Naval Historian and Author | Ian Pfennigwerth |Australian Navy History

Ian’s Podcasts

Ian Pfennigwerth has, individually or with others, made a number of podcasts for broadcasting on a range of topics. Here is a selection:

Used with permission of Service Voices Assoc Ltd and Radio Adelaide

RAN in Malaya and Malaysia, 1955-1971

Military historian, author and retired Navy Captain, Dr Ian Pfennigwerth gives us an easy to follow explanation of what the problems were that created the Malayan Emergency, how Australia became involved, and the formation of the Far East Strategic Reserve.  Defence quantified our commitment of nearly 5,000 people required to man our part of the Strategic Reserve.  Nearly a third of those were Navy!  Ian goes on to explain the role our Navy carried out in the region…  he served in Malaysia during this period. If you are interested in Australian Military history, and/or Navy history, then this interview is one you should not miss!!

The RAN – Bravo Zulu Volume 2

A comprehensive, easily accessible list of honours and awards (gongs) earned by Royal Australian Navy personnel has long been missing from our records and book shelves.  That has all changed with the publishing of Bravo Zulu Volumes One and Two.

Navy Veteran, Naval Historian/Author Dr. Ian Pfennigwerth tells us it’s time the people’s stories were told…  we now want more than just accounts of grey sided ships and statistics.  We want the stories and recognition for the work done by our Navy personnel.

The Royal Australian Navy – A proud history deserving of recognition. 

Some Colonial politicians were sceptical about Australia’s need for a Navy of our own…. we were paying the British to retain their Navy here for our protection. Naval Historian Ian Pfennigwerth (Captain RAN Ret’d)   takes us on a voyage of discovery through our Navy’s history. It’s a fitting reminder of the overwhelmingly important role our RAN has played during all conflicts and in peacetime from WW1 onward.

Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Samuel Stening, DSC RAN Reserve
One of Australia’s (almost) forgotten heroes

At the outbreak of WW2, he enlisted in the RAN and served in the Indian Ocean and then in the famous ‘Scrap Iron Flotilla’ in the Mediterranean where his ship, the Waterhen, was sunk in June 1941. Sam was posted to the cruiser Perth for her final deployment to Java and her subsequent sinking in Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942.

Dr Sam Stening’s life story is certainly about the Royal Australian Navy at war, and about being a Japanese Prisoner of War, but more than that, it’s a love story, and surprisingly, about the early days of advancements in paediatrics in Australia…  and triaging premature babies – who would live and who would not.

Naval historian Ian Pfennigwerth CAPT RAN (Rtd) who wrote Sam Stening’s biography, said “Writing it was struggle, but the story was too good to abandon just because I found the facts extremely confronting.”  Ian engages us in a great insight into this Australian Naval hero’s life.