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Lionel Lockwood (1902–1987)

by Neil Westphalen

This article was published:

Lionel Lockwood (left), n.d.

Lionel Lockwood (left), n.d.

photo from Royal Australian Navy

Lionel Lockwood (1902-1987), naval medical officer, was born on 13 January 1902 at Natimuk, Victoria, second child of Victorian-born parents Alfred Wright Lockwood, journalist, and his wife Alice Ellen, née Francis.  His brother, Rupert Ernest, became a well-known communist journalist, and his half-brother, Douglas Wright, a journalist, soldier and author.  Lionel was educated at Natimuk State School, Ballarat High School and the University of Melbourne (MB, BS, 1924; MD, 1930), where he resided at Queen’s College and was awarded a Blue for football. In November 1924 he entered the Royal Australian Navy as a surgeon lieutenant and served ashore at HMAS Cerberus, Westernport, before joining the survey ship HMAS Moresby in the following year.  He converted to Catholicism on marrying Evelyn Loretto Shelton on 29 August 1925 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

Posted back to Cerberus in 1928, Lockwood completed a pathology course and was promoted to surgeon lieutenant commander in May 1930.  He joined HMAS Australia in March 1933 and was appointed MVO in 1935 for his services as a physician to the Duke of Gloucester.  In January 1936 Lockwood went to Britain where, despite suffering a nervous breakdown, he achieved first place on his promotion course and was promoted to surgeon commander in May, after further training at the London Hospital.

On his return to Australia in 1937, Lockwood became a surgical specialist at the Naval Wing, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney.  From February 1941 he served in HMAS Hobart in the Mediterranean, Java Sea and the Pacific.  In 1942 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for 'bravery and endurance when HMAS Hobart was taking convoys across the China and Java Seas'.  Lockwood returned to Cerberus where, from April 1943 he specialised in pathology and bacteriology.  Promoted to surgeon captain in January 1946, he became medical officer-in-charge in December, and was posted in January 1950 to HMAS Penguin, Sydney, as MOIC and command medical officer, East Australia Area.  In March 1955 he was promoted to surgeon rear admiral and appointed to Navy Office, Melbourne, as director of naval medical services.  Surgeon Rear Admiral John Cotsell assessed him as a shrewd director under whom naval medicine thrived.  Lockwood’s initiatives included the establishment of the RAN School of Underwater Medicine in 1963.  He retired from the RAN in January 1964.

Lockwood had been appointed CBE in 1957.  Next year he became a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, and in 1967 of the (Royal) Australasian College of Medical Administrators.  He was president (1964-68) of the Victorian Council of Social Service, a member (1955-64) of the national council of the Australian Red Cross Society, a member (1961-64) of the Victorian branch council of the Australian Medical Association and vice-president (1962-63) of the Naval and Military Club, Melbourne.  He was also a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club, the Lawn Tennis Association of Victoria and the Australian Club.  A foundation member of the Australian Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, in 1974 he was appointed a Knight of Magistral Grace.

Following his wife’s death in 1977, Lockwood married Daisy Margaret Paterson, née Lockwood, a widow, on 12 July 1980 at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Deepdene.  He died on 19 September 1987 at Diamond Creek, Melbourne, and was buried in Boroondara cemetery.  His wife and the son and three daughters of his first marriage survived him.

Select Bibliography

  • J. C. Wiseman and R. J. Mulhearn (eds), Roll of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, vol 2, 1976-1990, 1994
  • H. Cotton, The History of the Ballarat High School 1907-1947 (1947?)
  • A6769, item Lockwood L (National Archives of Australia)
  • private information

Citation details

Neil Westphalen, 'Lockwood, Lionel (1902–1987)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2012, accessed online 22 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 18, (Melbourne University Press), 2012

View the front pages for Volume 18

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Lionel Lockwood (left), n.d.

Lionel Lockwood (left), n.d.

photo from Royal Australian Navy

Life Summary [details]


13 January, 1902
Natimuk, Victoria, Australia


19 September, 1987 (aged 85)
Diamond Creek, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.