Jeff ‘Blu’ Langham


Jeffrey recently discharged from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) after 40 years of unbroken service. These years of service have, he believes, provided him with a range of professional qualities and personal attributes that would stand him in good stead to undertake this role and contribute to the RSL and the ex-serving Defence Community. Jeffrey has a family history of service in the Australian Military beginning with his Paternal Grandfather who was a driver in the 5th Australian Divisional Ammunition Column in WWI, his father served in the Australian Army for 30 years and brother was in the RAAF for 21 years.

Jeffrey enlisted in the (RAN) as an Adult recruit in August 1979 from Sydney. He undertook recruit training at HMAS Cerberus before undertaking Basic Survey Recorder training at HMAS Penguin. After completing this training, he joined his first ship; HMAS Flinders and over the next 40 years served in many units and many roles.

During his career he had the opportunity to undertake many challenging roles where he was required to plan, manage and execute tasks and was personally responsible for the outcomes. This included ensuring all equipment was serviceable and available when his Survey Unit undertook charting operation in the approaches to Davis and Mawson Stations in Antarctica.

Jeffrey was embarked in HMAS Labuan when she was assigned to OP Belisi II as part of the Peace Monitoring Group (PMG) in Bougainville. As the sole Hydrographic Surveyor in Bougainville, Jeffrey was charged to undertake Ground Truthing of the new Chart that was to be produced by the Australian Hydrographic Office for the Bougainville area once the ‘Troubles’ had been resolved. During this period, he undertook Coastal Surveys of Loloho and Kieta and produced Charts and views of these Harbours, all of which were incorporated into the new chart. For this work, Jeffrey received a personal thankyou from the Brigadier in charge of the PMG at the time.

As a Chief Petty Officer, he was responsible through the Divisional System for overseeing the welfare, discipline and conduct of the Ships’ companies of the unit he was in. This role became very important, while the Ships he was embarked in, undertook Border Protection Operations for extended periods. This role was further expanded when he was privileged to be promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer. The role as the Branch Warrant Officer allowed him to visit each unit within the Hydrographic Force and talk to all members with a view to providing feedback to command through a fresh set of eyes.

As a Warrant Officer, he was also heavily involved in the training and preparedness of Hydrographic Units as a member of the Minor War Vessel Sea Training group. This included ‘Working Up’ crews for border protection duties, Operation Queensland Flood Assist and routine Unit Readiness Evaluations.

On promotion to Lieutenant, his divisional role was further expanded and utilising previous experience, he was relied upon by Command to provide support, expertise and guidance in some instances.

As a father of three boys who grew up while he was deployed, Jeffrey is very aware of the consequences and effects of Military Service on children, spouses and partners. He has personal experience of this himself as his father undertook two tours of Vietnam while he was a child. Jeffrey has concentrated on his family since separating from the Royal Australian Navy and wishes to provide more support to his partner as she focuses on her career. His two youngest sons are currently attending Primary and Secondary Schools in Cairns. Jeffrey is fortunate through his postings in the Hydrographic Branch to have lived in Cairns now for the greater part of his life and loves Cairns and the Cairns lifestyle. He believes that he is now able to give back to the local serving and ex serving community and can be a bridge between the older veterans of his earlier eras and the younger Veterans of today.



Submit a Comment