Captain Naval Reserves: 2002 - 2005
Captain F.J (Fergus) Gillon VRD**
Captain Gillon was born in Mosgiel, on the Taieri Plains, and educated at Kings High School in Dunedin. The eldest son of a Naval Reserve Officer, his interest in the Navy began at an early age, and developed further as a Sea Cadet during his High School years, where he became the senior cadet in the unit, with the rank of Cadet Petty Officer.
Joining HMNZS TOROA in Dunedin as an Ordinary Seaman in 1964, Captain Gillon completed his Compulsory Military Training in HMNZS LACHLAN, and was promoted to Leading Seaman, before being commissioned as a seaman officer in 1968. A transfer to Invercargill with his civilian employers in 1972 resulted in a period on the Inactive List. Returning to HMNZS TOROA in 1977, he was transferred to the Support Services Administration & Training Branch as one of the seaman officers qualified to command the attached SDMLs, HMNZS KOURA and HMNZS KAHAWAI.
With the introduction of the Inshore Patrol Craft for the Naval Reserve in 1983, and having been part of the workup and commissioning crew for first craft, HMNZS MOA, Captain Gillon was appointed Operations Officer of HMNZS TOROA, before being appointed Executive Office, and Second in Command, of HMNZS TOROA in late 1984.
A world wide takeover in his civilian employment in 1985 saw his transfer to Christchurch, and to HMNZS PEGASUS as an Assistant Supply Officer. Having re-qualified in the Supply Branch, and having been appointed the Supply Officer of HMNZS PEGASUS, Captain Gillon further qualified as a Shipping Control Officer, before transferring to the Shipping Control Branch as the Senior Shipping Control Officer of HMNZS PEGASUS.
In 1992, Captain Gillon completed the Royal Navy’s NCS Duty Staff Officers Course at HMS NELSON, Portsmouth, England. As a Shipping Control Officer he has held the posts, during both national and international exercises, of Naval Control of Shipping Officer Lyttelton, Duty Shipping Controller in the Maritime Headquarters, as part of the exercise directing staff (DISTAFF), and as the RNZN’s Liaison Officer to the Fijian Navy.
In 1993 he was appointed Executive Officer of HMNZS PEGASUS, and in 1994 he was promoted to the rank of Commander and appointed Commanding Officer of HMNZS PEGASUS. He is the first Shipping Controller to Command a Naval Reserve Division. In 1996 he was appointed Honorary Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency the Governor-General, The Right Honourable Sir Michael Hardie-Boys GNZM GCMG, in addition to his duties as Commanding Officer of HMNZS PEGASUS.
In January 2000 Captain Gillon was appointed to the staff of the Chief of Naval Staff as the Director of Shipping Control. He was promoted to Captain in January 2002 and was appointed Naval Reserves Adviser to the Chief of Naval Staff, and the first Captain Naval Reserves in 2003. This is the most senior post in the Naval Reserve, and is responsible for maintaining an overview of policy and the effective employment of over 450 Naval Reservists throughout New Zealand.
In 2003, Captain Gillon represented New Zealand at the Centenary of the RNVR/RNR at Horse Guards Parade, London.
Captain Gillon was awarded the Volunteer Reserve Decoration in 1983, the first clasp to that Decoration in 1993, and the second clasp to the Decoration in 2003. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Chief of Navy Commendation for his services to the RNZNVR.
Captain Gillon is married to Fay and has two daughters and a son, the eldest of which, the former Lieutenant Rochelle Gillon, RNZNVR, was the first third generation Officer in the RNZNVR.
Captain Gillon’s civilian career over 40 years was within the Fire and General Insurance industry. Over 30 years of which have been with Vero Insurance and it’s predecessors. Captain Gillon retired from Vero Insurance’s Head Office, in Auckland, in December 2004, and returned to Christchurch to live.