Having now reread Ian Pfennigwerth’s “Man of Intelligence” and gone through various files at the NAA, I now have slightly more solid dates framing what Captain Nave was doing in 1949.

Nave’s Career

Having started work in the South Australian Railways (where his father Thomas worked), Eric Nave signed up for the Royal Australian Navy in 1917. He stayed there until 1930, when he was moved to the Royal Navy.

However, Nave’s RN personnel file is not only fairly brief (he was cheerful and intelligent), but only runs to 1948.

A large proportion of the papers in his NAA ASIO file relate to his pension, because his Royal Navy pension was not transferable to his wife. Because the Naves had four children, this issue required a fair bit of administrative attention. Redactions are merely senior officers’ names.

I incidentally found out that Nave owned a Holden sedan, and that his parents lived at 5b Arlington Terrace, Allenby Gardens, Adelaide.

Captain Nave’s 1949 Timeline

From the papers in the files, we can say definitively that Captain Nave: [page numbers from the ASIO file NAA: A6119, 3576]

* finished formal work with the RN in March 1949 (p.80)

* was allocated to the Terror “18.3.49 for dispersal” (Navy service record)

* had 160 days of untaken / carried over holiday (Pfennigwerth), though the Navy service record says “48 days N.S.L.  28 days E.O.W.L.  56 days release + RAN F.S.L.”

* was courted by ASIO as early as 13th May 1949 (p.87)

* officially retired on 22nd August 1949   (when his pension started) (pp.30-31)

* started with ASIO on 20th October 1949  (pp.30-31)

All of which means that Adelaide-born-and-bred Captain Nave was still (technically) in the Royal Navy in July 1949, when the Adelaide newspapers reported that a “local Navy decoder” was having a look at the Rubaiyat.

Are any of his children still alive?

8 thoughts on “Update on Captain Nave…

  1. john sanders on July 23, 2017 at 7:01 am said:

    Capt. Nave would surely not have had to physically present himself at HMS Terror for discharge. It was the Sigint base in Singapore run by GCHQ , Brit. Navy and 117 Signals for the army so I guess the outprocessing would have been done by cable fairly routinely. Seems a little generous giving him 160 days discharge leave but I guess in those days one could accumulate and who are we to say he didn’t earn it. A bloke should have gone to sea afterall though I guess a smart swabby could avoid the briny as well. Another one who managed that was young PO Ed Harkness who did one better than his boss by being mentioned in dispatches for telegraphy. Sister Jess must have been so proud.

  2. So surprised she nearly fainted ….

  3. I’m reasonably sure most folks would likely go into a dead feint having been shown a statue with hairs growing out of its back; Then again Sister Jess was probably of a tougher breed with her Mossad training and all, not to mention being the subject of attention for her “degree of beauty”.

  4. milongal on July 23, 2017 at 10:17 pm said:

    When you’re away in a boat for long stints it’s very difficult to burn up some leave here and there. Even when you’re on land there’s probably limitations on how you can take leave based on how you need to join your boat. And leave while the boat is in port may be in Lieu of time spent – because a boat is a 24hr job, not a 9-5 commitment (although I think Defence owns your soul when you’re in the forces (there is no concept of 9-5), so their leave opportunities may be different again).

  5. milongal on July 23, 2017 at 10:46 pm said:

    Call me stupid, but does anyone know what the acronymns in the leave record are?

  6. bdid1dr on July 24, 2017 at 8:02 pm said:

    @Milongal: My husband recently gifted me with a book written by “BOB ALFORD and illustrated by Jim Laurier : DARWIN 1942 (Published by “OSPREY” )

    To my own reading of ‘incidents’, I am a bit leery; there seems to be more interest (sympathy) in the Japanese activitities, as there is in the bombing of Hawaii and Darwin.
    Not much mention of the raid on Alice Spring’s inhabitants (mostly women) and the dreadful hundreds of miles they were forced to march. BAH ! I have told my husband “thank you” — but no more .

  7. Henry Hunt was a union artillery commander in the civil war and as recognised ecpert in the art of coded message encription/decipherment. His motto in basic terms was that transmission should be kept as simple as possible accordng to the prevailing tactical situation. His inter battery instructions were thus conducted in plain language letter/word substitution text using capitals of words from a text of less than 100 words. Correct syntax was not condidered of the essence or even preferable and non standard forms of delivery were deemed preferable to ‘plainspeak’. Likewise abreviation was quite acceptable perse though letters of lesser commonality and outside of the given range might only be used if absolutely essential ie as in placenames or when identifying individuals pertinent to the message. With regard to deciphering, letters unclear in their form should be disregarded but not so those having non standard accents or unusual markings which might be viewed as being of special significance. Any letters overwritten were to be treated with grave suspicion and the bearer of such be called upon to explain such abnormality of standard proceedure…Although both he and his assigned gun placement officers worked behind the lines frequently and were subject to apprehension by CSA roving patrols, it was their own incompetent regimental staff officers, Brigadeer Hunt was most concerned about was his safe hand inter battery communications as he regarded many as being more dangerous than the rebs….Perhaps we might consider applying similar criteria to our own efforts of decryption although if we were to apply the overwriting rule then we are going to be left with nothing to work with. Henry Hunt died in debt and denegrated by most of his old superiors but worshipped by his old fellow gunnery officers as well ad his old Gettysburg adversaries.

  8. By following Henry’s rules more or less, so as to give meaning to a simple clear message, this is how I see it…The three largest letters by far and most important it seems are TTM after the undeciferable split vertical line of the bottom and last set which we should summarilly discard as per Henry’s rules….We are therefore left with TARGET TERMINATED as MANDATED ie (as ordered)…then we can adlib a little perhaps with something like THREAT to SERVICE ABROGATED followed possibly with MAKESHIFT STAIRS and our little authorised abreviation TWIXT followed by GLENELG & BRIGHTON to close the message. Bearing in mind the ‘keep it simple’ rule I’m thinking the other lines are most likely superfluous especially the line above with its three suspicious letter A forms and the Q which gives out a void signal…Lets not forget we’re now fully settled on acrostic translation and also that the message is most likely for personal recall or for an associate well familiar with what’s going down. I guess we can now close off on Eric and the so-called code right?. If only but you can’t blame me for trying.

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