Rear Admiral Keith Michael Saull RNZN CB.
Chief of Naval Staff: April 1980 – April 1983
Keith Saull joined the Royal Navy as a Midshipman RNR on graduating from HMS
Conway, a Merchant Navy training school, in 1945. He was immediately posted to
the British Pacific Fleet and joined the battleship HMS Duke Of York.
Early tasks included assisting in the re-occupation of Hong Kong, attending
Japanese war trials and patrolling the waters of the Dutch East Indies whilst serving
in the frigate HMS Black Swan. Rather than being demobbed he joined an Extended
Service Commission scheme and was posted to Palestine where he commanded the
motor launch HMS Moreta intercepting illegal Jewish immigrants. He was Mentioned
in Despatches for his service in Palestine.
He transferred to the Royal New Zealand Navy in 1951 and within a few days of
arrival in New Zealand found himself as the Gunnery Officer of the Loch-class frigate
HMNZS Taupo heading to the Korean War. Taupo was to be involved in action in
the Han River and at Yang do Island in 1952.
After specialising in gunnery he served in a variety of ships including the cruiser
HMNZS Royalist and as First Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Loch-class
frigate HMNZS Kaniere [sister-ship to Taupo].
In 1959 he became the first Executive Officer of the modern frigate HMNZS Otago whose commissioning was a cornerstone in the development of the modern RNZN.
Staff appointments included the Commanding Officer of the training establishment
HMNZS Tamaki then at Narrowneck and postings to HMNZS Wakefield (HQ
Wellington) and command of the frigate HMNZS Taranaki lead to 1971 when Admiral
Saull was promoted to Captain and was posted to command the new Leander-class
frigate HMNZS Canterbury.
In 1973 Admiral Saull proceeded to Washington as Naval Attaché. Prior to returning
to New Zealand as The Commodore, Auckland (COMAUCK) he spent a year at the
Royal College of Defence Studies. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1980 and
served until 1983 as the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). He retired from the RNZN at the
conclusion of his term as CNS on 6 April 1983 and was placed on the RNZN List of
Retired Officers on 17 April 1983. Admiral Saull died on 28 February 2016, aged 88.