- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- History - general, Humour
- RAN Ships
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- March 1997 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Further to the article on Arnold Green in the December 1996 edition, more Arnold Green stories:
1. On assumption of his duties as Resident Naval Officer, Hobart, Arnold Green arranged the customary appointment to wait upon the Governor.
At the appointed time, resplendent in full uniform, Arnold swept up to Government House in his large black car, returned with dignity the salute from his Naval driver as he alighted, and strode to the front door. His knock was answered by a middle-aged woman who asked him to come in and apologised for the absence of the butler.
‘Ah, well’ replied Arnold with condescension,`that does not matter, my good woman. I have an appointment with His Excellency and perhaps you would announce me? But first, would you mind taking these?’ With which he proceeded to divest himself of (and load into the lady’s arms) his cloak, his cap, his gloves and finally his sword.
At this moment and Aide-de-Camp appeared from a side door, paused in evident surprise, and then hurried forward.
`Oh, Lady Cross, I’m sorry I wasn’t here. Let me take all those things’.
`There seems’, said Arnold after only a momentary silence, ‘to have been a ghastly misunderstanding. Allow me, Lady Cross, to begin again’. With which he took up his sword, his gloves, his cap, and his cloak, walked out through the door, closed it behind him, waited a few seconds and then knocked at it once more.
This time the Aide opened the door, and into his hands Arnold thrust his accoutrements as he walked quickly forward to the middle-aged lady, who still stood uncertainly in the middle of the hall.
`Lady Cross’, he cried, `how delighted I am to meet you and what an honour it is to me and to the Navy for you and His Excellency your husband to receive me today. I sincerely hope that this is only the first of many pleasant meetings between us’.
– It was!.
2. “It was here (New Farm Wharf, Brisbane) that I first encountered the redoubtable Commander Arnold Green R.A.N. I knew him by repute as a fire-eating and outspoken disliker of humbug – a perfectionist prepared to criticise publicly, without regard to rank, anyone who failed to conform to his high executive standards of decision making. He had probably made many enemies during his Service career. As a Destroyer Captain, I know of few having served under him who, while acknowledging his eccentricities, did not respect and have a real affection for him.
He lived up to his reputation on this occasion. He was Senior Officer, Ships in Reserve, Brisbane. He boarded Latrobe before I could leave the bridge to greet him. Our opening conversation I remember well – Arnold Green: `When will you be ready to pay off?’ My reply, `Tomorrow, Sir’. A.G. `Why tomorrow?’ – `Because we have yet to range the cable and chip and red-lead the cable locker’. (A job which cannot be done at sea). A. G.: `Are the stores mustered and balanced against the records?’-‘Yes, Sir’.
And so it went on through all the routine matters until I thought he had covered everything associated with paying off into reserve. However, he had one more item up his sleeve – A.G.: `What about your bilges?’ At this moment the Chief E.R.A. happened to be passing. I asked the Chief to get Commander Green a boiler suit as he wished to inspect the bilges. Never one to avoid a challenge, A. G. went off to an area which, in Brisbane in January, was equivalent to being in a Turkish Bath. About twenty minutes later he returned thoroughly drenched in sweat – and impressed with the cleanliness of our bilges. The Chief had not disclosed our Japanese working party’s involvement in Sandakan – after all, the bilges were his particular responsibility. When I told A.G. the circumstances he showed great restraint, merely insisting that I should supply the wherewithal to replenish his loss of fluids. This I was happy to do and we adjourned to my cabin where, as a preliminary, he made a signal to N.O.I.C. Brisbane to the effect that Latrobe would be ready to pay off in two day’s time.
We were enjoying the ‘other half’ when a reply from the Accounts section was received stating that they would be unable to complete their part until some time in May. I thought A.G. would have apoplexy.
(HMAS LATROBE – The Story of an Australian Corvette 1942-1946 by the late LieutenantCommander Windas Smith, RANVR, courtesy of Mrs Smith. Lieutenant Commander-Smith must have been the first person to ever have up-staged Arnold Green; and on his first encounter with him too! Arnold’s ferocity usually evaporated quickly and was seldom more than skin deep).