- A.N. Other and NHSA Webmaster
- None noted.
- RAN Ships
- HMAS Rushcutter (Shores establishment)
- June 2000 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Lt. Commander Austin Henry Quince RNVR – 17.2.1894 – 23.3.1984
Fellow members of the wartime staff at H.M.A.S. “RUSHCUTTER” and the many officers and ratings who received their training at that establishment will remember the First Lieutenant and Senior Instructional Officer for his contribution to Australia’s anti-submarine effort in WW II and his personal recruitment of bright young men into the R.A.N. during that period.
Born in Pietermaritsburg Natal, South Africa, where his father was general manager of the Natal Railways, A.H. Quince was educated in South Africa and England.
He joined “Worcester”, one of the two merchant service training ships, the other being “Conway”, graduated in 1912 and then joined the New Zealand Shipping Company.
At the outbreak of WW I he entered the Royal Navy as a Sub Lieutenant and served in HMS Thunderer, HMS Iron Duke, a minesweeper HMS Daphne and finally a cruiser HMS Lowestoft, finishing the war with the rank of Lieutenant.
Immediately after the war he sat for the Extra Masters Certificate, the highest rank in the merchant service, and passed at his first attempt. He then rejoined the N.Z. Shipping Company serving in ships trading between Liverpool and Auckland.
In 1920 he met Alice Dorothy Vaughan, a passenger on one of the trips, and subsequently married her early in the following year. After his marriage, he studied at Cambridge University for one year and then left to manage a sheep property belonging to his wife’s mother near Wanganui, New Zealand.
In 1927, Quince came to Australia with his wife and son. The latter’s ill health was the cause of the family leaving New Zealand. He soon obtained a position as a teacher at Knox Grammar School, Wahroonga, which had only started four years previously.
In 1928 he received promotion to Lieutenant Commander RNVR.
At the outbreak of WW II he volunteered for the R.A.N. and was appointed to HMAS Rushcutter as Senior Instructional Officer. In this position he was next senior to Captain Newcomb RN who was the Commanding Officer.
After the surrender of Germany he was demobilised in early 1945 and returned to Knox Grammar as Headmaster of the Preparatory School, Ewin House, where he remained until his retirement at the end of 1964. He lived at Greenwich until his death 20 years later.
Quince was a great sportsman – soccer, rugby, boxing and later, in Australia, tennis and golf. In the latter he attained a handicap of two – professional material!
A former pupil at Knox Grammar School who knew Quince at school and during and after the war, remembers him as a tall heavily built man with a fine sense of humour. He set great store by insisting on good discipline but he administered this fairly and with kindness and humanity. He put great effort into the character building of his charges, using his knowledge and experience in sport as a basis for his teaching. Quince remained proud of his maritime background and no doubt often regaled his school pupils with accounts of the Battle of Jutland (in HMS “Thunderer”) and his other seafaring experiences.