1', placed his hands on tthe floor as if he were about to race to the dinner table, and moved

along the floor in that position for a few feet. This was, we were told, inapprop­ priate to the formality of a wardroom dinner given by his officers to the Captain, but far too much was made by Cabban and others of this piece of jollification. However, rightly or wrongly, tthe 'birthday dinner' made a tremendous impact on

Cab ban and (coupled with his lack of appreciation of ill health as an important contributing cause) led him over the next three months to see in Captain Stevens' fairly consistent drinking and occasions of illness a disturbing pattern of behaviour caused by addiction to alcohol, which in turn led him to make the incautious and

misleading statements he did in the 'Cabban Statement' about Captain Stevens' drinking habits.

(4) CAPTAIN STEVENS' HEALTH (PARTE, SECTIONS (1) AND (2)) Unfortunately the late Captain Stevens suffered from a duodenal ulcer. This was thought not to be active when be took command of Voyager in early January 1963, but from at least the time of the first visit to Singapore ( 13 to 25 February 1963) -a fortnight after the beginning of Voyager's operational cruise-there is clear

evidence of symptoms of the recurrence of Captain Stevens' ulcer trouble (includ­ ing several periods of actual illness). This ulcer trouble bad become intensified by the time of Voyager's first visit to Hong Kong (29 March to 15 April) and continued from time to time to be acute as the cruise proceeded, and reached its

height at Tokyo. The specific occasions of illness are set out in the summary in Part E, Section 2 (e) above. The initial reactivation of his ulcer troub,le was not associated with excessive drinking; but as the cruise went on Captain Stevens

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9 j

unfortunately began to drink, not excessively for a well man, but unwisely having regard to his ulcer condition. Added to the burden of the heavy exercise programmes there was in every Far Eastern port a constant and demanding round of official, semi-official and private social functions ashore and return of hospitality on board. The picture we have of Captain Stevens is of a warm, friendly, gregarious man with an outgoing personality who liked to 'go along' with the next man in social drinking and eating. Illness was something which he scorned. We have no doubt that he found it most difficult to withstand the strong social pressures to eat and drink unwisely when he should have eaten only plain food and confined his drinking to the very moderate amount (if any) which his unfortunate condition dictated. Then as time went on, Captain Stevens increased his intake of liquor on the ship on occasions while she was in port by slowly drinking 'thin' brandies and water during the day. This we have no doubt was in a mistaken but understandable endeavour to obtain temporary relief from stomach pain or discomfort. The

temporary relief he gained was soon displaced by aggravation. In all this we have for him sympathy and understanding. But the conclusion is inescapable that his unwise drinking habits (though we again emphasise not excessive for a well man except on one or two isolated occasions) did contribute to the reactivation of his duodenal ulcer. The burden of the operational cruise had revived his ulcer symptoms; an endless round of social functions involved him in unwise drinking;

he began to drink more consistently not for enjoyment but to obtain temporary relief from stomach discomfort; the whole thing had become a vicious circle.

All this reached a climax in Tokyo in June 1963. Then much to his credit Captain Stevens again adopted a strict regimen and either totally abstained from alcohol or drank very moderately during the return journey which ended in Sydney on 3 August 1963. He did not continue this rigid self discipline, but there is nothing to suggest that at any time he drank excessively until after he sat as a member of a court martial on Captain Dovers in Sydney at the end of November

1963. This was a task which greatly troubled him. He travelled back to Melbourne by train with Captain Loxton and between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. drank in all eight to ten brandies. He was ill for the next four days as a result of the stress and strain of the court martial proceedings and his relatively excessive drinking on the train.

This illness we have no doubt was another recurrence of his ulcer trouble. There­ after up to and including the night of the collision on 10 February 1964 there is no evidence to suggest that he drank excessively, but in the latter half of January 1964 he had further reactiva tions of his ulcer trouble.

(5) CAPTAIN STEVENS' UNFITNESS TO RETAIN COMMAND OF 'VOYAGER' (PARTE, SECTION 6)

(a) Upon the basis of our findings of intermittent recurrences of his duodenal ulcer trouble between January 1963 and December 1963 (to which his drinking habits contributed) and in the light of all the relevant circumstances to which we have referred the conclusion is inescapable that (answering the question as at 31 December 1963) the late Captai n Stevens was then unfit to retain command of Voyager, because hi s physical condition did not conform to the very high standard of physical fitness (with its concomitant mental alertness) required of a Captain holding that command. We think this conclusion must follow even if at that particular point of time his ulcer was not clinically fully reactivated. In

determining the question of fitness to retain sea-command it is of course essential

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to th e potential risk of recurrence of a debilitating physical condition.

Unfortunatel y the whole history of the Far Eastern operational cruise demonstrates only too clearly that the late Captain Stevens was not sufficiently physically fit to stand up to its very taxing operational and social burdens. We think that no responsible Naval authority having before it in December 1963 the findings we

have made could possibly have been satisfied that Captain Stevens was then sufficiently fit to undertake in the near future the burdens of a similar cruise. (b) It is not possible to say for how long after 31 December 1963 the late Captain Steve ns would have been likely to have remained unfit to retain command of Voyager. He would certai nly have been subjected to a searching medical

examination and given shore service until such time as it was established by expert medical opinion that he was fit to be classified in Catego ry A and able without doubt to stand up to a demanding operational cruise.

( 6) TERM OF REFERE CE 2

If it is fo und i n answer to Question 1 that Ca pta in Stevens was unfit to retai n

command of H.M.A.S. Voyager : (a) Did the aval Board know or ought they to have known of such un fitne s to

retain command and were they at fault in fai lin g to relieve him of command? ( b) Should th e fi ndings made in the report of the Royal Commission relating to the loss of H .M .A.S. Voyager be varied, and if so, in what re spect ?

QUESTION 2 (a ) (PART F)

We fin d that the aval Board did not know of any of the allegations in the 'Cabban Statement' or of any unfitness of Captain Stevens to retain command of Voyager and there was nothing that came to their knowledge which ought to have put th em on inquiry. The procedures adopted for ensuring that proper

reports a re made on naval officers appea r to be adequate so long as those whose duty it i to make them faithfully do so. We draw the Naval Board's attention howe ver to the desi rabil ity of requiring a searching examination by a se nior medic al specia list of a naval officer who has had a history of ulcer trouble before

appointi ng him to a sea command. And since duodenal ulcer trouble may inter­ mittently recur des pite substantial remi ssions, it may also be desirable to require rigorous periodic 'follow up' medical examinations. The Fleet Medical Officer on H.M.A.S. Melbourne (Surgeon Commander Me eill ) failed in his duty to report on Captain Stevens' condition as he knew

it to be in Hong Kong in April 1963. The Medical Officer on Voyager (Surgeon­ Lieutenant Tiller) similarly failed in his duty to report on Captain Stevens' illness after Voyager left Tokyo in June. Naval regulations required that in each case a prescribed fo rm of report should have been completed and sent through the appropri ate channel s to the Medical Director-General of the avy. There were

some extenuating circumstances in each case. Each was in an awkward position. Captain Stevens consulted Surgeon-Commander Me ei ll as a friend. Surgeon­ Lieutenant Tiller was a young inexperienced officer of junior rank who stood in some awe of the Captain. We have no doubt that in each case the failure to com­

plete an d send in the prescribed report was prompted by Captain Stevens' obvious anxiety that news of his condition should not reach the Naval authorities and possibly prejudice his career. In this connection we al so refer to two instances (one at Hong Kong in April 1963 and the other as late as Williamstown in December 1963) when Captain Stevens, in an endeavour to keep from th e a val

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authorities the fact that he was ill, did not in official records relating to punish­ ment of offences committed by ratings disclose his illness as the true reason for continued delay in dealing with them. All this is understandable but not excusable.

QUESTION 2 (b) (PART G)

Sir John Spicer's line of reasoning in relation to a number of his findings (and perhaps more importantly in relation to his expressed inability to assign any cause for Voyager heading across the bows of Melbourne on a collision course) was substantially influenced if not dominated by an underlying assumption that Captain Stevens must necessarily have been completely fit and alert and therefore incapable of error. In view of the findings we have made that Captain Stevens was in December 1963 unfit to retain command of Voyager for an indefinite period this assumption Sir John Spicer made of him was (as it now turns out) erroneous.

The displacement of this assumption by the evidence given before us in the present Inquiry made it our clear duty pursuant to Term of Reference 2 (b) to examine critically Sir John Spicer's findings. As a result of our detailed examina­ tion of his findings and our study of the transcript of the evidence taken before him we think the conclusion is inescapable that many of his findings should be varied.

The findings of Sir John Spicer in our opinion should for the detailed reasons we have given in Part G, be varied as appears in the following eight paragraphs: ( 1) Voyager's final turn to starboard and her subsequent turn to port took place as the result of the final flying course signal and not as a result of

the final turning signal. [Sir John Spicer was in the express terms of his Report, only inclined to the view that those final movements were induced by the final turning signal, but his tendency to take this view appears to us to have formed the substantial substratum of his other principal

findings.]

(2) Voyager's course from the moment when port 10° wheel was put on (after the final turn to starboard) was a continuous curving course caused by an adherence to this degree of rudder until about 20 seconds before the collision, when as a result of the order 'hard astarboard', Voyager straightened to a heading which at time of impact was between 280° and 290°.

[Sir John Spicer found that Voyager, prior to the order 'hard astar­ board', was on a steady (i.e. straight) course 'for a minute more or less' or 'for a short period' up to 20 seconds before the collision when the order 'hard astarboard' had some effect to bring Voyager at impact to a heading of between 280° and 290°.] ( 3) The cause and the sole cause of the collision was the action of Voyager

in continuing to steer to a course beyond 020° as the result of adhering to the port 10° wheel. In the light of the variations in the findings of Sir John Spicer which we have said should be made, and for the detailed reasons we have given in Section 4 of this Part, we are satisfied that the criticism of Captain Robertson made by Sir John Spicer is not justified and that there should

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be substituted for this cnt1c1sm a finding that no blame or criticism attaches to Captain Robertson in relation to h is conduct as the Captain in command of Melbourne, or as tactical operator in command of the joint operations on the night of the collision, the sole responsibility for which lies with Voyager.

Similarly we find that no blame should be attached to Acting Com­ mander Kelly or Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate each of whom in the extraordinary circumstances of the collision did all that could be expected of him.

[Sir John Spicer found that the primary cause of the collision was the action by Voyager in making a turn beyond 020° and, although he was unable to say whether the collision would have been avoided if Captain Robertson had made some inquiry or passed some signal to Voyager, he felt that the chances of a collision occurring might have been lessened if Captain Robertson had done so. He thought

that Acting Commander Kelly should have paid more regard to Voyager's movements than he did and that Acting Sub-Lieutenant Bate failed to exercise sufficient care as Officer of the Watch to protect his own vessel (Melbourne) from collision.] ( 4) The action of Voyager (as found by us in ( 3) above) was in turn caused

by Voyager continually turning to port in the mistaken belief held by the bridge of Voyager until about 20 seconds before the impact that she was on the port side of Melbourne. [Sir John Spicer found that such a belief was not held primarily

because it involved a margin of error on the bridge of Voyager as to her actual course which was difficult to conceive.] ( 5) The mistaken belief of the bridge of Voyager (as found by us in ( 4) above) was induced by an error of mental judgment or visual observa­

tion, the exact cause of which cannot, by reason of the loss in the disaster of Captain Stevens, Lieutenant Cook (Navigating Officer) and Lieutenant Price, R.N. (First Officer of the Watch), be now determined; but that there were some circumstances peculiar to Captain Stevens and certain physical conditions relating to the night, the darkened carrier and its

appearance during the final changes of course common to all three officers on the bridge of Voyager which, along with the capacity of all persons for human error, could, in our opinion, account for such an error. [Sir John Spicer in effect found that no such error was made.] ( 6) It is impossible, having regard to the evidence which was at the time of

the First Voyager Commission and now is available, to determine, either with absolute precision or with sufficient precision for complete reliance, the times when signals were despatched to or acknowledged by Voyager, elapsed times between signals or in which movements were executed,

distances between ships at any given times or the courses or stations of vessels when they were at some considerable distances apart from each other and the actual speeds of the ships at given positions. [Sir John Spicer did not make a finding in these terms but we think

that, despite doubts expressed by him as to accuracy of some of these matters, he did base his reasoning upon acceptance of evidence of this type.]

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(7) The course pursued by Voyager to the point of collision was not induced by the corruption or misunderstanding of any signal given by Melbourne to Voyager. [Sir John Spicer, although not making any express findings with

regard to these matters, appears to have left them open as a basis for the error which Voyager made in steering upon a collision course.]

(8) Captain Stevens was an experienced and competent captain of a destroyer and well versed in and able to conduct the type of manoeuvre in which Voyager was engaged at the time of the collision, but was not in such a state of health as would fit him to command a destroyer on such manoeuvres.

[Sir John Spicer, whilst finding that Captain Stevens possessed the experience, competence and ability, impliedly found that the condition of health of Captain Stevens was such as to enable him properly to exercise that command.]

(N.B.-No evidence was led and no issue was raised before Sir John Spicer with regard to the health of Captain Stevens at any time so that Sir John very naturally made the implied assumption to which we have referred.)

(7) THE ALLEGED DRINKING OF A GLASS OF BRANDY BY CAPTAIN STEVENS ON THE NIGHT OF THE COLLISION (10 FEBRUARY 1964) . (PART E , SECTION 3).

Any notion that the late Captain Stevens was under the influence of alcohol at th e time of the Melbourne-Voyager disaster must be entirely rejected. It is indeed open to grave doubt whether he had a drink at all that night. The small percentage of alcohol (0.025) found in a sample of his blood taken more than 60 hours after

his death may (as scientific opinions of a high order convinced us) have been wholly or partly attributable to post mortem changes and not ·to the actual drinking of alcohol before death. The only direct evidence that he had a drink that. night came from the Captain's steward, one Barry John Hyland, who was

an honest but unimpressive witness whose recollection as to the occasion may have been genuinely at fault. In fairness to the late Captain Stevens it ought not to be assumed that he had a drink at all that night. If he did it was no more than 2! oz of brandy an hour and a half before the collision and it can be taken as certain on the whole of the evidence that he was in no way affected by this at the time of the collision.

(8) TERM OF REFERENCE 3 (PART H) Whether the allegations in the document disclosed evidence which was available to counsel assisting the Royal Commission and was improperly withheld from the Royal Commission?

( I) The only evidence of matters later appearing in the 'Cab ban Statement' which was available to Counsel assisting the First Voyager Royal Commission consisted of allegations that: (a) there were two isolated drinking bouts by Captain Stevens months before

the collision when Voyager was in port;

228

(IJ') the late Captain Stevens never drank at sea; (c) in carrying out manoeuvres between a destroyer and an aircraft carrier 'near misses' sometimes inevitably occurred.

( 2) Counsel assisting the First Voyager Commission made an honest and bona fide decision (with the concurrence of Sir John Spicer) that none of this evidence was relevant in the circumstances as then known, and should not be called. The decision was made only upon a proper professional consideration of the relevance

of the evidence to the issues in the Inquiry and was not influenced by any other factor or by any other persons. The evidence was not in any way improperly withheld from the Royal Commission. Indeed, as it was made known to Sir John Spicer, it is not true to say it was withheld at all from the Royal Commission. We

have however made findings as to the reasons for it not being given in evidence during the public hearing.

229

1 2 0 ,:J

PART K-ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would first pay a special tribute to our fellow Commissioner, the Honourable Mr Justice Lucas for his very great contribution to the work of the Commission. He sat with us day by day throughout the whole period occupied by the hearing of the evidence. We had the benefit of his wise and penetrating views on the evi­ dence as it was given by witness after witness, and as the hearing of the evidence was drawing to a close we were able to have most valuable conferences together on the overall weight of the evidence in relation to the issues of fact which we had to determ ine. We, of course, take full responsibility for the form and content of this Report, but we think it proper to say that on questions of credibility of witnesses (including the character and credit of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban) his views accord with our own, and that after hearing the evidence of the steward Hyland, and the scientific evidence relating to the alleged consumption of a glass of brandy and water on the night of the collision, he shared with us grave doubts whether in fact the late Captain Stevens did drink any alcohol at all that night. He was also as convinced as we were that the late Captain Stevens did not fre­ quently become intoxicated and that the evidence only established the isolated occasions of slight intoxication which we have found. He was satisfied, as we were after hearing all the evidence (including that of Sir William Morrow) that Captain Stevens' problem was not excessive addiction to alcohol, but recurrences of his unfortunate duodenal ulcer condition. He has perused in draft form the Sections of our Report dealing with these matters and he has authorised us to express his con­ currence in our views to the extent we have above indicated. It was a matter of the most profound regret to us that because of his illness Mr Justice Lucas was unable to continue to sit with us during Counsel's addresses, or to assist us with our subsequent deliberations upon the ultimate issues raised by our Inquiry-par­ ticularly on the problems raised by Question 2 (b).

We next desire to express our very great appreciation of the splendid work done by Mr Burt, Q.C., and his Junior Counsel, Mr Philip Jeffrey in seeking out, assembling and presenting to us a great volume of evidence in this long and com­ plex Inquiry. Not only was all this done with professional skill of the highest order but it was done completely impartially and objectively. In this mammoth task they were ably assisted by Mr J. P. Harkins (Principal Legal Officer, Deputy Common­ wealth Crown Solicitor's Office), Mr R. E. Neal (Senior Legal Officer in the same office) and members of their staff. The arduous and unremitting work by day and by night of our assisting Counsel and those who instructed them enables us to say with confidence that this Inquiry bas been as exhaustive as any reasonable human endeavours could make it.

We also desire to commend the valuable work of the Secretary of the Com­ mission, Mr R. H. Wineberg. His work was at all times highly efficient with meticulous attention to detail. In particular, by working many hours at nights and in week-ends, he prepared a most helpful detailed running index of the 5,000 pages of evidence (which was of great assistance to Counsel and to ourselves).

We also acknowledge the assistance we had from the Chairman's Associate, Mr Philip Kyle, who acted as assistant Secretary to the Commission, handled the exhibits, and spent many hours with Mr Wineberg in checking over the draft and final Report.

230

W,e thank the members of the Commonwealth Reporting Branch for theu remarkable efforts in producing a prompt and accurate daily transcript of the evidence and for the help of other members of the Staff in taking copies of the Report from the stencils.

We also thank Mrs D. Abbott, of the same Branch, for her most efficiem speedy and unremitting work in typing the stencils for the Report; and Miss M. J . Gilmour, Miss J. Mcintyre and Miss A. Carroll for their assistance as typist stenographers.

The Chairman desires to acknowledge the valuable personal assistance given to him by his Associate Mr Philip Kyle and his private Secretary, Miss J. Mcintyre.

Mr Justice Asprey similarly desires to acknowledge valuable personal assistance given to him by his Associate Mrs I. E. Cole and his Tipstaff Mr G . A. Brickell.

231

We have the honour to be, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient servants.

S. C. BURBURY K. W. ASPREY Commissioners

APPENDIX A

CLASSIFIED LIST OF WITNESSES

(1) N AVAL OFFICERS AND RATINGS WHO SERVED IN H .M.A.S. Voyager D URING THE P ERIOD 2 JANUARY 1963- 10 FEBRUARY 1964

(RANKS ARE SHOWN AS OF DATE OF GIVING EVIDENCE OR OF RETIREMENT FROM R.A.N.)

Leading Seaman John Richard AARoN Leading Seaman James Alexander BAILEY Chief Petty Officer Robert William BARKER Petty Officer David Alfred Holman BATEs Leading Radio Operator Robert John BETTS Lieutenant-Commander Ian Inglis BLAIKIE Leading Seaman Barry James BRITTON

Leading Radio Operator Graham Charles BROOM Able Seaman Geoffrey David BRoWN Ordinary Seaman Michael Anthony BROWNLESS Leading Tactical Operator Robert John BURDETT

Lieutenant-Commander Peter Thomas CABBAN Lieutenant-Commander Richard Maxwell CARPENDALE (RN) Leading Seaman Kim Stephen CASAS Lieutenant Donald Bruce CHALMERs

Leading Tactical Operator Leslie CHURCH Leading Tactical Operator Peter John CocKROFT Leading Seaman Brian CoLLINs Commander Peter Wilson COOMBS Petty Officer Joseph CURTis Leading Seaman Radar Plotter Peter William DusTING

Ordinary Steward Andrew Richard EDDY Tactical Communications Operator Neil EDWARDS Able Seaman John ENNOR Tactical Operator G arry William EvANs

Lieutenant John Reid FACE Writer Phillip Ian FARMER Leading Writer Allan Raymond FAULKNER Lieutenant-Commander John Edwin FERRIER

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Murray Bruce FORREST Leading Seaman Louis Roy FREDERICK Petty Officer Steward Neil Richard FREEMAN Naval Shipwright Second Class Norman John GA RDINER

Radio Operator William Alfred GLINDEMAN Leading Seaman George Ronald GRAHAM Able Seaman Brian GREGORY Commander Scott GRIFFITH Cook (S) John Stanley GUNDERSON Chief Petty Officer Quartermaster Gunner Peter John HADLER

Lieutenant Thomas Ainsworth HALL Leading Seaman Arthur Victor Eric HANN Able Seaman Terence James HARPER Ordinary Seaman Alan Leslie HAYLES Lieutenant-Commander Ian Fletcher HOLMES

Lieutenant Robert Anthony HOWLAND Leading Steward Barry John HYLAND Able Seaman James Frederick IRVINE

Leading Tactical Operator Robert Neil JOCUMSEN Able Seaman Rodney Colin KLEASE Surgeon Lieutenant-Commander Allan Leslie KYD

12078/68-16 Al

Leading Steward Francis Richard LEATiiERBARROW Midshipman Gary Norman LEE Radio Operator G arry John LUTTRELL

Sick Berth Attendant Donald Aubert McDONALD Able Seaman Colin Geoffrey MACKIE Commander David James MARTIN Leading Seaman Andrew Barclay MATI"HEWS Able Seaman Peter Edward MEAD Mechanical Engineer Reginald William MEES Steward Desmond Harold MENKINS

Commander William Henry MONEY Chief Petty Officer John J ames MoRRow Able Seaman Raymond MURRAY

Petty Officer Weapons Mechanic Garth Lindsay Hutton NANTES Leading Airman (Met.) Alan Edwin NEWCOMBE Lieutenant Christopher John NISBET Chief Petty Officer Cook Richard James NORMAN

Leading Seaman Graham Anthony PANNELL Lieutenant-Commander John Kendall PERRETT Radio Operator Special Robert Frewen POLA Petty Officer Weapons Mechanic Gregory Alistair PoRTER

Lieutenant Terence REDMAN Cook Brian John ROWE

Lieutenant Leslie William Thomas SoMERVILLE Petty Officer Weapons Mechanic William Stanley STRACHAN

Surgeon-Lieutenant Michael Clifford TILLER Lieutenant-Commander Christopher Barry TuKE (RN)

Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Russell VASEY Able Seaman Raymond Ian VIZZARD

Chief Petty Officer Steward Bruce William WATSON Petty Officer Malcolm Ernest WEBBER Petty Officer Radar Plotter Desmond George WEST Petty Officer Sick Berth Attendant John Rennie WILSON

Chief Petty Officer Geoffrey Percival WORTH Lieutenant Robert John WRIGHT Tactical Operator Robert John WALKER

Chief Petty Officer William Edward Frederick YOUNGS

(2) OTHER NAVAL OFFICERS AND RATINGS

Captain Neil Alan BOASE Captain Jeffrey William BRITTEN

Captain Domara Andrews Heap CLARKE Lieutenant Keith Norman CLELAND Surgeon Rear-Admiral Robert Michael CoPLANS

Commodore Alan Wilson DOLLARD Captain William John DoVERS Lieutenant-Commander Reginald Charles DYER

Rear-Admiral Frank Leveson GEORGE Captain Geoffrey Vernon GLADSTONE

Surgeon Commander Samuel Francis Hewitt HA UGHTON

Commander Peter Thomas IRWIN (RN)

Commander John LANCASTER Captain Bruce H amilton LoxTON

A2

Captain ,Alan Gibb MCFARLANE Surgeon-Commander John Roger McNEILL Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Wedel Ramsay McNrCOLL Rear-Admiral Thomas Kenneth MORRISON

Lieutenant Robert John NAITEY

Rear-Admiral Richard Innes PEEK

Captain Ronald John ROBERTSON

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Graham M aurice SM ITH Rear-Admiral Victor Alfred SMITH Captain Guido James WILLIS

Able Seaman Brian George WINN EIT

( 3 ) NON -N AVAL WITNESSES

Dr John Henry Winter BIR RELL John Clinton BRAUND

Ronald Arthur CASEY Stanley Cecil CHANDLER

Squadron Leader M aurice F ARR ELLY Barry Joseph FITZGERALD

Keith Compton GAL E Senator John Grey GORTON Dr Kerry GOULSTON William GRANT

John G ardiner GRIERSON

D avid William HIGGERSON Gwynneth Eliot HIGGERSON

Arthur Barclay JAMIESON

Samuel LANDAU Piet Vincent Constantijn Eduard L IERENSCHUTz

Sir Laurence Rupert MCINTYRE Sir William MORROW

Eric Norval NEILSON John William George N EUHAUS

Frederick Mears OSBORNE

Dr Ronald Victor W allace RO BERTS

Ian F itzharding SHEPPA RD John Bowditch SINCLAIR John William SMYTH Beatrice Louise ST EVENS

Sir Jack STEVENS

William Dennis T AUBE RT

David H arold WH YAIT George Edwin W RIGHT

A3

APPENDIX B

AFFIDAVITS

Name of witness

DE LANGE, Adrianus Reinen HAWKINs, Thomas Joseph

HICKS, David Stuart

LIEBENSCHUTZ, Piet Vincent Constantijn Eduard

McGEOCH, Ian Lachlan Mackay PLACE, Basil Charles Godfrey .

SCATCHARD, John Percival

SMYfH, Dacre Henry Deudraeth TURNER, Maxwell George

URQUART, Kenneth McKenzie

WERE, Valentine, W. WILLIS, A. A.

A4

Exhibit number

173

192 172 146 191 200

184 190 111 174

185 189

APPENDIX C

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF STATEMENTS INCLUDED IN EXIDBIT 60A

Name Statement N u.

BURNs, Graham 68

CONDOR, J. A. 291

CRAWFORD, Kenneth Andrew 170

CuLLEN, James Holland 137

DAVIDSON, John 272

DONNELLEY, Noel Joseph 172

FARRELL, Ella . 114

HILLER, Alan Dennis 136

HUMPHREY, Stuart Donald Richard Charles 73 LAING, Dr John 132

LLOYD, William James 76 and 76 (1)

Low, Ronald Dustan 36

MCGEOCH, Ian Lachlan Mackay 194

MooRE, Dennis Brian 67

MURPHY, Dr Ian Stephen Macleod 222

NATTEY, Charlotte Lindsay 115

O'DONN ELL, Ernest . 285

PARTRIDGE, Barry Vaughan 95

PITTARD, J. and B. N. 135

PLAC E, B. C. G . 162

PLUECKHAHN, V. C .. 268

POOL, Darryl 193

PoRTER, Stanley Charles 296

RICH , Raymond Ernest 34

STEWART, Robert Leslie 157

TABB, Frank William 45

THOMAS, Robert William . 158

TIBBITTS, Glendon Eric 201

VERCO, Frederick Silas 199

WATSON, Alan 270

WEIR, Denis N . 209

y.'EIR, George Harrison 120

WILLIS, A. A. 32

WONDER, June Margaret 200

WOTHERSPOON, Allan Robert 134

SA

APPENDIX D

LIST OF EXHIBITS

Exhibit No. Transcript Page ·v.

Service record of Lieutenant-Commander P. T . Cabban 13

2 Service record of Captain Stevens 14

3 Report of Royal Commissioner on loss of H.M.A.S. Voyager 14

4 Photograph of H.M.A.S. Voyager 15

5 Plan of H .M.A.S. Voyager . 15

6 Crew list of H .M.A.S. Voyager at 31 January 1963 15

7 Reports of proceedings of H.M.A.S. Voyager for the months January to February and April 1963 to January 1964 and report of pro-ceedings of H .M.A.S. Vampire for the month of March, 1963 16 Letters dated 13 July 1967 and 17 July 1967 to the Deputy Crown

Solicitor from th.e Secretary, Department of the Navy relating to the Missing Report of Proceedings for March 1963 from H.M.A.S. Voyager 63

8 Route of H.M.A.S. Voyager's Far East commission with dates and exercises plotted 17

9 Rough notebook of solicitor instructing Counsel assisting Royal Commission . 18

10 Statement by Lieutenant-Commander Peter Thomas Cabban dated 18 / 2/64 20

lOA Sketch of 'fishtail' manoeuvre by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 151

11 Record of interview with Peter Thomas Cabban by Sergeant Turner 21

12 Postmortem report on the late Captain Stevens 13 Blood alcohol estimation analysis report of the late Captain Stevens 14 Statement by Steward Hyland dated 21/2/ 64 . 15 Evidence of Steward Hyland ( 1964 hearing at page 2856-8) . 16 Signed duplicate copy of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban's undated

signed statement 17 Report of Professor Blackburn dated 24/ 3/ 64 and copy of evidence of Professor Blackburn 18 Extracts from transcript of Royal Commission 1964--Pages 1741-51;

1776-7; 2478-2480; 50-52; 62-63; 77-81; 83; 84; 855-856; 862; 864-5; 870; 872; 875; 879; 883-887; 890-1; 894-5; 903-5; 952; 953; 962; 976; 1384-7; 1703-4; 2150; 2152-3; 2160; 2163 ; 2610; 2856-61 ; 2864-9; 2967-8; 3140-4; 3152-3162 . 19 Flying log books of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban

20 File relating to resignation on 20/ 3/ 58 of Lieutenant-Commander Cab ban

21 Copy of N avy File rel ating to the application made by the

22-23 22-23 22-23 26

38

51-52

65,3902 70

72

Benevolent Society of New South Wales . 76

22 Number of fiimsies relating to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 77

23 Extract from Regulations and Instructions for the Royal Australian Navy, Article 1407 and CNO 283/62 79

24 Series of confidential letters dealing with issue of beer to ship's companies

25 Chart of Garden Island area

26 Minute dated 31/5/ 67 from the avy bearing on the retention of

81

84

certain signals 89

A6

1 2 - .)

Exhibit No. Transcript Page No.

106 27 Photograph of officers of H.M.A.S. Voyager dated 4/ 4/63 28 Report of proceedings of H.M.A.S. Yarra for the month of April, 1963 109

29 Copy of file relating to the resignation of Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 141

30 Copy of letter from Admiral Hickling to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban dated 21 January 1965 . 168

31 Portions of transcript of tape recording by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 170

32 Two photographs, the first of the ship's company and the second portion of a parade on ship . 198

33 Three photographs of Admiral Dryer inspecting divisions parade of H.M.A.S. Voyager . 201

34 Album of photographs presented to Captain Stevens by the Mayor of Karatsu 243

35 Punishment Returns from H .M.A.S. Voyager for the year 1963 280 36 Department of avy file regarding pre-refi t conference held 6 August 1963 366

37 Photograph of Captain and Mrs Stevens dated ovember 1963 445

38 Photograph of Captain Stevens, June 1963 . 455

39 Letter from Lieutenant-Commander Cabban to Mrs Stevens dated 1612/ 64 475

40 Certificate from Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology . 476

41 Telegram from Mr Jess, M.H.R., to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban dated 10/ 9/ 64 489

42 Deck Log of H .M.A.S. Vampire, June 1963 545

Beaufort wind scale and correlative sea disturbance table together with weather data extracted from log book of H .M.A.S. Vampire for June 1963 2469

data extracted from H .M A.S. Vampire's ship's log for the period Monday, 10 June 1963 to Monday, 17 June 1963 2486

43 Accident Report Cards relating to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban . 555

44 otification to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban of Commendation aval Board 45 Various routines as they appear in Standing Orders for Daring Cia s

559,641

Destroyers 641

46 Va rious regulations and instructions to R.A. . (Ref. 0234-0341, Article 1348 and Discipline Part Ill 2093A to 2098A, Appendix 29A, Discipline Part ll, Article 1991 (Schedule of Punishments)) . 568, 641

47 Photograph of H.M.S. H ermes and two photographs of Hermes in tow 580, 602

48 Copy of letter from Lieutenant-Commander Cabban to J. D . Jess, M.P., dated 10/ 8/ 66 584

49 Mr Sinclair's notes of interview with Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 587A

49A First Proof of Conference with Lieutenant-Commander Cabban made by Mr Sinclair 652

50 Five photographs rel ating to the presentation of the P akistani Shield . 591

51 Memorandum for Mr Sheppard from Sgt Turner dated 20/ 2/64 in position in file of papers marked ' otes and Messages' 616

52 Envelope marked '78' 53 Statement of Melville Alexander Bruce Webster

A7

619

620

Exhibit No. Transcript Page No.

54 Q.R. & A.I's relating to summary punishments, including warrant punishments (Q.R. & A.I. 1944-1953) 641

55 Letter to Mr J. Braund from Commissioner of Police, Canberra, dated 9 March 1964, with envelope 641

56 (CONFIDENTIAL) 206's made by Captain Stevens relating to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 715

57 Diagrammatic reconstruction of the tracks of Melbourne and Voyager on 10 February 1964 790

58 Mr Landa u's notes of conference with Mr Sheppard dated 18 August 1965 and authenticated in Paragraph 1 by Mr Smyth . 827

59 Memorandum for the Attorney-General signed by Mr Smyth and Mr Sheppard dated 27 April 1967 835

60 File of distributed statements of persons not to be called as

witnesses (and not elsewhere included) . 60A Statements of witnesses wh ose evidence may be received without their being called . 61 Mr Landau's notes of conference had with Mr Sheppard . 61A Jottings made by M r Landau at the time of interview with Mr Smyth

62 Medical Reports relating to the late Captain Stevens

846, 1640, 2348,4636 3232, 4232A, 4640,4642 865

16 38 925

63 Instructions for fleet or squadron medical officers--extracts from Chapter 44 of the regulations and instructions for the R.A.N. 936 64 Booklet 'Loss of H.M.A.S. Voyager'-papers presented to Parliament 947 Chronology of Parliamentary proceedings 947

65 Statement of John Roger McNeill 950

66 Cutting from South China Morning Post showing the Governor and certain officers on boa rd H .M.A.S. Melbourne, dated 1114/ 63 974 67 Clinical notes a nd reports of Sir William Morrow concerning the late Captain Stevens 1051

68 Pro forma of medical file such as is kept for Navy personnel . 1076

69 Navy file-Medical Documentation and Method of administration, Royal Australian Navy . 1076

70 Medical journal of Voyager as kept by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller 1078 71 Time Activity Chart prepared by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban indicating calls and official duties of Captain Stevens, 7/2/63 to 2/ 4/ 63 1150

Interpretation of the Time Activity Chart 4489

72 Letter written by Commander Martin to Mrs Stevens, dated 12 February 1964 1189

73 Deck log of H .M.A.S. Vampire for month of February 1963 . 1191

74 Statement by Able Seaman Peter Edward Mead taken at Sydney on Friday, 21 June 1967 1338

75 Q.R. & A.I. Article 1978 incorporating table of punishments . 1413

76 Statements signed by Petty Officer Strachan dated 5 July and 24 July 1967 1448

77 Letter from Surgeon Rear-Admiral Coplans dated 11 August 1967, together with relevant orders viz. Navy Orders 88/1951, 57/ 1953 , 108 / 1961 1463

78 Copies of statements viewed and commented on by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller 1526

79 Comments made by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller on certain extracts from the 'Cabban statement' . 1550

A8

l

Exhibi No. 80 Original statement made by Surgeon-Lieutenant Tiller at Perth

Transcript Page No. 1626

81 Part file of Department of the Navy file, No. 1288/201/44 entitled 'Voyager inquiry-comments by other officers on Cab ban allegations' 82 Chart of Naval Board administration . 1662

1723 1728 83 1963 distribution list for reports of proceedings 84 Report on procedure for destruction of records by FOCAF's head-quarters 1729

85 Mr Landau's minute to the minister touching discussion he had with Mr Sheppard and Mr Smyth dated 23 August 1965 1730-1731

Memorandum dated 23 August 1965 by Admiral McNicoll headed Attachment B 3882

Memorandum dated 23 August 1965 by Admiral McNicoll headed Attachment C 3882

86 Statement of Allan Leslie Kyd 1747

87 Statement of Petty Officer D avid Bates dated 25 July 1967 1813

88 Signed statement of Chief Yeoman Barker . 1885

89 Rough sketch of wardroom as set up for formal dinner on 23 March 1963 made by Lieutenant Somerville 1982

Plan made by Lieutenant Redman 2224

90 Bundle of defect records relating to sticking Turbine nozzle control valves of H .M.A.S. Voyager . 2007

91 Letter dated 817/ 67 by Commander W. H. Money and letter dated 26/ 6/ 67 from Commonwealth Crown Solicitor to Commander W. H. Money, June 1967 2015

92 Statement of Commander William Henry Money dated 23 August 1967 2025

93 Two photographs showing Commander Tapp 2107

94A Statement of Francis Richard Leatherbarrow taken at Adelaide on 28/6/ 67 2181

94B Statement of Francis Richard Leatherbarrow taken at Darwin by Mr Neilson on 24/6/67 2181

95 Statement of Lieutenant Redman signed 13 June 1967 . 2224

96 Statement of Andrew Richard Eddy taken at Perth on 12/8/67 2240 97 Plot of the course of H.M.A.S. Vampire period 10 June 1963 to 18 June 1963 and of the two cyclones, Shirley and Polly List of positions of H.M.A.S. Vampire period 10 June 1963 to

18 June 1963 extracted from deck log Data from United States Fleet Central Joint typhoon warning centre 2326

98 Far East Fleet Exercises programme--March-August 1963 2469

99 Statement of Lieutenant-Commander Scott Griffith including sketch plan 2486

100 Statement of Captain G. J. Willis 2487

Copy letter Deputy Crown Solicitor to Captain G. J. Willis of 19 July 1967 and reply of 30 July 1967 . 2543

101 Royal Australian Navy regulations and instructions, 1960, including amendments numbers 2, 8 and 13 to regulation 2908 . 2527

102 Regulations and instructions, R.A.N., Section 6, 'Collision' 2578

Copy of Form AS232 'Report of Collision or Grounding'

103 Programme of the Mikado Theatre Restaurant 2648

104 Statement by Robert Anthony Howland taken at Sydney 28/8/67 2661

A9

. .., ....

J - v

Exhibit N o. Transcript Page N o.

105 Original letter written to Lieutenant Howland from the Common-wealth Crown Solicitor dated 26 June 1967 and reply dated 4 July 1967 . 2694

106 Statement of G arth Lindsay Hutton Nantes, 22/8/ 67 . 107 Statement of Arthur Victor Eric Hann, 28 / 8/ 67 . 2774 2827 108 Statement of Malcolm Ernest Webber signed 18 August 1967 2835 109 Statement of Rear-Admiral Peek . 2855

110 Statement of William Grant 2860

111 Affidavit of Maxwell George Turner of 10/ 8/ 67 2863

112 Diary of Maxwell George Turner referred to in Exhibit Ill 2863

113 Statement by John Gardiner Grierson . 2938

114 Statement of Graham John Luttrell taken at Melbourne on 7 Sep-tember 1967 . 2961

115 Statement by William Alfred Glindeman of 15 September 1967 2990 116 Statement by Geoffrey Vernon Gladstone 2993

117 Statement by Neil Alan Boase 3006

118 Report of proceedings of FOCAF for the month of April 1963 3012 FOCAF file covering 1962 to 1964 . 3811

119 Statement by Captain D omara Andrews Heap Clarke taken at Sydney on 14/ 7/ 67 3019

120 Statement of John Ennor made to Mr Cullen dated 27 / 6/ 67 3053

Statement by John Ennor dated 12/7/67 with statement 100 (I)

121 Photograph of Captain Stevens with the Governor of Victoria, H.E. Sir Rohen Delacombe, dated 10/ 1/64 3084

122 Statement of David William Higgerson and Gwyneth Eliot Higgerson 3092

123 Statement of Sir Laurence Mcintyre 3093

124 Statement of Robert John Nattey 3103

125 Statement of Phillip Ian Farmer . 3145

126 Letter dated 15 / 8/ 67 from Deputy Crown Solicitor to Chief Petty Officer W. E. F. Youngs. Original and copy statement by Chief Petty Officer Youngs 3221

127 Naval instructions, chapter 11, article 1104 and 1105 (Section !-Uniforms and Dress) · 3231

128 Statement of Kim Stephen Casas 3261

129 Letter to Lieutenant-Commander Wright from Deputy Common-wealth Crown Solicitor, dated 23 June 1967; reply dated 6 Jul y 1967 3302

130 Statement by Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Russell Vasey . 3326

131 Extract from Naval Marine Engineering Practice Part ill relating to sequential nozzles and minute from the Navy over the signature of the officer ACMD . 3337

132 Copy of letter from Deputy Commonwealth Crown Solicitor to Lieutenant Forrest dated 26 June 1967 and copy of his reply dated 4 July 1967 . 3365

133 Service certificate of Peter John Cockroft 3406

Sundry statements and letters distributed by Mr Murphy (1 file of statements under cover of Navy letter dated 4/ 10/ 67 from Mr Preston to Mr Brennan regarding alteration of date in Cockroft's Service Certificate) 4350

134 Copy of Navy News of Friday, 18 August 1967 3465

AlO

. Exhibit No. Transcript Page No. 135 Copy of letter to Lieutenant-Commander Holmes dated 26 June 1967 and reply by Lieutenant-Commander Holmes dated 5 July 1967 3483 Statement by Lieutenant-Commander Ian Fletcher Holmes dated 29 September 1967 3520 136 Letter to Commander Irwin from Vice-Admiral Hickling, 22/5/ 67, letter from Commander Irwin to Vice-Admiral Hickling dated 5 June 1967 and two letters by Commander Irwin dated 28 June and 28 July to the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor . Letter dated 21 June 1967, Deputy Crown Solicitor to Commander Irwin with appendix attached thereto 137 Sketch of R othesay's captain's cabin . 138 Letter by Stanley Cecil Chandler dated 17 August 1967, statement by S. C. Chandler dated 17 August 1967 and photostat copy of portion of Melbourne Truth of 13 May 1967 . 139 Photostat copy of extract from the News Darwin, dated 2119 / 67 140 Statement of Robert Frewen Pola dated 14 October 141 Statement of Graham Charles Broom signed 26 July 1967 142 Statement of Robert John Betts . 143 Statement of Chief Petty Officer John James Morrow of 8 June 1967 144 Statement of Gary William Evans dated 22/6/67 . 145 Sketch drawn by witness Burdett 146 Letter from P.V.C.E. Liebenschutz to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban dated 12 June 1967 Affidavit Liebenschutz dated 10 August 1967 147 First page of letter dated 20 September 1967 from Commander Martin to Mr Burt 148 (CONFIDENTIAL TO COMMISSIONERS ) AS206's in regard to Captain Stevens 149 Constitution of the Naval Board, 1962-1964 . 150 Statement of Vice-Admiral Sir Alan Me icoll 151 Memorandum for Admiral Me icoll dated 15 May 1967 152 Flimsies relating to Captain Stevens . 153 Letter from the Navy dated 20 October 1967 certifying to destruction 3525

3530 3557

3578 3647 3655 3661 3665 3672 3675 3693-4

3723

3759

3797 3809 3810-1 3892

3901

of AS161s 3902

154 Naval Instructions for the completion of form 206 . 3929

155 Statement of Robert Neil Jocumsen signed 29 September 1967 3941

156 Statement of Brian Gregory taken on 11 October 1967 . 3966

157 Navy liqueur glass and certificate indicating capacity of . 3983

158 Statement of John William George Neuhaus taken 11 July 1967 4007

159 Statement of Louis Roy Frederick signed 27 August 1967 4025

160 Statement of Dr Ronald Victor Wallace Roberts taken 11 July 1967 4026

161 Post mortem report on Able Seaman R. W. Parker 4039

162 Post mortem report on Lieutenant Cook 4039

163 Photograph of Captain Stevens taken approximately in mid-January 1963 4044

164 Photograph showing Captain and Mrs Stevens, Commander Martin and others on the occasion of the farewell party on the forecastle of H .M.A.S. Voyager . 4045

165 Letter from Mrs Stevens to Dr Tiller dated 27 May 1967 4060

All

Exhibit No. 166 Photostat copy of Daily Telegraph dated 19 May 1967 .

Transcript Page No. 4061-2

167 Statements by Beatrice Louise Stevens made 8 June 1967 and 10 October 1967 respectively . 168 Answers to questions by Rear-Admiral V. A. T. Smith . 169 Letter to Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale from Deputy Crown

Solicitor (Melbourne) dated 26 / 6/ 67 and reply dated 1217/67 170 Statement of Sir Jack Stevens . 171 Extracts from letters written by Lieutenant-Commander Carpendale to his wife between 6 February 1963 and 16 June 1963 .

Notes of interview with Lieutenant-Commander Richard Maxwell Carpendale 172 Affidavit of Judge Hicks dated 30/10/ 67 173 Affidavit of Adrianus Reinen De Lange sworn 17/8/67

174 Affidavit of Rear-Admiral Urquhart sworn 20 October 1967 175 Statements by William Denis Taubert; David Harold Whyatt; I. Menear; R. A. Emmett; Arthur Norman Downie; Commander I. H. Richards; together with photostat documents relating to

processing of reports of proceedings in Navy Office 176 Captain Dollard's representation statement-guest list . 177 Map showing Central Tokyo, Japan 178 Letter from Commodore Dollard to Deputy Crown Solicitor Mel­

bourne dated 29 June 1967 Letter Commodore Dollard to Deputy Crown Solicitor, Sydney dated 28 July 1967 179 Letter from Department of External Affairs dated 26 / 10/ 67 (pro­

viding Representation Return of A. B. Jamieson, 1 April-30 Sep­ tember 1963) 180 Certificate for wounds and hurts dated 5 November 1957 relating to Lieutenant-Commander Cabban 181 Opinion and report by Sir William Morrow under cover of letter

dated 19/ 10/ 67 together with opinion of Doctor Goulston and

4063 4121

4156 4228

4245

4322 4286 4286 4322

4328 4386 4420

4420

4642

4427

4475-6

related documents 4498

182 Statement of Peter Thomas Cabban, fo rmerly marked for identification as 'D' 4594

183 Letter dated 20 September 1967 from D r J. Birrell and report from Dr J. Birrell under cover of letter dated 20 October 1967 4603

184 Affidavit by Vice-Admiral Scatchard and dated 25 / 10/ 67 4635

185 Affidavit by Valentine W. Were dated 27 / 9/ 67 . 4637

186 Department of Navy office minute re orders 165 and 166 of 1957 4637

187 Department of Navy office minute re signals dated 31/5/ 67 . 4638

188 Film of presentation of the Pakistani Shield . 4638

189 Affidavit of Captain A. A. Willis sworn on 2 November 1967 which verifies Statement No. 32 in Exhibit 60A . 4650

190 Affidavit of Commodore Dacre Henry Deudraeth Smyth sworn on 27 October 1967 4650

191 Affidavit of Rear-Admiral Ian Lachlan Mackay McGeoch sworn on 27 October 1967 4650

!92 Affidavit of Thomas Joseph Hawkins sworn on 17 October 1967 4650

193 Paragraphs 1 to 8 of a report by Commodore Dollard dated 21 June 1963 4651

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Exhibit. No. Transcript Page No.

194 Names of persons who have come under the notice of Counsel assist-ing the Commissioners compiled as at 2 November 1967 . 4652

195 Statement of Brian George Winnett taken a t Sydney and dated 7 November 1967 4652

196 Statement of Robert John Walker taken at Sydney and dated 7 November 1967 4655

197 Statement of Commander Errol Victor Stevens taken I November 1967 4672

198 Summary of events relating to the recovery of the body of the late Captain Stevens 48 51

199 Summary of interviews with railway personnel working in the Southern Aurora 4851

200 Affidavit of Captain Basil Charles Godfrey Place sworn on November 1967 4884

201 Two statements of John Stanley Gunderson . 5210

202 Copy of Exhibit 57-marked Mooring and Manoeuvring Board 561 7 Sketches of aircraft carrier Models used in demonstrations Two sketches of aircraft carrier as seen at night

One sheet demonstration what bearing means and models used by Mr Samuels to demonstrate ship movements 203 Aids to navigation used by Mr Murphy, Q.C . 5872

ITEMS MARKED FOR IDENTIFICATION

M.F.l. Transcript

Page No. Exhibit No.

A Letter to Admiral H ickling from Lieutenant-Commander Cab ban 158

B Two tape recordings 159

c Photograph of Captain Stevens on day of towing H .M.A.S. Hermes, 1 June 1963 338 38

D Statement of Peter Thomas Cabban given to Mr Burt 602 182

E Written note by Lieutenant-Commander Cabban-prepared in court 1155A

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APPENDIXE

ALPHABETICAL LIST OF STATEMENTS INCLUD ED lN EXHIBIT 60

Name ARMSTRONG, Kenneth Charles

AUSTON , Robert Barry

BECHER, Otto Humphrey

BEUT EL, Alan Edward

BOYS, Victor Lionel .

BUTCHER, L a urence Charles

CABBA , Suzanne

CALLAG HAN, Conrad Ian .

CA MPB ELL, eville Warran

CAVEN, George Kennedy .

CHATILLON , Desmond Charles

CLARK, Grah a m Anthony

CLARK, Leonard William

COFF, J ames Henry .

COHEN, orma n Sydney

CoNWAY, Rona ld George

CoRRIGAN, Desmond John

CRESSWELL, William

CRUICKSHANK, Christopher

D 'ARCY, Gra ham James

D AVIS, Bernard William

DAVIS, Doris aara .

D E LA GE, Robin (Mrs)

DIXON, Leo Claude .

ELLISS, Desmond Richard

ENGLISH , Robert Duncan

FAHEY, Bernice Ann

FISHER, Thomas Reed

FLEAY, Arthur Ja mes GORSUCH, B . R .

Gow, Bruce Jo hn GRIGGS , Wilfred Charles

HALLIW EL L, Corrie Albert

HAMI LL, Lt d r B. J.

HAMILTON , Trevor John

HANK! , John Henry

HANSMAN, F . S.

HrLL, Leslie Hardy

HILLS, Kenneth Bruce

HOWlS, Peter

HUTCH! SON, Robert Bums

JAM ES, Thomas

AJ4

Statement Number I

58

53 221 139 84 156

44 124

91

!54 149 160

99 122 202 237

150

102 69 79 146 166A

28 276 107 252

161

173

77 Ill

89 238 138 141

246 255

266 241 248 231

56

Name JoHNSON , Ian William

JONES, Douglas Raymond

KEEN, John .

KEEN , William

Statement umber

256

85

108 261

KEMPNICH, Bernard James 213

LIEBENSCHUTZ, Piet Vincent Constatijn Edouard 167A

LIVING STO E, D onald William 240

MCPHATE, A. 145A

MAIN E, Albert George 16

MALIN, Arthur

ARRABLE, D . 0 .

MooRE, Douglas

MORRE LL, F . G.

MORRIS, William Keith

Mum, George James MUMME, John Vincent O'BRIEN, w. D .

O'FLY N, Colin Francis OwENS, Desmond Thomas

PALLOT, Winston Everett

PATO , Lewis John .

PERCY, Robert

PERKJ s, Ronald Peter

PERRIN, Gary Norris

PERRY, K. J. .

PIPER, D. w . . PLUNKETT-COLE , J.

PRICE, Leonard James

RAWLI GS, Murray .

RAWLI GS, V ald a M . . .

REICH , Albert William

REICHVALDS, Johannes

RICH ARDSON . Graeme Stewart

RITSON , Dr

RocHESTER, Harold Lancelot ROCHOW, Donald Edwin

RODGERS , Alan Patrick

RYAN , Kevin John .

SCHI ER, Frederick William

SCHO EVELD, Jan

SHAW, Edward Joseph

SHORT, Keith .

SKI ER, Alexander Charles

SLATTERY, Ronald Vincent

SMITH , K. w. B.

SMYTH, D acre H enry Deudraeth

A15

143

262

277 and 290

178

229 42 275 177

171

271

55

35 127 ( 1), 127 (2), 127 (3)

61

260 43 211

50 247

258 259

197 83 195

92 110 129 112, 274

62 235

40

198 287

66 215

11 3

175

22.t

Name SNEDDEN, B. M.

SPARKS, Owen David Erskine

SPICER, J . A. .

STRAWN, Kenneth John

SUMPTER, Brian

SWINNERTON, Norman William

TAYLOR, Kenneth John

THOMSON, R. H .

nNDALL, Dennis Francis TOWEY, Eric Thomas

TREACY, Gregory Charles

TURNER, Martin Clyde

WATT, Ross Campbell WEBSTER, Melville Alexander Bruce

W ESTWOOD, Richard Alan . WmTTAKER, John Michael .

WHYATT, Bevan Stanley

WILLIAMS, John Michael .

WILSON, Alfred Stuart Brabazon

WINNETT, Brian George

WISHART, J obn Alex .

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Statement Number 185 81

130 263 17 75 214

9

133 29 228 243

65

204 192 96 223 191 219 292

15

APPENDIX F

COPY OF THE 'CABBA STATEMENT' IN NUMBERED PARAGRAPHS AS REFERRED TO I EVIDENCE

I. My name is Cabban. I joined VOYAGER in September, 1962, as Executive Officer three day after Commander A. A. Willi s took command and soon after we commenced the work-up. There were several new officers including the Navigating Officer, the Gunner Officer, the Captam and myself and the Engineer Officer. At the end of the work-up we

were a reasonably well knit team although Captain Stevens described the wardroom team subsequently as the most depressed group of o fficers he had ever seen. And the reason for this is important. When I joined VOYAGER, the day I joined, my predecessor carried on drinking with the officers until three in the afternoon. I had just left SYDNEY where I

served as Executive Officer from the time of standing by till the conversion to troop carrier a nd I had insisted in SYD EY that there would be no drinking at sea. Subsequently with Commander Willis·s complete support I insisted that there should be no drinking at sea in VOYAGER and I also revised the bar hours in harbour and insisted on 100% adherence

to these hours except with the Captain's or my direct permission and in our presence. These were not popula r orders and they required firm discipline to maintain. However, shortly after Captain Stevens joining two protests were lodged by the Engineer Officer, who was an Acting Commander, and the Supply Officer, a Lt. Commander, and I represented these

protests to the Captain on their behalf and he supported them to the extent of saying

that he saw no objection to office rs who had no watch and who had no direct contact with the ship's company having 'a beer" in the evening. I should mention here that it was customary for the ship's company to be allowed to purchase a 26 ounce can of beer on most nights when no exercises took place. This didn't in any way affect my attitude towards officers

drinking. I made it quite clear in the wardroom th at this wa the Captain's ruling and

officers were free to abide by it as far as they wished but I still di sapproved of any seaman officer drinking under any circumstances.

2. Subsequently none of the seama n officers drank at any time at sea with the exception of a gunner who joined the other two and although they were quite open with me that

they disagreed the remai nder we re very loya l officers and supported me to the end. They were also kind enough when I left the ship to say th at although they had disagreed with me at the beginning they thought I had been right

3. During the work-up Commander Willis had expressed the opinion quite strongly that the avigating Officer was a poor ship handler. This is important because Captain Stevens on the firs t occasion th at he took VOYAGER alongside collided with VAMPIRE and subse­ quently rarely, if ever, handled the ship personally again, in my time on board, entering or leaving harbour, leaving it to Lt. Griffiths on almost every occasion. On two occasions I

handled it leaving harbour and entering harbour in the F a r East and on the last occasion that I left harbour in a ship. which was from Sydney to Melbourne, I was given command. At that time 1 thought of it as a very generous gesture although the Captain was visibly affected by alcohol, on this occasion the time being 0800.

4. ln his other shi p handling Captain Stevens was inconsistent. H is station keeping ability was extremely good and most officers would have been proud of it. But his handling was incli ned to be affected by his temperament. On one notable occasion VOYAGE R was taking ARCHE ROYAL in tow a nd almost collided by passing under the flight deck of ARCHE

ROYAL just clearing our main mast, and then in a fit of pique when the tow took too long to take up he rang on revolutions for 10 knots with disastrous effects; parting the tow at the risk of all on the quarter deck . This was a rather ugly piece of seamanship in the

face of the Fleet. s. On another occasion when taking station on ROTHSEA for a transfer we overshot and roared in between her and the ship behind, which was at standard distance, missing them by the narrowest of margins with no credit.

6. He was subject to violent outbursts at the officer of the watch if he was either slow

to react or if he made a mistake. Towards the end of the cruise the officers of the watch were able to cope with this but they were a little disconcerted earlier on. This extended to abuse of the officers of the watch over the armourment broadcast from the operatiOns room.

12078/67-17

A1 7

• ) ')

·"-' ,.._, ._..)

7. In defence of Captain Stevens he didn't consider that this should be taken seriously by officers after the event he expected them to learn and then to forget the tone in which he spoke. This took quite a bit of learning.

8. H is temperament could range from buoyant good humour to depression when sober. He shared flashes of very fine leadership ability and I had the impression most of the time that the ship's company thought be was a very good captain. I may have been naive in this, for subsequently after the loss of the ship there was none of this respect reflected in the survivors to whom I spoke to my great surprise.

9. Captain Stevens was a good athlete particularly for his age; opening the bowling for the ship's company, the ship was the cricket champion of the Fleet (he was also reasonable bat and a good field) and he was a good squash player, again, for his age.

10. I will now deal with the factors concerning Captain Stevens' drinking habits during the ti me that I served with him.

11. The first real fl ash I had of understanding Captain Stevens' drinking ability or habits was in our farewell party in Sydney where it was necessary for his wife to tell him publicly that it was time to leave. ·

12. When the ship proceeded to sea the Captain told me that he was ill, not having

been to sea for some time, so I had command of the ship for the first twenty-four hours, VAMPIRE, who was the senior ship present being informed by signal at the Captain's in struction.

13. During the period in the Far East the situation became more than trying, it was quite desperate, as he drank for very long periods in harbour until he became violently ill and then would spend days in bed being treated by the doctor and his steward until he was fit to again start drinking.

14. Captain Stevens d rank brandy almost exclusively but he was at times known to drink beer or whisky.

15 . I became ve ry anxious a bout the way things were developing and uncertain where to turn for advice. The Captain of the flag ship was Captain R. I. Peak who had been my captain when I was Executive Officer of H.M.A.S. SYDNEY. Captain Peak received me when I called on him with my Captain's permission in Hong Kong and, most strange for

him, he required me to remain standing. He was pleasant, formal, he asked me very briefly how the ship was and then I left. I had lost any opportunity I might have bad to seek

his advice simply because I felt instinctively that he knew and didn't want me to put myself into a n impossible position.

16. It was an extremely trying period and this stage was climaxed by the Captain's birthday on which be was invited to a: mess dinner as the guest of the mess. This was the first time on which he was invited in this manner and be arrived, although I had been warned ten minutes before th at be bad been drinking, completely under the influence but able to walk.

It was obviously necessary fo r us to proceed with the dinner as quickly as poss ible if he was to last it but unfortunately before anything else could be done be got on his bands and knees and crawled across the mess to the table. Before soup had been fini shed I had

to sta nd, make a very brief speech and take him from the mess, with the present that

the mess had bought him, to his ca bin. The officers and the stewards were outstandingly loyal on this occasion and a word of this incident never reached the Fleet to my knowledge.

17. This pattern continued but it reached a climax during the visit to Tokyo. In Tokyo the Captain became worse to a degree that we hadn't seen before and on two occasions I took him (on one accompanied by the Engineer Officer) to steam baths to get him fi t to deal with his social engagements at lunch time. One a lunch with the Japanese Admiral.

But to little avail, he was carried from Captain Dollard's home after he had disgraced himself there. I've learnt subsequently from Captai n Robertson that he had in fact been sick all over the place on this occasion in Capta in Dollard's home. And on the Sunday, which was the fourth day in Tokyo, he sent for me at 0630 to inform me that he would

be unable to attend the church service that morning and I was to inform Captain Willis to this effect. The Captain when I saw him had his head on a pillow with a towel over it.

The towel was soaked in vomit. T asked if I should get the doctor because he looked

Al8

wretchedly sick and he said no. I saw the doctor and the doctor said that he wouldn't

tre<.t. him-that he had warned the Captain that this would happen-and that it was his opm10n that should the Captain rupture his ulcer at sea the Captain would die.

18. 1 went on board VAMPIRE and informed Captain Willis of the Captain's condition and his message and of the doctor's opinion and explained my worry on the Captain's behalf. Captain Willis asked me to send the doctor to him, which I did, and he then went on board VOYAGER and went to the Captain's cabin where he spoke to him. Nobody else was present when Captain Willis spoke to Captain Stevens but during the next two months Captain Stevens did not have a single drink and that covered the period between Tokyo and Sydney which was quite a remarkable feat.

19. There is one other incident that I should mention in this period of which Mr Smythe was informed. It was a Captains' lunch in Hong Kong to which Captain Stevens was invited attended by the Captains of all R.N. ships present at the time. On this occasion a signal arrived in VOYAGER during the lunch hour to say ·YOUR CAPTAlt HAS PASSED OUT

A D WILL BE RETUR ED TO YOU WHE HE IS FIT'. I replied asking was a doctor required and the reply came back 'NO'. The Captain did subsequently come back, said nothing and went straight to his cabin. I learned from Commander T. P. Irwin, R.N., the Engineer Officer of the ROTHSEY th at the Captain had passed out · on the wardroom desk of ROTHSEY and the Captains present wanted to send him back to his ship in the

condition he was, immediately. They were absolutely disgusted and considered that be was unfit to be there. Commander Irwin prevailed on them to allow him to place Captain Stevens in his cabin until he was fit to go back and they reluctantly allowed him to do

this but offered no assistance. This indicated the feeling of the Fleet at the time.

20. Following the return to Sydney Captain Stevens arrived on board every morning that l was there at approximately 0800 very heavily under the influence of alcohol, told me that 1 bad command and went to his cabin and retired for the day. He was wakened by his steward at 1600, be commenced drinking again and carried on ashore as soon as be

had sufficient to get going. I submitted my resignation at this time and he was genuinely distressed at this and surprised. My decision was not a direct result of his conduct nor do I think it was greatly influenced by it although any last temptation I may have had

to remain in the service at this stage was dispelled by this performance. Captain Stevens did not come on to the bridge after the ship left Sydney Harbour on the way to Melbourne to refit until it was ready to enter Port Phillip Bay. I bad command of the ship for that

stretch as well while he lay in his bunk.

21. I'm sorry, I completely omitted the fact that immediately following our departure from Tokyo C aptain Stevens told me that I had command of the ship for the next five days. That he wouldn't be coming from his cabin and my command was complete and I was to inform all the officers but not to send any signals indicating my command. He directed

me that he was not to be disturbed on any account by anybody and this is exactly what happened. We were with the British Far East Fleet and running before a typhoon carrying out exercises.

22. During this period the ship was engaged in an intensive exercise programme which included no fewer than five refuellings or transfers and was under the close eye of the R. . Flagship LION. The ship's company, and the officers for that matter, were informed by me that the Captain was ill and were given no inkling of any other reason for the

Captai n's absence. The ship performed well and I was exceptionally proud of the conduct of the officers during this period. As I have said ea rlier they were sympathetic to the

Captain, considering him a sick man and incredibly loyal.

23 . Following the ship's a rriva l in Williamstown the Captai n spent very little time on board with me, our leaves being taken at different times. However he returned the ship after the Court Martia l of Captai n W. J. Dovers of H .M.S. SYDNEY on which he bad been a court member together with Captain Robertson, and he travelled by train from Sydney to Melbourne with Commander B. H. Lox.ton, R.A.N., Captain .of PARRA­

MArrA at that time (correction, be was Captam of YARRA I believe-Which was on the opposite side of the dock from us). Commander Loxton informed me that Captain Stevens bad drunk a bottle of brandy on the train on the way down. This statement didn't surprise me in the least. When I saw the Captain in his cabin having missed him on the

gangway be expressed regret that I hadn't met him and was obviously well advanced on

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a bottle of brandy. At 1600 his steward came into the mess and asked for another bottle of brandy for the Captain. I knew that the first bottle had been full and asked if he had finished that and the steward said yes. At 1900 I called in to the Captain's cabin to see if he was all right and he had half consumed this which would have been his third bottle of brandy since leaving Sydney on the previous night. The next morning the steward came for me from the Captain to say that the Captain was sick and I found the Captain in

the usual condition with a very vomit-soa ked towel under his head, looking dreadful. He said that he was very sick and to send the leading sick berth attendant to him as it would

be about a week before he was on deck again . This was a fairly accurate assessment as be was in fact inside his cabin for the next seven days although be was able to start drinking brandy again on about the fourth day taking it very gently. At this stage we had a new ship's company of recruits and it was important that they shouldn't have this knowledge of their captai n. Unfortunately the stewards were new and I didn't know if I could rely entirely on their discretion and loyalty. However, at the time I had no indication that this didn 't prevail.

24. Mr Smythe asked me in his chambers in Phillip Street in the office near where the enquiry was held a t what time Captain Stevens started drinking and I replied that if he was havi ng one of his periods of drinking he would have brandy in his coffee at breakfast time and go steadily on from then. This is not an exagge ration but is applied, as I say, to the periods when he was drinking. On these occasions when he drank he was inclined to become under the influence very quickly and he drank very large glasses of alcohol. His standard brandy on the se occasions would be almost half a tumbler full of brandy topped

up with water.

25. I was called to Mr Smythe's rooms after I had been interviewed by Commonwealth Police as I was the senior officer who had served in VOYAGER in the previous twelve months surrounding and in Australian waters. I was asked almost exclusively questions concerning the drinking habits of Captai n Stevens and I replied to the questions th at I was asked giving most of the story eventually that I have just outlined, perhaps even adding more instances which don't help at this stage. I was very anxious at this stage because I knew Captain Stevens didn't drink at sea, only in harbour, while I served with him, and I repeatedly stressed this to Mr Smythe who assured me that all was well and he understood

this. I didn't want any slur on Captain Stevens' name, I was quite c:onvinced that under no circumstances would he ever drink at sea. I had taken the precaution even of informing my successor, Lt. Commander McGregor, of the Captain's drinking habit and also stressing to him most strongly the necessity for the officers in the wardroom not to drink at sea

because of the Captain's habit. He replied th at be was capable of making hi s own decision in this matter and didn't agree with me. I spent approximately half an hour discussing this point with McGregor but I learned subsequently that he reversed my decision and I have good reason to believe that all the officers in fact drank at sea following my succession.

Perhaps this was a perfectly healthy reaction to my autocratic rule. However I would stress that of the officers in the wardroom when I left only one seaman officer, Lt. Dowling, who was killed, and the Electrical Officer, Commander Ta pp, who was killed, had served in the ship in the F ar East under Captain Stevens.

26. The work-up was planned under my co-ordination by the Staff Officers who left the ship so that Captain Stevens while approving the work-up had not planned it and he had not carried out a work-up with these office rs or in the ship at all.

27. To come back to Mr Smythe. When Mr Smythe was questioning me I asked him straight out if he was trying to infer that Captain Stevens was drunk at the time of the collision. He asked why I questioned this; I said I have heard rumours to this effect, which I had from unexpected sources, and I said I wanted to make it quite clear that Captain Stevens would not drink at sea. Mr Smythe said that was clearly understood. When I was leaving Mr Smythe's office, which was after an interview lasting almost an hour, he said 'We'll be

seeing a lot of you at the enquiry'.

28 . Now subsequent to this I thought that it was important if Mr Smythe was going to call me and wanted this kind of evidence and believing that Captain Stevens wouldn't drink at sea that it was in the interest of his relatives that my statement should be known equally to them as well as Mr Smythe, so through my own solicitor I arranged to meet Mr Osborne who was the solicitor briefing Captai n Steve ns' relatives council. Mr Osborne heard me

and discussed it with me and ca me to the conclusion in fact that I did like Captain

A20

Ste ens which I don't dispute for a moment; he was a very likeable person but I had no

respect for him only pity. Very soon after this I received a telephone call from the solicitor briefing the council representing the R.A.N. Mr Jenkyns Q.C. He sounded rather panicy and said that he understood that I had some information that I had offered to Mr Osborne and that were I to be called by Mr Smythe would I please see them, that is Mr Jenkyn's

solicitors, and also allow them the knowledge that I had passed on. Some time after the Commission had started and I had been careful not to leave the Sydney area in case 1

was called I started to wonder if I were going to be called and went to see Mr Smythe

and asked him. He said 'no'. He decided to reduce the other witnesses and I would no

longer be required. Very shortly after this it became patently clear that I had been misled by Mr Smythe and others when the evidence was given that Captain Stevens had had a triple brandy on the bridge of VOYAGER.

29. It is very important at this stage that I mention that although Mr Smythe didn't deny that Captain Stevens bad drunk anything, in fact Mr Osborne did in saying that all Captain Stevens had had before the collision was a glass of brandy at lunchtime on the day before the collision. This I think is most important to understand because they at that time knew

the truth. All the signs were then quite apparent that Captain Robertson was being taken , as the Americans would say, for a ride and was going to be saddled with the entire responsi­ bility. In some alarm of this injustice I rang Captain Robertson and offered to give evidence on his behalf although this was the last thing, I can assure you, that I wished to do in

my own interest. I considered it a duty in the interest of justice to him. At this stage of

my now civilian career the last thing I wanted was to be associated with anything smacki ng of a smear but the injustice in this case was so glaring that it couldn't be avoided.

30. I received a letter from the mother of the R.N. gunner who died on board the

VOYAGER, following a letter that I wrote to her expressing sympathy. This officer bad been court-martialled on the previous year as officer of the watch of BATTLEAXE during her collision, and she said tha t she had received a letter shortly before my own from her son, written before he died but received by her subsequently, in which he said 'Mother, I think

this is going to be a nother BA TTLEAXE'. This is interesting, particularly as during the previous year VOYAGER had been in at least five near collisions to my knowledge and m none of these do I think tha t VOYAGER was in any way to blame. This illustrates a factor th at isn't appreciated by the general public that near collisions in a n active fleet are very common things. They were really very near. On three of these occasions I was on watch,

twice while the C aptain bad command in the operations room and corrective action was taken by me as officer of the watch. But on two of the occasions the officer who was

VOYAGER'S navigator at the time of the ultimate collision bad been the navigator of the ship with which the VOYAGER was in trouble, that is H.M.S. CAESAR, so that his influence in the ultimate collision may have been more significant than evidence can prove. l'll give more detail of one of these instances if you are in a ny way interested.

3 1. CAESAR ordered VOYAGER to cross the screen from the starboard wing to the port wing at night having detached a SAU. The relative track was straight through CAESAR so I asked the Captain to inform CAESAR that we would pass astern of her. As we

a pproached CAESAR and were just about to pass astern CAESAR turned 180° to starboard, tha t is towards us, and was suddenly on a collision course. It would have been impossible to turn to starboard to avoid it so that I was obliged to go hard a-port and full astern

both engines, stopping dead in the water in front of the advancing convoy very close to it and no further than fifty feet from CAESAR. Both ships stopped dead in the water. 1 switched all my lights on, needless to say, at this time, having been blacked out at the beginning of the manouvre. There was never any explanation asked for or offered for

this incident. My memory is hazy on the details of the other incidents so I shan't attempt to remember it.

32 . Another personality incident which may be of interest is that the officer of the watch of VOYAGER at the time of the collision had just completed a long period, I think probably twelve months, at H .M .S. WATSON as instructor in t?e tactical floor so that his ship handling knowledge, although be may not have served m destroyers should have been as

good as any officer on board.

33. Finally, I'd just like to say that I can envisage very clearly the situation ?n the_ of VOYAGER at this time and if the officer of the watch had put the wheel m a d1re_ction which the Captain thought was wrong it wouldn't have been unlikely for the Captam to

A21

have shouted at the officer of the watch to put the wheel the other way and for the officer of the watch to become rattled, because the violence in the Captain's voice could have rattled him, put the wheel the other way and waited for the Captain who, in his opinion, had command to give him another order and that would be the last thing that happened

until the collision was inevitable with the officer of the watch dithering, not knowing whether he should do anything or not.

34. The size and complication of the bridge is such that the number of officers there was excessive and I discussed this with other officers who have served in VOYAGER with me and they all said the same thing-bow often they have known a situation on those bridges where the officer of the watch didn't know what was happening simply because there were

too many experts around. This too, could well have been a factor in the situation. The navigator, the 1st Lt., the officer of the watch, about two mid-shipmen, and the Captain, the yeoman and two signalmen crowd into the wretched bridge with so many levels it is not surprising that people weren't paying attention to what they should have been.

35. I think that concludes what I have to say. If any remarks are required on the personalities of wme of the very good officers and men who lived and died I would be very happy to supply them.

36. The main facts outlined above were substantiated by Lt. Cdr. Griffiths, R.A.N. Navi­ gating Officer of VOYAGER during the period in which I served in her, when interviewed by Mr Smythe, Q.C.

(Sgd) S. CABBAN

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APPENDIX G

A CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF THE ACTIVITIES OF CAPTAIN STEVENS, THE MOVEMENTS OF VOYAGER AND THE EVENTS OF THE OPERATIONAL CRUISE FROM 2 JANUARY 1963 TO 10 FEBRUARY 1964. REFERENCES TO MATTERS WHICH ARE THE SUBJECT OF THE CABBAN ALLEGATIONS AND

FI DI GS I THE REPORT ARE SHOWN IN ITALICS

2 .1.63 (Wednesday)

3 .I. 63 (Thursday)

8 .I. 63

(Tuesday)

10 .1. 63 (Thursday)

13 .1.63 (Sunday)

14 . 1.63 (Monday)

15 .I. 63 (Tuesday)

16 . 1 .63 (Wednesday)

17 . 1. 63 (Thursday)

18 . 1. 63 (Friday)

21.1.63 (Monday)

23.1.63 (Wednesday)

24 .1.63 (Thursday)

0830

Captain STEVENS assumed command of Voyager from Commander A. A. WILLIS. Ship was then in Captain Cook Dock, Garden Island

Captain STEVENS joined Ships Command Team and took part in the Fleet Tactical Period held at H.M.A.S. Watson

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, January: Serial No.1)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, January: Serial No. 3) Captain STEVENS lunched with the Flag Officer-in-Charge East Australia Area (Rear-Admiral GATACRE) Captain STEVENS attended a memorial service held at the Chapel of

St George the Martyr, H.M.A.S. Watson, in memory of the late Commodore J . C. MORROW

Completion of long self maintenance of Voyager

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, January: Serial No.4)

Voyager cast off and proceeded for miscellaneous exercises (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings) 1550 Voyager joined Vampire and proceeded for J.U.C.E.X. 45

1100

0600 0815

Voyager arrived Jervis Bay to embark A.J.A.S.S. observer, proceeding to sea on completion

Further A/S exercises

Efficiency firings carried out Voyager returned to Sydney and berthed on Vampire 1500 Mid-exercise discussion on J.U.C.E.X. 45 in Vampire

EVENING Captain STEVENS entertained Mr S. C. GRIFFITH, the Acting Manager of the M.C.C. touring side together with Messrs K . BARRCNGTON and J . MURRAY

0900 Voyager sailed from Sydney to convey the ashes of the late Commodore MORROW

0950 Voyager arrived Watsons Bay Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Returns, January: Serial No. 5) 1000 Voyager sailed from Watsons Bay and rendezvoused with Vampire and

1615

0600

Quickmatch. Exercises carried out (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings)

Voyager in company with Vampire anchored at Jervis Bay

Voyager sailed from Jervis Bay and Naval gunfire Support Efficiency Firings and Quarterly Full Power Trial carried out en route Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Returns, January: Serial No. 6) 1230 Voyager returned to Garden Island and berthed on Vampire

A23

25.1.63 (Friday)

29 . 1.63 (Tuesday)

31.1.63-7.2.63

31.1.63 (Thursday)

3. 2.63 (Sunday)

4.2.63 (Monday)

7.2.63-8.2.63

7 .2.63 (Thursday)

FORENOON

1430

EVENING

1900-2300

0900

1020 1100

Captain STEVENS attended a Post-Exercise discussion of J.U.C.E.X. 45 at H.M.A.S. Albatross

Captain STEVENS and ships complement attended an address given by the Chief of Naval Staff (Vice-Admiral HARRINGTON)

Farewell Reception given on board Voyager

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Returns, January: Serial No. 7) FAREWELL PARTY ON Voyager (Paragraph II of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT')

AT SEA: SYDNEY TO DARWIN

FIRST DAY OUT OF SYDNEY Captain STEVENS was confined to his cabin through illness (Paragraph 12 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT') Voyager in company with Vampire proceeded for Darwin (Report of Proceedings) At some. time during this period the Captain carried out rounds of

machinery spares, mess decks, magazine and store rooms Exercises carried out during this period (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceed­ ings)

Divisions followed by Prayers

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Serial Nos. 9-19)

DARWIN

Voyager together with Vampire berthed at Darwin Captains STEVENS and WILLIS called on the Administrator of the Northern Territory (Mr Roger Norr)

LUNCH Captain STEVENS entertained the Administrator and others (including Captain WILLIS) to luncheon 1200 Officers of the Military Services were entertained by the Wardroom Officers of Voyager and Vampire EVENING Captain STEVENS attended a reception given by the Naval Officer-in­

Charge (Acting Captain C. P. KEATING) North Australia Area

8.2.63- AT SEA : DARWIN TO SINGAPORE

13.2.63

8.2. 63 (Friday)

8.2.63-10.2.63

8.2.63-13.2.63

9.2.63 (Saturday)

10 . 2 .63 (Sunday)

11.2. 63 (Monday)

0900

0800

Voyager in company with Vampire sailed from Darwin for Singapore. Exercises carried out en route (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings)

Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN stated that he was given command by Captain STEVENS for this period of two days but our finding is that this JVas not the fact

During this period the Captain carried out rounds of mess decks, the upper deck, magazine and store rooms Exercises carried out en route (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Warrant No. 1, Serial Nos 20, 27)

Divisions and Prayers were conducted Voy ager came under the operational control of the Flag Officer Com­ manding-in-Chief Far East Fleet

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Warrant Nos 2-3)

A24

12.2. 63 (Tuesday)

13.2.63-25.2.63

13.2.63 (Wednesday)

14.2.63 (Thursday)

15 .2. 63 (Friday)

16 .2.63 (Saturday)

17.2.63 (Sunday)

18 .2.63 (Monday)

19 .2. 63 (Tuesday)

20.2.63 (Wednesday)

21 .2.63 (Thursday)

22.2.63 (Friday)

23.2.63 (Saturday)

24.2.63 (S unday)

12078/ 68-18

1520

0900

1140

1300

1000

LUNCH

0930

Captain STEVENS had his annual medical examination by Surgeon­ Lieutenant TILLER. Recommended Category A NoTE: CABBAN in his evidence said that Captain STEVENS was ill and gave him command for two days ex Darwin. We find this was not the fact

SI NGA PORE (FIRST VISIT)

Voyager together with Vampire berthed at Singapore Voyager commenced self-maintenance period lasting eleven days Captains STEVENS and WILLIS visited Commander LANCASTER : LANCASTER srated that STEVENS 'drank all the milk they had and complained of a

recurrence of his stomach trouble'

Captains W ILLIS and STEVENS called o n the Captain H.M.S. Albion (Captain MAD DEN) Capta ins WILLIS and STEVENS called on the Flag Officer Commanding-in­ Chief Far East Fleet (Vice Admiral Sir Desmond DREYER) Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Serial Nos

28- 29)

Captain H. M.S. Alert (Commander JEssoP) called on Captain STEVENS Captain H .M.S. Albion (Captain MADDE N) returned the call of Captain STEVE s Captain's Defaulters Para de (Punishment Records, February : Serial Nos

30-33) Captains STEVE s and WILLIS called on the Commander-in-Chief (Sir Davi d LucE) Captain STEVENS called o n Captain D .8 (Captain B. D. 0 . MciNTYRE)

Divisions and Prayers Captain STEVENS returned the call of the Captain H.M .S. Alert (Com­ mander JESSOP) Captain STEVE 'S dined o n board Vampire

The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Far East Fleet (Vice-Admiral Sir Desmond DREYER) returned the call of Captain STEVENS C a ptains STEVENS and WILLIS lunched at the Residence of the Commander­ in-Chief Far East Fleet

Captains STEVENS and WILLIS called on the Acting Commissioner for Australia (Mr W. F . FLANAGAN)

Captain 's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Warrant No. 4, Serial Nos 37- 38)

Captains STEVE NS and WILLIS called on the Captain H.M.S. Hartland Point (Captain V. BLANC SMITH) Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Serial Nos 21 , 40)

Captains STEVENS and WILLIS called on the Flag Officer Second-in-Com­ mand for Far East Fleet (Rear-Admiral SCATCHA RD) The Captain H. M.S. Hartland Point (Captain V. BLANC SMITH) returned the call of Captain STEVENS

Captain STEVENS attended an Intelligence Briefing

Captain STEVENS lunched with the Chief of Staff to the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Far East Fleet (Rear-Admiral B. C. D uRANT)

Prayers

NoTE: Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN said that he intended Paragraph 13 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT' to apply to the first visit to Singapore. Our finding is that this allegation as to Captain STEVENS' condition during the first visit to Singapore is untrue

A25

25.2.63-1.3.63

25.2.63 (Monday)

26.2.63 (Tuesday)

28 . 2.63 (Thursday)

1.3.63-5.3.63

1.3. 63

(Friday)

2.3 .63-3.3.63 (Saturday­ Sunday)

3.3.63 (Sunday)

5.3.63-8.3.63

5.3.63 (Tuesday)

8.3.63-10.3.63

8 . 3.63 (Friday)

9 . 3.63 (Saturday)

10.3.63-19.3.63

10.3.63 (Sunday)

II. 3. 63 (Monday)

18.3 .63 (Monday)

19.3.63-25.3.63

0900

1400

AT SEA: SINGAPORE TO TRINCOMALEE

Voyager in company with Vampire sailed from Singapore for Trincomalee

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, February: Serial Nos 42-50, 52) Voyager rendezvoused with H.M.S. Caesar during the passage to Trinco­ malee Comprehensive programme of exercises carried out en route (Appendix

'C' Report of Proceedings)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March: Serial No. 104)

NOTE: We find that for a period of two days soon after VOYAGER left Singapore on 25 February 1963 Captain STEVENS was confined to his cabin through illness

TRINCOMALEE

Voyager ar rived at Trincomalee

The Trincomalee force for exercise J.E.T. 63 discussed Weapon Training Period scheduled for the week commencing Monday 4 March 1963 with the Ceylonese Authorities (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

FORENOON Captain STEVENS had drinks on H.M.S. Lion

0800

1200

1600

2100

AT SEA: FROM TRINCOMALEE

Voyager in company with Vampire and other R .N. ships proceeded to sea from Trincomalee for work-up prior to exercise J.E.T. 63 (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

TRINCOMALEE

Voyager and Vampire returned to Trincomalee Harbour for final prepara­ tions for exercise (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March: Warrant No. 5)

NoTE: Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN said that he intended Paragraph 13 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT' to apply to the two visits to Trincomalee. Our finding is that this allegation as to Captain STEVENS' condition during the t wo visits to Trincomafee is untrue

AT SEA: TRINCOMALEE TO SINGAPORE

Voyager and Vampire together with other ships of the 'Orange Surface Forces' sailed from Trincomalee for exercises (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March: Serial Nos 61, 63)

Tactical phase of exerci se concluded. After replenishment Vampire and Voyager sailed for Singapore (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

AT SINGAPORE (SECOND VISIT)

A26

19 . 3.6'.3 (Tuesday)

21.3.63 (Thursday)

22.3. 63 (Friday)

23.3 .63 (S aturday)

24 . 3.63 (Sunday)

25.3.63-29.3.63

26.3.63 (Tuesday)

27.3 .63 (Wednesday)

28.3.63 (Thursday)

29.3.63-15.4.63

0930 Voyager participated in a Flag showing passage through Keppel Harbour (Report of Proceedings Vampire) Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March: Serial Nos 65-74) Cocktail Party given by the Commander-in-Chief Far East (Sir David

LucE) (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

FORENOON Captain ST EVENS attended Post Jet exercises critique

LUNCH

EVENlNG

LUNCH

0945

2100

0800

FORENOON

AYIERNOON

1715

Captain STEVENS attended a luncheon for the Captains of Jet Fleet

Captain STEVENS dined at the home of Commander LANCASTER (Commander LA NCASTER stated that the Captain refused a dish prepared, and had an omelette instead-Conversation between Captain STEVENS and Mrs LA NCASTER concerning his apprehension about attending the wardroom

dinner to be given on Saturday 23 March 1963) Captain STEVENS attended a Fleet Boxing event in the gymnasium of the Malaysian Barracks

Captain's D efaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March: Serial Nos 75- 78)

Luncheon o n board Vampire with Vice-Admiral and Lady DREYER

Captain STEVENS gave an address to Chief Petty Officers, and Petty Officers o n the future of the Navy Wardroom Mess Dinner given by the Officers of VOYAGER in honour of Captain STEVENS on his birthday (Paragraph 16 of the 'CABBAN STATE­

MENT'). We find the allegations in Paragraph 16 are substantially true

NoTES: We find that Captain STEVE s was ill on this day We find that Captain STEVENS was ill at some time between 18 and 21 March Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN alleged that Paragraph 13 of the ' CABBAN STATEMENT' applied to the second visit to Singapore. We find it is only true to the limited extent that our findings indicate

AT SEA: SINGAPORE TO HONG KONG

Voyager sailed from Singapore for Hong Kong Rendezvous off Johore Shoal Buoy with Vampire and ships of the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy Voyager carried out exercises designated 'NEw MooN'

Vampire and Voyager proceeded to carry out scheduled economical steaming trial (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March: Serial Nos 81-101)

Vampire and Voyager rejoined cruisers and continued towards Hong Kong (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, March : Serial No. 103)

The Flag Officer Second-in-Command (Rear Admiral ScATCHARD) was transferred to Voyager from Vampire by jackstay (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

Voyager replenished Voyager and Vampire proceeded to join H .M.A.S. Melbourne, Parramatta and Yarra (Report of Proceedings Vampire)

HONG KONG (FIRST VISIT)

A27

1 2 3

29.3 . 63 (Friday)

29.3.63-15.4.63

30.3.63-2.4.63

2.4 . 63 (Tuesday)

4.4 . 63 (Thursday)

5.4.63 (Friday)

6.4.63 (Saturday)

7 .4. 63 (Sunday)

9.4.63 (Tuesday)

10 .4.63 (Wednesday)

11.4.63 (Thursday)

12 .4.63 (Friday)

MIDNIGHT Rendezvous with Australian ships effected. ' DAWN ENCOUNTER' exercise carried out (Report of Proceedings Vampire) 0700 Exercises completed. Ships proceeded towards Hong Kong (Report of

1800

1830

Proceedings Vampire) Voyager together with Vampire berthed at Hong Kong (Report of Pro­ ceedings Vampire)

Commander D. J. MARTIN gave evidence that during this period Captain STEVENS was on one occasion in Hong Kong affected by alcohol

Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN gave evidence that Captain STEVENS was confined to his cabin, ill, at some time during this period. We find that he was ill and confined to his cabin for one or two days between 30 March and2 April

Captain STEVENS visited Surgeon-Commander McNEILL on board H.M.A.S. MELBOURNE Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, April: Serial Nos 105-107, 109, 111-112) Captain STEVENS played cricket against the Australian Trade Com­

missioner's XI

Captain STEVENS and officers of Voyager attended a dinner given by Jimmy WHANG

Captain STEVENS called on the Commodore-in-Charge Hong Kong (Commodore G. C. SYMO DS) The Commodore-in-Charge Hong Kong made a return call on Captain STEVE NS Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, April: Serial No. 115) Captain STEVENS played cricket with the Wardroom against the Petty

Officers

Voyager shifted berth to West Arm by Vampire 'CoLD MoVE'

Captain STEVENS was present at a cricket match between Hong Kong Wanderers and a team from Voyager Captain STEVENS attended a party given by Australians in Hong Kong Captain STEVENS alleged to have been assisted by ratings from V AMPfRE to

VOYAGER

We find that he did receive some assistance from ratings when coming on board VOYAGER/rom VAMPfRE which was alongside, but the evidence is consistent with Captain STEVENS being unwell rather than drunk

Divine Service was held on board Voyager

Captain STEVENS had luncheon on board Supply with Captain GLADSTO NE Captain STEVENS called on Captain C. N . A. BoASE, Captain of H .M.A.S. Yarra

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, April: Serial Nos 117-120)

A Ship's Company 'Smoko' was held at the China Fleet Club

Captain STEVENS attended a Fleet Reception on board H.M.A.S. Mel­ bourne

AFTERNOON Captain STEVENS attended an Australian Rules football match

Good Friday Divine Service

A28

14.4.6,3 (Sunday)

15.4.63-21.4.63

IS .4 . 63 (Monday)

18 .4 . 63 (Thursday)

19 .4 . 63 (Friday)

21.4.63-23.4.63

21.4. 63 (Sunday)

22.4.63-30.4.63

22 . 4 . 63 (Monday)

23.4.63-27.4.63

23.4.63 (Tuesday)

27.4.63-29.4.63

27 .4 . 63 (Saturday)

28 .4 . 63 (Sunday)

29.4.63-8.5.63

29.4 . 63 (Monday)

0900

1445

0915

1030

0900

0800

Divine Service

NoTE : Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN alleged that Paragraph 13 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT' applied to this visit to Hong Kong. It is not established that Captain STEVENS was intoxicated at any time during this visit, but it is established that his stomach trouble intensified and

that on occasions he was seen by C ABBAN and Surgeon-Commander Mc NEILL to be doubled up with pain

AT SEA : HONG KONG TO SINGAPOR E

Voyager in company with H .M.A.S. Melbourne, Vampire, Parramatta, Yarra and Supply sailed from Hong Kong for Singapore En route exercise carried out (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings)

Rear-Admiral M cNICOLL was transferred to Voyager by jackstay fo r a brief visit. While on board O.O.W . manoeuvres were conducted

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, April: Warrant No. 6, Serial Nos 128- 131 , 136, 140)

SINGAPORE (THIRD VISIT)

Voyager arrived at Singapo re

This period covered the first phase and start of Phase II of the SEATO exercise 'SEA SERPENT'

Captain STEVE s attended a pre-exercise briefing conducted by the Staff of the Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet (Rear-Admiral SCATCHARD) Captain's Defaulters Pa rade (Punishment Records, April : Serial No. 138)

NoTE : Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN did not allege that Paragraph 13 applied to this visit to Singapore

AT SEA : SINGAPORE TO PULAU TIOMAN

Voyager sailed from Singapore to take part in 'SEA SERPE NT' Exercise (Appendix ' C ' Report of Proceedings)

PULAU TIOMAN

Voyager arrived at Pulau Tioman

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, April: Serial No. 141) The wardroom of Voyager dined the Flag Officer Commanding H .M . AUSTRALIAN FLEET (Rear-Admiral A. W. R . McNICOLL)

Divisions and Prayers were conducted

FORENOON.Captain STEVENS attended a pre-Phase II briefing conducted in H.M.A.S. Melbourne

0300

NoTE: Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN did not allege that Paragraph 13 applied to this visit to Pulau Tioman

AT SEA: PULAU TIOMAN TO MANILA

Voyager left Pulau Tioman for Manila

"1 ' 3 1 .J. J

1.5.63-9.5.63

1.5.63 (Wednesday)

4.5.63 (Saturday)

6.5.63 (Monday)

8.5.63-10.5.63

8.5.63 (Wednesday)

9 . 5. 63 (Thursday)

10.5.63-13.5.63

10.5 . 63 (Friday)

10.5.63-13.5.63

13.5.63-20.5.63

13.5.63 (Monday)

13.5.63-20.5.63

14.5.63 (Tuesday)

16.5.63 (Thursday)

17 . 5.63 (Friday)

0940

During this period Voyager took part in the SEATO exercise entitled 'SEA SERPENT'. The ship was employed on convoy screening, rescue destroyer and S.A.R. duties and as a surface attack unit during the exercise

SEATO observers embarked on Voyager from H .M .S. Lion

SEA TO observers transferred back to H . M.S. Lion

Captain LoxTON spent the day with Captain STEVENS taking part in the SEATO exercise ' SEA SERPENT'

MANILA

Voyager arrived at Manila Bay and secured alongside Vampire

AFTERNOON Captain STEVENS attended an A.S.W. Post-Exercise conference held in H .M.A.S. Melbourne

EVENING Captain STEVENS was present at a reception arranged on the Flight Deck of H . M .S. Hermes

0930

0805

1230

Captain STEVENS attended the Post-Exercise critique of 'SEA SERPENT' at the Phillipine Naval Officers' Club NOTE: L ieutenant-Commander CABBA N did not allege that Paragraph 13 applied to this visit to Manila

AT SEA : MANILA TO HONG KONG

Voyager sailed from Manila in company with Vampire and ships of the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Navy

During this period exercises were carried out (Appendix 'C ' Report of Proceedings)

HONG KONG (SECOND VISIT)

Voyager arrived at Hong Kong and was secured alongside Vampire

1900-2230 Forecastle party given on VOYAGER for the British Army Garrison in Hong Kong Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN gave evidence that Captain STEVENS was intoxicated on this occasion. We find that he was mildly intoxicated

A period of Self-Maintenance carried out

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, May : Serial Nos 144-146)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, May: Serial Nos 147- 150, 152) 1130-1430 Captain STEVENS attended a luncheon given on board ROTHESAY by Captain PLACE for the Captains of other ships (Paragraph 19 'CABBAN STATE­

MENT') We find that Captain STEVENS was not intoxicated at the luncheon but had to leave it early because he was unwell

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, May: Serial No. 151 )

Captain STEVENS entertained the Commodore-in-Charge Hong Kong (Commodore G . 0 . SYMONDS) to luncheon

A30

20.5.63-23.5.63

20.5.63-24.5.63

20.5.63 ( Monday)

21 . 5.63 (Tuesday)

23.5.63 (Thursday)

24.5.63-28.5.63

24.5.63 (Friday)

25.5.63 (Saturday)

28.5.63-5.6.63

28.5.63 (Tuesday)

29.5.63 (Wed nesday)

30.5.63 (Thur day)

31.5.63 (Friday)

1.6.63 (Saturday)

2.6.63 (Sunday)

3.6 . 63

( Monday)

0800

1715

1500

1700

0830

E ercises were carried out during this Period (Appendix ·c Report of Proceedings)

AT SEA: HO G KO G TO KARATS U

Voyager in company wi th Vampire and ships of the Royal avy and Royal New Zealand Navy left Hong K ong for Japan Voyager returned to Hong Kong to land an appendicitis case

Captain's Defaulters Parade. (Punishment Records May: Serial Nos 153- 15 6; 160) Voyager rejoined other ships

Voyager detached from group to proceed to Karatsu

KARATS

Voyager arrived at Karatsu

1000 Captain STEVENS called on the Mayor of Karatsu (Mr K ANEKO) 1100 The Mayor of Karatsu made a return call on Captain STEVE s 1800 Captain STEVE s was present a t a Dinner given by the Mayor of Karatsu

1200

1800

0900

Captain STEVE s was host at a luncheon for the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Karatsu and their wives Cockta il Party on board Voyager for leading citizens of Karatsu Captain STEVENS had drinks wi th Squadron-Leader FARRELLY at his Inn

N OTE: Lieutenant-Commander CABBA N alleged that Paragraph 13 of the "CABBAN STATEME T' applied to Karatsu. We find that at no time during this visit was Captain STE VENS intoxicated: but we find that he was drinking un wisely ha ving regard to the condition of his health

AT SEA : KARATSU TO TOKYO

Voyager a iled from Karat-u

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, May : Serial os 16 1-164, 168-169)

0900 Voyager joined H.M.S. Hermes, Lincoln and Andrew and proceeded for Tokyo Exercises we re carried out (Appendix ' C Report of Proceedings)

EVE N! a Vo yager conducted a search for S ea Vixen lost from H . M .S. Hermes 1100 Captain's Defaulters Parade (Puni shment Records, May: Serial Nos 170-171)

Voyager took H.M.S. Hermes in tow

Praye rs

FORENOON Captain STEVE s spent the forenoon at sea in H.M .S. Hermes, watched Flying Operations and later made a tour of the ship

L NC H Captain STEVENS had luncheon on board Hermes with Rear-Admiral S CATCHARD

1400 Captain STE vE s:returned to Voyager by helicopter

A31

5.6.63-10.6.63

5.6.63 (Wednesday)

6.6.63 (Thursday)

7.6.63 (Friday)

8.6.63 (Saturday)

9.6.63 (Sunday)

TOKYO (Paragraph 17 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT')

1815 Voyager arrived at Tokyo and berthed on Va mpire

1830-2030 Captain STEVENS attended an official reception in H.M.S. Alert given by the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Far East Fleet (Vice-Admiral Sir Desmond DREYER) Captains STEVENS and WILLIS entertained His Excellency the Australian

Ambassador and Captain and Mrs D oLLARD to an informal buffet supper

1145 Captain STEVENS called on His Excellency the Australian Ambassador (Sir Laurence MciNTYRE) Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, June: Serial No. J 73) Beer Party given by His Excellency the Australian Ambassador for ratings

from Voyager and Vampire

1830-2030 Captain STEVENS attended a cocktail party given by Captain and Mrs DOLLARD

EVEN! G Captain STEVENS and party wellf to the GASLIGHT Restaurant for dinner as the guests of Mr Jamieson either on this night or the night of Sunday, 9 June We find that Captain STEVENS suddenly nodded off at dinner but was not

intoxicated

FORENOON Captain STEVENS visited a Japanese steambath in company with Lieutenant­ Commander CABBA . At breakfast he had a coffee royale and ajier the steambaths several brandies and ginger ale

LUNCH Captain STEVENS attended a luncheon in H.M.S. Alert given by the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Far East Fleet (Vice-Admiral Sir Desmond DR EYER) Children's Party held on board Voyager 1800-2000 Captain STEVENS attended the Queen's Birthday Garden Party at the

British Embassy given by His Excellency The United Kingdom Am­ bassador (Sir Oscar MORLAND) 2030 Captain STEVE s attended a buffet dinner party given by the Australian Services Attache

We find that Captain STEVENS had been drinking consistently but was not intoxicated and that he suddenly nodded off at the dinner table and arrangements were made for him to leave

FORENOON Captain STEVENS visited a Japanese Steambath with CABBAN and Commander MoNEY. After the steambath they each had five brandies and ginger ale 1000-1600 Captains STEVENS and WILLIS were the guests of Captain and Mrs DoLLARD at a picnic luncheon

Captain STEVENS became unwell during the car trip. He returned to Captain DoLLARD's home and lay down. Arrangements were made for someone to substitute for him at a Japanese Admiral's dinner party. After sleeping for some time, he woke up , and had a brandy and vomited

EVEN"ING Captain STEVENS vomited in Captain DOLLAR D'S home

FORENOON Captain STEVENS was ill. He sent for Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN and asked him to inform Captain WILLIS he could not take prayers. CABBAN saw Captain WILLIS. Captain WILLIS after seeing Surgeon-Lieutenant TILLER saw Captain STEVENS

1230- 1400 Captain STEVENS made a remarkable recovery. He and Captain WILLIS entertained the Australian Ambassador and Lady MciNTYRE to lunch on VOYAGER

EVENII'iG It may have been this night Captain STEVENS went to dinner at the GASLIGHT Restaurant

A32

10.6.63-17.6.63

10.6.63 (Monday)

11.6.63 (Tuesday)

12.6.63 (Wednesday)

17.6.63-19.6.63

17.6 .63 ( Mo nday)

19.6.63-24.6.63

19 .6. 63 (Wednesday)

20.6.63 (fhursday)

22.6.63 (Saturday)

24.6.63-4.7.63

24.6.63-4.7.63

24 .6.63 (Monday)

25.6.63 (Tuesday)

27 . 6. 63 (Thursday)

28 .6.63 (Friday)

29.6.63 (Saturday)

0900

2100

0730

AT SEA: T O KYO TO SUBIC BAY (Paragraph 18 of 'CABBAN STATE· MENT')

Voyager sailed from Tokyo. Schedule of exercises carried out en route (Appendix 'C', Report of Proceedings) Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN asserted that Captain STEVENS gave him command for the precise period of five days and that the Captain remained

in his cabin for the whole time. We are not satisfied that Captain STEVENS handed over command to CABBAN for a finite period or that the actual period of illness was five days. We find that Captain STEVENS was confined to his cabin through illness for a period of at least two days and possibly

more

Ca ptain's Defaulters Parade (according to Punishment Records, June: Serial Nos. 174-175, 177- 180, 182, 184- 188) lieutenant-Commander CABBAN conducted a complete replenishment programme involvi ng a fuell ing and two token provision replenishments

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, June: Serial No. 17 6)

susrc BAY

Voyager arrived at Subic Bay for repairs Captain STEVE S called on the COMNABASE SUBIC (Rear-Admiral WHIT· TA KER) CABBAN alleged that Cap tain STEVENS threatened him with attempted mutiny

on the grounds that he had usurped command by taking defaulters parades

AT SEA: SUBIC BAY TO SINGAPORE

Voyager sailed from Subic Bay and proceeded to Singapore

1100 Voyager rejoined H .M .S. Lion and H .M.A.S. Vampire A. A. Efficiency Firing carried out

0800

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, June: Serial os 193-194)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, June : Warrant os 7-8)

SINGAPORE (FOURTH VISIT)

Lieutenant-Commander CABBA stated that he played squash every day with Captain STEVE s on this fourth visit to Singapore

Voyager arrived at Singapore and secured alongside Vampire

LUNCH Captain STEVENS lunched with Rear-Admiral SCATCHARD

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, June: Wa rrant o. 9)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, June: Serial No. 195)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, July : Serial Nos 196, 198-200; Warrant No. 10 (July))

LUNCH Captain STEVENS was host at a luncheon on board Voyager for the Com-modore Superintendent, Singapore (Commodore BLACKMAN)

Captain 's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, July: Serial N o. 197)

A33

28.6.63-30.6.63

1.7.63-3.7.63

I. 7. 63

(Monday)

2.7.63 (Tuesday)

4.7.63-7.7.63

4.7.63 (Thursday)

6.7.63 (Saturday)

7.7.63-8.7.63

7.7.63 (Sunday)

0800

0610

Captains STEVE NS and WILLIS spent the week-end in Kuala Lumpur as the guests of the Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Malayan Navy

During this period Voyager carried out a maintenance period at H .M. Naval Dockyard

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, July : Serial o . 201 )

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, July : Serial os 202-203)

AT SEA : SI GAPORE TO LA GKAWI

Voyager in company with Vampire sailed from Singapore for exercises (Appendix ' C' Report of Proceedings)

Voyager joined H. M.S. Ark Royal and assisted in an operational readiness inspection (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings)

LANGKAWI

FORENOON Divisions and Prayers conducted

1030 Voyager anchored at Langkawi 1400 Voyager weighed anchor and proceeded fo r anti-submarine mortar sea check firings 1905 Voyager anchored at Langkawi

DINNER Captain STEVE s attended a dinner with the Flag Officer (Aircraft Carriers) (Rear-Admiral GIBSON, R.N.)

8.7.63- AT SEA: LANGKAWl TO SINGAPORE

11.7.63

8.7.63 (Monday)

11.7.63-20.7.63

11.7. 63 (Thursday)

12 . 7.63 (Friday)

13 . 7.63 (Saturday)

16.7.63 (Tuesday)

18.7.63 (Thursday)

19.7.63 (Friday)

0430 Voyager together with Vampire and ships of the Royal Navy left Langkawi Exerci ses carried out (Appendix 'C' Report of Proceedings)

SINGAPORE (FIFTH VlSIT)

0930 Voyager arrived at Singapore and was secured alongside Vampire

LU c H Captain STEVENS was host at luncheon to Captain WILLIS and Captains o Royal avy ships EVENING Captain STEVE s attended The Armard Ball at H.M.S. Terror

EVENING Captain STEVE s was joi nt host at a Farewell Reception in Voyager and Vampire

1130

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, July: Serial Nos 205-206)

Farewell address to the Officers and Ships Companies of Voyager and Vampire was given by the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Far East Fleet (Vice-Admiral Sir Desmond DREYER)

LUNCH Captain STEVE s entertained Vice-Admiral and Lady DR EYER and Captain WILLIS to luncheon

DINNER Captain STEVENS attended a Farewell Dinner on board H. M.S. Lion as a guest of the Flag Officer Second-in-Command Far East Fleet (Rear­ Admiral ScATCHARD)

A34

10.7.63-15.7.63

20.7 .63 (Saturday)

22.7.63 (Monday)

24.7 . 63 (Wednesday)

25.7.63 (Thursday)

25 .7.63 (Thursday)

25.7 .63 (Thursday)

29.7 .63

29 .7.63 (Monday)

19.7.63-3.8.63

1.8.63-2.8.63

3.8.63-10.8.63

3.8.63 (Saturday)

5. 8. 63 (Monday)

6.8.63 (Tuesday)

7.8.63 (Wednesday)

9.8.63 (Friday)

0830

1530

LUNCH

0830

1430

0400

AT SEA : SINGAPORE TO DARWIN

Vo yager sailed from Singapore for Darwin in company with Vampire On passage to Darwin an economical Steaming Trial was carried out

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, July: Serial No. 207)

H.M.A.S. Vendetta and Quickmatch were met en route for Singapore

Captain STEVENS lunched on board Vampire as a guest of Captain WILLIS

DARWIN

Voyager arrived at Darwin

Voyager in company with Vampire left Darwin for Fitzroy Island

FITZROY ISLAND

Voyager anchored off Fitzroy Island Rear-Admiral Me ICOLL joined Voyager for detailed inspection

1 241

1545 Voyager left Fitzroy Island in company with H .M.A.S. Sydney, Vampire and Anzac 0802 The ships anchored off Edgecombe Bay 1620 Vessels left Edgecombe Bay for Sydney

0910

AT SEA: EDGECOMBE BAY TO SYDNEY

Annual efficiency competition assessments completed during this time. Annual full power trial carried out

SYDNEY (Paragraph 20 of the CABBA STATEMENT)

Voyager berthed at Garden Island

De-ammunitioning carried out Captain STEVENS told CABBAN that he had seen a knighted doctor in Macquarie Street and was told that he did not have an ulcer Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN tendered his letter of resignation to

Captain STEVENS which was sent to the Naval Board and accepted with effect from 8 January 1964

Captain STEVENS attended a Pre-refit conference held at Naval Headquarters

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, August : Serial No. 212) Captain STEVENS accepted the Pakistani Shield presented to H.M.A.S. Voyager by His Excellency The High Commissioner for Pakistan

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, August: Serial Nos 208-211, 213-214, 216-218) NOTE: The evidence does not establish that Captain STEVENS was intoxi­ cated on any occasion during the week in Sydney and we find that

the allegations in Paragraph 20 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT' are untrue

A35

10.8.63-12.8.63

10.8.63 (Saturday)

12.8.63-23.8.63

12.8 .63 (Monday)

13.8.63-14.8.63

13.8.63 (Tuesday)

15.8.63 (Thursday)

16.8.63 (Friday)

17.8.63-18.8.63

19.8.63 (Monday)

23.8.63 (Friday)

27.8.63 (Tuesday)

7.9.63 (Saturday)

10.9.63 (Tuesday)

16.9.63 (Monday)

23.9.63 (Monday)

27.9 . 63 (Friday)

1.10.63-25.10.63

0900

AT SEA: SYDNEY TO WILLIAMSTOWN (Paragraphs 3 and 20 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT')

Voyager sailed from Sydney for Williamstown

1500 Exercise blind pilotage carried out

1009

EVENING

0945

0930

NOTE : CABBAN maintained that his allegations in Paragraphs 3 and 20 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT' that Captain STEVENS was affected by alcohol when VOYAGER left Sydney at 0900 hours was true. We do not accept this evidence but we find that Captain STEVENS was unwell and that he did retire to his cabin after VOYAGER cleared Sydney Heads until she reached Port Phillip Bay

WILLIAMSTOWN

Voyager arrived at Williamstown

A transfer was made of personal belongings to H.M.A .S. Quickmatch

Captain's Defaul ters Parade (Punishment Records, August: Serial Nos 215, 219-222) Captain STEVENS attended the making of a Presentation to Children at 'Harelands', a Legacy Home

Captain STEVENS called on the Chief Justice of Victoria (Lieutenant­ General the Honourable Sir Edmund HERRING) Captain STEVENS called on the Governor of Victoria (His Excellency Major-General Sir Rohan D ELACOMBE)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, August : Serial No. 223)

Captain ST EVE s spent the weekend with Mr and Mrs HIGGERSON

Voyager moved into dock at Williamstown

Captain STEVENS arrived in Sydney on leave

LUNCH Captain and Mrs STEVE NS lunched with Commander and Mrs MoNEY at Chevron Hilton Hotel

Captain and Mrs STEVENS left Sydney by car for the Snowy Mountains

Captain and Mrs. STEVE s were the guests of Commander and Mrs MooRB in Canberra

Captain and Mrs STEVENS returned to Sydney

Captain STEVENS visited Sir William MORROW who stated that Captain STEVENS' duodenal ulcer was not active at this time

End of Commission Dance held by the Ships' Company at H.M.A.S. Lonsdale

Voyager in dry-dock at Williamstown

2 . 10. 63 DINNER Captain and Mrs STEVENS dined on board H.M.A.S. Melbourne (Wednesday)

A36

10.Hi.63 (Thursday)

18.10.63 (Friday)

20.10.63 (Sunday)

23.1 0 .63 (Wednesday)

25 . 10.63 (Friday)

28.10.63 (Monday)

I . 11. 63 (Friday)

7 . 11.63 (Thursday)

8 .11. 63 (Friday)

9. 11.63 (Saturday)

10.11. 63 (Sunday)

15.1 I .63 (Friday)

19.11.63 (Tuesday)

28 . 11. 63 (Thursday)

1.12.63 (Sunday)

2.12.63-8.12.63

5 .12.63 (Thursday)

6.12.63 (Friday)

8.12. 63 (Sunday)

9.12.63 (Monday)

12.12.63 (Thursday)

1400 Captain STEVENS attended the funeral service of the late Captain KEATI GE at H .M .A.S. Watson

EVENING Captain and Mrs STEVE s attended the Navy League Ball

Captain STEVENS returned to Melbourne to Williamstown

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, October : Serial No. 241)

Captain' s Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, October : Warrant Nos 14-15, Serial Nos 244-245)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, October: Serial Nos 243, 246)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, November: Serial Nos 247-250)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, November: Serial Nos 251-253)

Captain and Mrs STEVENS left Melbourne for Sydney by car

Captain and Mrs STEVENS arrived in Sydney

Captain STEVENS departed with Lieutenant PRJCE for H .M.A.S. Albatross

Captain STEVENS commenced Senior Officers' study period at A.J .A.S.S. (Nowra)

Study period at Nowra concluded. Captain STEVENS arrived home

Captain and Mrs STEVENS entertained Mrs Keatinge and others at dinner

Captain STEVENS attended the court martial of Captain DovERS in Sydney

Captain STEVENS took overnight train from Sydney to Melbourne with Captain LOXTON (Paragraph 23 of the 'CABBAN STATEMENT') Captain STEVENS drank eight to ten brandies and water during the train journey

Captain STEVENS was confined to his cabin, ill, at least from Monday, 2 December, until Thursday, 5 December, but had recovered by Friday 6 December

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, December: Warrant No. 16, Serial Nos 280, 284)

Captain's Defaulters Parade (Punishment Records, December: Warrant No. 17, Serial No. 286)

Captain STEVENS went to H.M.A.S. Cerberus in company with Captain LOXTON

Captain STEVENS dined with Captains MOORE and LoXTON at H.M.A.S. Cerberus

Captain's Defaulters Parade (according to Punishment Records, December : Serial Nos 283, 287, 293) Captain STEVENS attended the Melbourne wool sales

A37

2 -1 .:$

14.12.63 (Saturday)

16.12.63 (Monday)

17.12.63 (Tuesday)

20 . 12. 63 (Friday)

25 .12. 63 (Wednesday)

29 . 12.63 (Sunday)

30 . 12. 63 (Monday)

1.1.64-6.1.64

(Wednesday­ Monday)

5.1.64 (Sunday)

7 . 1.64 (Tuesday)

8 . 1.64 (Wednesday)

9.1.64-11.1.64

12 . 1.64 (Sunday)

14 . 1.64 (Tuesday) Mid-January

16.1.64 (Thursday)

17.1.64 (Friday)

20.1.64 (Monday)

21.1. 64 (Tuesday)

23.1.64-25.1.64

23.1.64 (Thursday)

24.1. 64 (Friday)

25.1.64

25 . 1.64 (Saturday)

Captain STEVENS had drinks on board H.M.A.S. Yarra as the guest of Captain LoXTON

Captain STEVENS visited Captain LoxTON in H.M.A.S. Quickmatch for drinks

EVENING Captain STEVENS dined with Captain LOXTON at the Naval and Military Club in Melbourne

Captain STEVENS returned to Sydney for Christmas break

Captain STEVENS dined at Avalon with Mrs STEVENs' mother

Captain and Mrs STEVENS dined at Mrs Keatinge's home

Captain and Mrs STEVENS visited Captain and Mrs LoxToN's home for drinks

Voyager remained alongside at Williamstown completing defects and preparing for commencement of Post-Refit Trials

Captain STEVENS left Sydney for Williamstown by train

Voyager carried out Sea Trials

Lieutenant-Commander CABBAN's resignation from the Navy took effect

Captain STEVENS returned to Sydney by air

Captain STEVENS attended course of training at H.M.A.S. Watson

Captain STEVENS returned to Melbourne to Williamstown

Captain STEVENS lunched on Voyager with Commander R. PERCBY

About this time Captain CLARKE saw Captain STEVENS bending over the the rail of VOYAGER and in answer to his inquiry as to what was wrong, he said "Oh! I'm a bit crook in the guts "

Voyager carried out Sea Trials

Wardroom party on board Voyager

Voyager carried out Sea Trials

Voyager carried out Sea Trials

AT SEA: WILLIAMSTOWN TO SYDNEY

1000 Voyager left Williamstown for Sydney

1130 Full Power Trial carried out and 1530

SYDNEY

0700 Voyager arrived in Sydney

A38

28.1 . 64 (Tuesday)

30.1.64 (Thursday)

0930

Combined Voyager- Vampire Party on board Vampire

Captain STEVE 'S called on the Flag Officer Commanding H.M. Australian Fleet (Rear-Admiral BECHER)

I I 15 Rear-Admiral BECHER returned the call of Captain STEVENS Captain and Mrs STEvE s dined on board H.M.A.S. Melbourne as guests of Captain and Mrs ROBERSTO

31.1. 64 Dinner Part y in Wardroom of Voyager

(Friday)

I . 2 . 64 Voyager wa the flagship for Naval Sailing Regatta

(Saturday)

6.2 .64 Voyager sailed with H.M.A.S. Melbourne for coastal exercises

(Thursday)

7. 2 . 64 Exercises continued

(Friday)

9 . 2. 64 Captain STEV ENS attended a buffet lunch on H.M.A.S. Melbourne

(Saturday)

10 .2 . 64 (Monday)

DINNER Captain STEVENS dined with Captain and Mrs Dacre SMYTH

0700 Voyager sailed from Jervis Bay and engaged in exercises with Melbourne up until the time of the collision 2056 Collision between Melbourne and Voyager. Voyager sinks

By Authority : A . 1. ARTBVII, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra

'2 ._)