The Association has a very proud history forged in war and peace and based on Bravery, Honour, Respect, Support, Camaraderie and Distinguished Service. It evolved from the Anti-Submarine Officers’ Association, which was formed in 1946 by serving and de-mobilised officers from WW11. The only criteria for membership was to have been trained at the Anti-Submarine School, HMAS RUSHCUTTER, in Sydney.
RUSHCUTTER graduates had made a substantial contribution to winning the war at sea in WWII. Many served in the Royal Navy and many were decorated. Winston Churchill said on more than one occasion that the only battle he feared and the only one that had to be won was the Battle of the Atlantic. Graduates from RUSHCUTTER comprised some 20% of all anti-submarine officers and men in RN ships in the war against the U-Boats in the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, North Russia and other theatres of war.
In 1994, the Association published “Contact” - the story of RUSHCUTTER and Australia’s Submarine Hunters between 1939 – 46. Edited by LEUT G.R Worledge MID, RANVR (Rtd), this book is an outstanding account of the history of the Anti-Submarine School and contains the complete details of all personnel who passed through RUSHCUTTER and their wartime recollections.
With the closure of RUSHCUTTER shortly after the end of WW II, Anti-Submarine Warfare Training moved to HMAS WATSON on Sydney’s South Head. The Anti-Submarine Officers’ Association enjoyed a close relationship with WATSON from the start and continued as WATSON’s warfare training role expanded.
The multi-faceted maritime threats of the Cold War and the coming of the missile age led to a shift away from one dimensional ‘Long Course’ specialisations and the introduction of the Principal Warfare Officer (PWO). The PWO was trained to react swiftly to threats from above, below or on the surface and the qualification became a pre-requisite for sea command of a combatant. The PWO course commenced with the Royal Navy in 1972 and RAN officers completed this training in the UK until it was repatriated to WATSON in 1985.
Early in the new century, as its membership aged, the Anti-Submarine Officers’ Association moved to secure its longevity. Building on its close links with WATSON, a name change was made, membership was broadened to incorporate PWOs, and on ANZAC Day 2003, the Naval Warfare Officers Association came into being with Admiral Alan Beaumont AC RAN (Rtd) as its first Patron. In 2008, specialist Gunnery Officers who had previously congregated under the banner of the St Barbara Association were welcomed into the association.