Leaving behind a legacy

Bestowing military honours on a Navy veteran who has died is among the most sacred of duties, and the funeral of Vice Admiral (retd) Ian Warren Knox was no exception.

CAPTIONA picture of Vice Admiral (retd) Ian Warren Knox during his funeral service at the Garden Island Chapel, HMAS Kuttabul, NSW. Story by Midshipman Jonathan Rendell. Photos by Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall.

At the Garden Island Chapel in Sydney on February 9, the distinguished admiral and former Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) was honoured with military band, bugler and firing party.

Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond reflected on Vice Admiral Knox’s life of service.

“Vice Admiral Knox dedicated 42 years of his life in service of our nation. His achievements exemplify our Defence values and serve as a torch to all Navy personnel,” Vice Admiral Hammond said.

“Performing military honours for our deceased comrades reinforces our time-honoured traditions. As members of the Navy, we are bound to each other in service to Australia, at sea, ashore, in life and in death.”

Born in Wilcannia, NSW, Vice Admiral Knox joined the Navy in 1947. He graduated from the Royal Australian Naval College in 1950, and served at sea and ashore in both the UK and Australia, specialising in torpedo and anti-submarine warfare.

He distinguished himself, rising through the ranks, serving in numerous command, staff and delegate positions, in Australia and overseas.

Between 1982 and 1987, then Rear Admiral Knox served in several senior naval staff positions, before promoting to Vice Admiral in July 1987, and assuming the position of VCDF.

In the 1985 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, and in 1989, he was elevated to Companion of the Order for service to the ADF as VCDF.

CAPTIONVice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral David Johnston, addresses attendees during the funeral service.

Current VCDF Vice Admiral David Johnston served as Vice Admiral Knox’s aide-de-camp from 1987 to 1989. He shared some of his memories during the funeral service.

“My first encounter with then Rear Admiral Knox was far from auspicious,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

“I was in a hurry, the deck was wet, and I knocked him clean off his feet … Not a glorious career moment.

“And far from the dressing-down I expected, with unfailing courtesy, he restored both of us to our feet.

“He seemed to find the whole episode amusing, telling the story when I was later appointed to his staff.”

Vice Admiral Knox retired from the Navy in 1989, after which he served on the boards of several large corporations and as the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Sydney University Advisory Committee. He joined Sydney Legacy in 2000 and was a legatee in the Mosman/Lane Cove division.

“Vice Admiral Ian Knox left the Navy stronger and the ADF more capable,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

“His service medals testify to the significance of his service. But his greatest legacy lies in those who served under his command, and in those who worked with him – from our ships to the corridors of Russell.

“For them, he was a lived example of leadership infused with the Defence values of service, courage, respect, integrity and excellence. I was lucky to serve under his command.”

The ADF extends its condolences to Vice Admiral Knox’s family and wish him fair winds and following seas.

CAPTIONMedals of Vice Admiral (retd) Ian Warren Knox out on display during his funeral service.


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