Nigel Coates (admiral)

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Nigel Stephen Coates
Rear Admiral Nigel Coates in March 2008
Born (1959-03-08)8 March 1959
Died 2 June 2010(2010-06-02) (aged 51)[1][2]
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory[1]
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Royal Australian Navy
Years of service 1975–2010
Rank Rear Admiral
Commands held Commander Australian Fleet (2007–09)
Director General Navy Personnel (2005–07)
Director General Australian Navy Cadets (2005–07)
HMAS Anzac (2001–02)
HMAS Canberra (1996–98)

Gulf War
War in Afghanistan

Awards Member of the Order of Australia

Rear Admiral Nigel Stephen Coates AM (8 March 1959 – 2 June 2010) was a senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy.

Early life and education[edit]

Coates joined the Royal Australian Naval College at Jervis Bay in 1975 as a Junior Entry officer, where he completed his high school education.

Coates spent 18 months in Newport, Rhode Island, where he attended the US Naval War College and earnt a Master of Arts (International Relations) from Salve Regina University.


Coates joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1975. For the first 15 years of his career he served as aide-de-camp to the Governor General, received Principal Warfare Officer and other training, served on HMA Ships Hobart, Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin, and at Maritime Headquarters (MHQ) in Sydney.

In 1993, he was promoted to commander and served at the Australian Defence Force Academy, initially as Senior Military Instructor, and then as Commanding Officer of the Corps of Officer Cadets. In 1996 he assumed command of HMAS Canberra, in 1998 he assumed command of Sea Training at MHQ, and in 1999 attended the US Naval War College.

In 2001 he was promoted to captain and assumed command of HMAS Anzac, which saw operational deployment in the Persian Gulf; Coates was subsequently appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for this service.[3]

In mid-2002 he was appointed Chief of Staff to the Chief of the Defence Force in Canberra, and in late 2003 he was promoted to commodore and appointed Chief of Staff, at Headquarters Australian Theatre in Sydney. In 2005 he returned to Canberra as Director General, Navy Personnel and Training.

In July 2007 he was promoted to rear admiral and appointed Commander Australian Fleet.[4][5] He relinquished command of the Fleet in October 2009 and was relieved by Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore.[6]


According to his official biography, "Coates and his wife Vickie enjoy sailing and have three children who also enjoy sailing – occasionally."[7]

In 1996 while sailing in the Australian Capital Territory, he suffered a traumatic amputation of the top of his ring finger.[citation needed]

Coates was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer in late 2009, shortly after relinquishing command of the Australian Fleet. He died on 2 June 2010,[8] aged 51, at the Medical Centre, Royal Military College, Duntroon, in Canberra. The funeral service with full naval honours was held in the Naval Dockyard Chapel, Garden Island, on 9 June 2010.[2]

Honours and awards[edit]

  • Queen's Gold Medal (Dux of RAN Initial Training course)
  • Jubilee Sword (Dux of Seamen Officers training course)
  • 1991 Maritime Commander's Commendation
  • 1995 Chief of the Defence Force Commendation
  • 1997 Gloucester Cup (Commanding officer, HMAS Canberra)
  • 2001 Gloucester Cup (Commanding Officer, HMAS Anzac)

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png

Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal ribbon.png DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Member of the Order of Australia (AM) Australia Day Honours List 2003[3]
Australian Active Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Active Service Medal[9] with 1 clasp[9]
Afghanistan Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Afghanistan Medal[9]
Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal[9] with 2 (?) clasps[9]
DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Defence Force Service Medal with 4 clasps[9] 35–39 years service[9]
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal[9]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Australia mourns naval officer death,, 2 June 2010
  2. ^ a b Nigel Coates,, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 2010, accessed 5 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2003
    Citation: For exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Australian Navy, particularly as Commanding Officer HMAS ANZAC during deployment on Operation SLIPPER and in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
  4. ^ Minister for Defence visits Fleet Base East, Australian Defence Force media release, 14 July 2009, accessed 3 June 2010.
  5. ^ Legacy Remembrance Ceremony-Sydney, Australian Defence Force media release, 2 September 2009, accessed 3 June 2010
  6. ^ Change of command at Fleet Headquarters, Navy News, Vol. 52 No. 19, 15 October 2009, page 7.
  7. ^ "Rear Admiral Nigel Stephen Coates, AM, RAN, Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT)". Defence Leaders. Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 30 July 2008. 
  8. ^ Naval signal from Vice Admiral Russ Crane, 2 June 2010
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Refer to File:YE DSC01725.JPG

External links[edit]

Links at

Military offices
Preceded by
Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas
Commander Australian Fleet
Succeeded by
Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore
Preceded by
New position
Director General of the Australian Navy Cadets
Succeeded by
Commodore Karel de Laat