Commodore J.G. Hilliard CBE DSC VRD* RNZNVR
Jack Hilliard, who joined the Auckland Division of the Naval Reserve in 1926, was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in 1928.
Hilliard was one of numerous young officers who travelled to the United Kingdom in 1940. There they spent much of their war service in mine sweepers, many Tree Class ships.
As Lieutenant, he took command of HMS BLACKTHORN, and became engaged in Channel convoy duties that were particularly hazardous after the fall of France. Vulnerable to air and sea attack, merchant ships traversing the English Channel were also well in range of German artillery batteries positioned along the coasts of France and Holland.
In recognition of his dedicated service, leadership and gallantry, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Promoted to Lieutenant Commander, Hilliard took command of HMNZS TUI for her outward voyage to New Zealand later during WWII. Thereafter, under his command, TUI joined the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla in the South-West Pacific. In company with HMNZS MOA, TUI sank or damaged four Japanese landing craft near Cape Esperance in January 1943. In August of the same year TUI detected and engaged a Japanese submarine on which she dropped depth charges. The submarine surfaced and. engaged TUI's 4-inch gun at extreme range. TUI's complement believed they had scored a hit, but further depth charges from aircraft ensured two underwater explosions, and TUI eventually recovered six survivors.
Commander Hilliard was placed in command of the Auckland division of the Naval Reserve when it reformed in 1948. In 1951 he was promoted to the rank of Captain and continued in command of the division now named HMNZS NGAPONA. He was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1956 and remained in command until 1958.
In 1981 he was promoted Commodore on the Retired List in recognition of his long and devoted service.