Presentation of the ANI 2022 Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize

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Following the announcement on 14 December 2022 of Scrap Iron Flotilla, written by Mike Carlton and published by William Heinemann Australia, as the second winner of the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Award, the Australian Naval Institute recently conducted the presentation of the award to Mike Carlton at HMAS Watson, supported by over 60 current serving Warfare Officers.

The Prize is named after Commodore Sam Bateman AM, RAN (1938-2020), a notable strategic thinker and former Australian Naval Institute Councillor. It recognises his outstanding efforts to raise greater awareness of naval and maritime matters and progress the understanding and value of navies in society. Team Downer MSP proudly sponsors the Prize.

Vice Admiral Peter Jones, ANI President, thanked all for their attendance. He commented how Scrap Iron Flotilla engagingly tells of the remarkable exploits of five elderly Australian destroyers during World War II, illuminating the dedicated efforts of the men in the Scrap Iron Flotilla to keep their old ships going through the most arduous and action-filled service.

Captain Simon Bateman, representing the Bateman family, then presented the trophy, noting that the Bateman family continues to be humbled and thrilled to be involved in this initiative. He added that the initiative is something that Commodore Bateman would have been very proud to see happening in such contested times, noting the importance of maritime matters in current geostrategic affairs.

Captain Matt Bradley of Team Downer MSP thanked the ANI for the opportunity to support the initiative. He commented that Team Downer was pleased to support such an auspicious award as the Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize, noting the significant contribution that Commodore Bateman made to understanding naval and maritime matters in Australia across the world.

Mike Carlton was invited to provide his oration, delivering an illuminating address of Scrap Iron Flotilla. He asks the audience to “…let your imaginations take you back to 1941.” What followed was a rich narrative replete with human stories of courage, tenacity and determination, which earned these ships and the men who served in them their auspicious place in Australian military history.  His oration spoke of the legacy that the men in these ships had left for the attendant Navy members and how these lessons were relevant to their emergent careers. During the question-and-answer session, Mike noted he was drawn to this story because of the true Australian nature of their service and how it resonates today. Finally, Mike thanked the Australian Naval Institute for promoting maritime interests and the Bateman family for supporting this award.

The Commodore Sam Bateman Book Prize recognises excellence in books that significantly contribute to studying and understanding naval and maritime affairs.

The 2023 Commodore Sam Bateman Book Award is now open. Books that promote the discussion of naval or maritime matters are eligible for judging, the rules of which can be found here. Submission will be received until October 2023 and can be recommended by publishers or individuals who feel the book fulfils the award intent.

For further details, contact the Australian Naval Institute office on 02 6290 1505 or at admin@navalinstitute.com.au

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