Tom Lewis (author)

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Thomas Anthony Lewis
Born 1958
Nationality  Australia
Occupation Military Historian and Author

Dr Thomas Anthony 'Tom' Lewis, OAM (born 1958) is an Australian author, military historian, editor, and former naval officer. An author since 1989, Lewis worked as a high school teacher, and served as naval officer for 20 years, seeing active service in Baghdad during the Iraq war, and working in East Timor.

After reconstituting the Royal Australian Naval College Historical Collection - with which his Order of Australia is largely connected - Lewis was the Director of the Darwin Military Museum from 2009 until April 2014, when he took up full-time research on several World War I and II projects. Amongst these are his role as Lead Historian and Creative Designer for The Borella Ride, the re-enactment of the journey of Albert Borella VC to sign up for military service in 1915.

Dr Lewis is the author of 12 books, all of which are works of military history except for one which charts the Tasman Bridge disaster - he was raised largely in Tasmania, although born in London. He has been the editor of Headmark, the Journal of the Australian Naval Institute, since 2005.

In late 2013 Lewis was elected to the Chairmanship of the Order of Australia Association (NT) for a three year term. In 2015 he was appointed the Chairman of the Northern Territory Place Names Committee for three years.

In June 2003, Dr Lewis was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for meritorious service to the Royal Australian Navy, particularly in the promotion of Australian naval history. He holds the degrees of BA(Dip. Ed.), MA, and PhD.[1][2]

Academic Qualifications[edit]

Dr Lewis holds the qualifications of Doctorate of Philosophy (Charles Darwin University 2004); Master of Arts (University of Queensland 1993); Diploma of Education (University of Tasmania 1984); and Bachelor of Arts (University of Tasmania 1983.)

Honours and Awards[edit]


  • Darwin Sayonara, Boolarong, 1991 - children's novel centred on the events of WWII in Darwin, Australia, 1942.
  • Wrecks in Darwin Waters, Turton and Armstrong, 1991 - details the ship and aircraft wrecks, many from attacks in WWII and Cyclone Tracy in 1974, that may be found in waters near Darwin, Australia.
  • Sensuikan I-124, Tall Stories, 1997 - dealing with the sinking of IJN submarine I-124 by HMAS Deloraine.[3]
  • A War at Home, Tall Stories, 1999 - about the Japanese attacks on Darwin on 19 February 1942.[4][5]
  • By Derwent Divided, Tall Stories, 2001 - tells the story of the Tasman Bridge disaster in the state of Tasmania, and the subsequent maritime events.[6]
  • Australian Naval Leaders. A study of nine naval officers of the Royal Australian Navy, with analysis of their careers and effectiveness. RAN College, 2006.
  • 10 Shipwrecks of the Northern Territory, (Co-author, Edited by Paul Clark). Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, 2008.
  • Captain Hec Waller - a Memorial Book. (Co-author, Edited by John Waller). Drawquick Printing, 2008.
  • Zero Hour in Broome Avonmore Books, South Australia, 2010.
  • Darwin's Submarine I-124 Avonmore Books, South Australia, 2011.
  • The Submarine Six Avonmore Books, South Australia, 2012
  • Lethality in Combat BigSky Publishing, Australia, 2012.
  • Carrier Attack Avonmore Books, South Australia, 2013.


  • Headmark - Journal of the Australian Naval Institute - 2005–present.
  • Officer of the Deck, Kriloff, Herb (author), Adelaide: Avonmore Books, 2012.


  • Albany's ANZAC Convoys, Cunnington, Roger, (author), Albany: Western Australia Digger Press, 2014.

Articles (selection from over 1000)[edit]

  • “Why MH370 will likely never be found." Australian Naval Institute. June 2014.
  • “The Myth of Government Cover-up in the first Darwin Raids." 2014 NT Literary Award Winner in the Charles Darwin University Essay Category
  • “Anzac spirit must not be cheapened." Hobart Mercury, 8 May 2014
  • “A Baghdad Tea Ceremony." Under the Queens Colours. Penny Legg. Spellmount, 2012.
  • “Which Fairmile is that?" Northern Territory Historical Studies, No. 24, 2013: 62-73
  • “Our Afghan war dead have not died in vain.” RUSI Journal United Service Sep 2013
  • “Australia’s nuclear-powered submarine option.” RUSI Journal United Service Feb 2013
  • Maritimea Encyclopedia - 12 articles including: histories of the sinking of the Titanic; Battles of Leyte Gulf; Trafalgar, Coral Sea etc.; sinking of HMAS Sydney; the Falklands War; ship development through the ages, 2012
  • "Naval Intelligence and the ADF." Headmark – Dec 2009
  • "Naval Leaders: Vice Admiral Creswell." Headmark, September 2010
  • " John Collins and HMAS Sydney in 1940." Wartime - the magazine of the Australian War Memorial.
  • "Land-based aircraft for warship protection?" Headmark magazine. Issue 129, September-2008.
  • "The truth about Sydney - conspiracy theorists should crawl back into the bilges." Wartime magazine, Issue 45, mid-2008.
  • "What has the wreck of the Sydney told us?" Warship magazine. Issue 44, mid-2008.
  • "Needles and Haystacks - Why finding the wreck of the Sydney was so difficult." Wartime magazine, Issue 43, mid-2008.
  • "What may the wreck of the Sydney reveal." - Warship Vol 42, RUSI Journal United Service Feb 2008, Headmark Dec 2007.
  • "The Importance of Audience Perception in Communications from the Maritime Battlespace Environment of the Future – King-Hall History Conference, July 2007
  • "Military History this week" - 54 articles within Victory Times – Iraq Coalition Troops newspaper, June–December 2006
  • Media implications from the Gulf War. Army Journal. June 2006
  • Heroes of the Navy – Rear Admiral Sir David Martin – Warship magazine, Dec 2006
  • "Lethality in Tactical Air Combat – a study of the image and the reality of fighter combat, and some consideration of the ethics involved". ADF Journal No. 167, 2005
  • "The Myth of Land-Based Aircraft for Naval Defence." Paper presented at the 2005 King-Hall Naval History Conference
  • "Unsung Heroes of the Royal Australian Navy." Paper presented at the International Conference of Historical Sciences, July 2005.
  • "Infantry Lethality in Vietnam: My Lai was Inevitable, and not alone." Paper presented at The Legacy of the Vietnam War Conference, University of Newcastle, April 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Maritime History – Oxford University Press - "Naval Wages". 2005
  • The Canberra Times – book reviews: July 2004 - October 2006
  • "The Navy’s Finest Fighting Leader – Captain ‘Hec’ Waller, DSC" - The Journal of Australian Naval History, October 2004
  • "Australia's Airpower at Sea - a new proposal for a flexible and mobile force" – winner of the 2003 Naval Officers’ Club Essay Competition. Published in the Australian Army Journal, November 2004. Also published in March 2005 in United Service – the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute.
  • "Naval Interdiction in the North – Haphazard and Hazardous" – Paper presented at the 2003 King-Hall Naval History Conference
  • “Myths concerning the number of deaths in the first Japanese attacks on Darwin in February 1942” - Wartime magazine, May 2003
  • “Wreck Finding - Dreams and Reality: the true nature of finding the wrecks of HMAS Sydney and the Kormoran”. Australian Sea Heritage. Winter 2003
  • “Deterrence, Capacity and Skill Retention: some thoughts on the acquisition or removal of platforms within the ADF” – ADF Journal – July 2002
  • “What do the Public Think? - about the effectiveness of Australia’s Offshore Surveillance and Interdiction Effort” - Maritime Studies – June 2002


  • “Australia's Secret Submarine” - Darwin Military Museum, 2012
  • “The Bombing of Darwin” - Artemis Productions, 2012
  • “An Anti-Aircraft Gunner Remembers” - Darwin Military Museum, 2010
  • Neil Oliver's "Coast Australia” - Great Southern Film & Television, (Darwin episode), 2013
  • Sir Tony Robinson's Tour of Duty (in production), May 2014

Literary Awards[edit]

• Jessie Litchfield Literary Competition 1992 - Highly Commended for novel Darwin Sayonara

• Kath Manzie Memorial Prize runner-up for "The Navy and Cyclone Tracy" - 1994 NT Literary Awards

• Kath Manzie Memorial Prize for "The Navy in Darwin in WWII" - 1995 NT Literary Awards

• Recipient of NT History Award for travel to Japan to research the WWII Imperial Japanese Fleet submarine I-124 - 1995

• Kath Manzie Memorial Prize for "The Finding of the Wreck of the Rachel Cohen in Darwin Harbour" in the 1997 NT Literary Awards

• NT University Open Essay Prize for "Which Fairmile is that?" in the NT Literary Awards 1998

• NT Literary Awards 1998 - Highly Commended Essay: "First Contact: a brief analysis of the strategic implications of the Imperial Japanese Navy Sixth Submarine Squadron's deployment in northern Australian waters in 1942". (Subsequently published by the Naval History Association.)

• Naval Officers Club National Essay Competition - 1st Place winner - "The importance of teaching naval history within the Royal Australian Navy" - 2001

• Naval Officers Club National Essay Competition - 1st Place winner - "Australia's Airpower at Sea - a proposal for a flexible and mobile force" - 2003

• Charles Darwin Essay Prize, for "The Myth of Government Cover-Up in the 1942 raids on Darwin" in the NT Literary Awards 2014

• Shortlisted in the NT Chief Minister's History Book of the Year 2014, for Carrier Attack

Other Interests[edit]

Lewis lists his recreations as astronomy, tournament chess, building sound systems, and collecting antique swords.


  1. ^ It's an Honour - Honours - Search Australian Honours
  2. ^ "Talk with Dr. Tom Lewis OAM" (PDF). Northern Territory Library. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  3. ^ David M. Stevens. "Japanese submarine operations against Australia 1942-1944". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Quarterly Newsletter" (PDF). The Australian Association for Maritime History, March 2000.
  5. ^ A War at Home
  6. ^ Lewis, Tom (September–October 2002). "Deterrence, Capacity and Skill Retention" (PDF). Australian Defence Force Journal (156). ISSN 1320-2545. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 

External links[edit]