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SALMON, John Robert CBE (1926-2013)

SALMON, Brigadier John Robert CBE (1926-2013)

John Salmon was the third generation of his family to seek education at Geelong College. His grandfather, Dr Henry Robert Salmon (1861-1910), was a boarder in 1874. His father, John Walter Salmon (1889-1956), a pastoralist of Camperdown, was at the College from 1903 to 1907, and his brother, William Arthur Salmon (1928-2018) from 1940 to 1945.

John attended Talindent State School before moving to the College as a day student from 8 February 1938 to December 1943. He was joined by his brother William Arthur Salmon from 1940 to 1945. An active sportsman, he became a member of the 1st Football Team and 1st Rowing VIII in both 1942 and 1943, captaining both in 1943. His military career commenced at College where he was a Lieutenant of the Cadet Corps in 1943. He was also a School Prefect, House Captain of Shannon House and a member of the Music and Tennis Committees.

John Robert Salmon (Prefects, 1943).

John Robert Salmon (Prefects, 1943).

After matriculating at Geelong College he entered the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1944. He was commissioned in 1946, serving in artillery and junior staff appointments in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force, Japan, and in Australia. In 1952/53 he served with 16th Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery in Korea from where he was invalided home after being wounded in action. His artillery service includes a Long Air Defence Gunnery Staff Course at Manorbier, Wales, command of an Australian artillery battery in Malaysia and numerous instructional appointments at the Royal Military College, Duntroon and School of Artillery, North Head including that of Commanding Officer and Chief Instructor in 1967/68.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs lists him with Vietnam Service (No. 3401) as a Colonel with the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery and lists his Vietnam service as follows: 'Official Duty (from 103 Field Battery, FARELF) 03/12/1962 - 13/12/1962 Official Duty (from School of Artillery, North Head) 09/07/1968 - 16/07/1968 Headquarters, Australian Force Vietnam (Army Component)'

Other later appointments included Deputy Director of Staff Duties 1969/70; Chief of Staff, Australian Army Force, Vietnam, in 1971 (the award of the CBE was in recognition of this work); Director of Personnel Administration in early 1972; and during 1972-74 he was Brigadier, Army Reorganisation, Canberra implementing the changes from a geographic to a functional Army command structure as recommended in the Hassett Report. For three years until 1976 he was Director General of Coordination and Organisation - Army and again involved in implementing changes arising from the Tange Report on Comprehensive Defence Reorganisation. From 1977 until shortly before his retirement in August, 1981 he was Commandant, Joint Services Staff College. In 1981, under the Defence Co-operation Scheme he advised the Malaysian Government on the establishment of an Armed Forces Defence College. Subsequent to his retirement from the Defence Forces he was employed as a consultant on behalf of various companies.

He died at home in Canberra on 17 March 2013 and was interred at Gungahlin Cemetery, Canberra.

Sources: Ad Astra March 1971; Who’s Who in Australia, 1991; Canberra Times 20 March 2013; The Age (Melb) 20 March 2013. (OGC 1939).
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