I am nominating this for featured article because I believe it now meets the criteria. A senior officer in the Royal Australian Navy, Becher's career included distinguished service in both the Second World War and Korean War. This article has been passed as both a Good article and WikiProject Military history A-Class. Many thanks go to Ian Rose for contributing the vast majority of information on Becher's service in the Korean War and Jappalang for providing some useful assistance in relation to images. Any and all comments welcome! Thanks! Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:32, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Should ranks be capitalised? In the intro for example, ranks are lower-case (eg rear admiral), while in the info box, it is upper-case (Rear Admiral).
Typically, ranks should not be capitalised unless attached to someone's name. However, I think the infobox is an exception as it would look unusual to have the rank in lower-case there. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 06:26, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
In the third paragraph on the Second World War, it mentions the Napier was attacked by a formation of aircraft. Can you elaborate on type/nationality?
I meant were they Italian or German? What type of aircraft were they (i.e. bombers or fighters) if that information is available? It seems they were German Ju-88s from the Navy.gov.au link. Can you clarify? Lawrence, M.J. (talk) 06:47, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Also information at Gill, George Hermon (1957) p360. Sorry to be so pedantic about it, btw. Lawrence, M.J. (talk) 06:52, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
That's where I was just about to look. ;-) Abraham, B.S. (talk) 06:54, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Incidentally, I think that my grandfather would have served under him while on HMAS Vengeance...I'll have to ask him! Lawrence, M.J. (talk) 06:09, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
That's an interesting fact! If he did, I wonder what his opinion of Becher was. Thanks for the review. Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 06:26, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
Comments - sources look okay, links checked out with the link checker tool. Ealdgyth - Talk 12:28, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Oppose. At least for now, this leaves too many questions unanswered in my mind. I don't think it should take to long to fill in the details though. I also have a few writing style issues, but they may just in be US vs. Commonwealth English, I'm not quite sure. Cool3 (talk) 19:16, 1 June 2009 (UTC)Comments. Most of the issues that I raised have been addressed, so I'm no longer in the "oppose" column, but I think the article still needs work. I still think that certain sections leave unanswered questions about Becher, and I'm not blown away by the prose quality. I think the article could do with a copyedit and finding a few more sources would be a very good thing. Cool3 (talk) 04:12, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
EyeSerene has kindly accepted to copyedit the article. In regards to sources, I have not been able to find anything extra, but am attempting to access to the books you recommended on the article's talk page. Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 08:50, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Copyedit underway as Bryce says - please be patient though, because I'm squeezing it in around other things :P EyeSerenetalk 20:18, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Just to note, EyeSerene has now completed a thorough and much appreciated copyedit of the article. Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 11:04, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Resolved comments from Cool3
"Born in Western Australia," I'm not Australian, but this sounds a little to vague for me. Why not put the name of the city in the lead there?
"he filled several staff positions as well as commanded HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Vengeance. " This may be a Commonwealth vs. American English issue, but that sentence appears to be grammatically incorrect. I believe it should be either "and commanded" or "as well as commanding".
Truthfully, I do not see a problem here, but I will review if anyone else objects. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
"he was posted to the United Kingdom for further training with the Royal Navy from September that year." Further training in what?
"Posted for duties at the shore establishment HMAS Cerberus in Victoria," It's rather unclear when this was. Was it immediately following completion of the gunnery school? Also what were the nature of his duties?
"Becher later completed two years aboard HMAS Canberra as her intelligence officer" Again, this is vague on the time. When is later?
I think with the addition from the above, it is okay now. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
" Commended for his "daring, resource and devotion" during the operation, Becher was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Service Cross." Any idea what he did that was daring?
Sadly, that is the most I was able to add here. All of the sources I have seen just state it was for his service during the Namsos Campaign. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Most unfortunate. I've looked through the newspapers I have access to for more information on this and found nothing, but if you have access to an Australian newspaper archive from the period, there's a chance you might be able to find a description of his exploits there. Just a thought. Cool3 (talk) 18:40, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I had a bit of a search around, but couldn't find anything. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 09:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
"Inter-bellum and Korean War". So far as I know, the term interbellum is generally used to refer to the period between the two World Wars, making its use here rather confusing.
The term "interbellum" refers to a period between wars, so it is still applicable in this case though is probably more common to be used between the two world wars. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
You're right that it can refer to the period between any two wars, but in this case I find it a bit confusing, given that he was around in the period between the World Wars. Also, should it be hyphenated? Cool3 (talk) 18:40, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it should be hyphenated, as I have typically seen it in full. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 09:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
In that case, I would suggest dehyphenating (writing as one word) interbellum in the section heading. Cool3 (talk) 20:37, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Whoops! I didn't even notice I had done that. Fixed. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 23:08, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
"His service aboard the aircraft carrier lasted for two years" I assume this means the Sydney, but it's a bit confusing as no previous reference is made to the fact that the Sydney was a carrier.
"when he relieved Captain Alan McNicoll as commander of the destroyer HMAS Warramunga on 28 July, which had been selected for service in the Korean War." This may again be Commonwealth vs. American, but I feel that this grammatically incorrect. So far as I know, you need to position the clause right next to HMAS Warramunga (i.e., "as commander of the destroyer HMAS Warramunga, which had been selected for service in the Korean War, on 28 July" or "On 28 July, when he relieved Captain Alan McNicoll as commander of the HMAS Warramunga, which had been selected for service in the Korean War."
I don't really see any issues here. But will review if anyone else objects. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
I don't see it as a big deal, but Cool's second rendering of the sentence does seem a bit better than what's there now. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:19, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
"Warramunga was to be attached to a force of five Royal Navy destroyers led by a captain, making it expedient to have the Australian ship commanded by an officer of lower rank" This seems to better belong in the paragraph above.
"In the event, his "well-earned" promotion came through as scheduled on 31 December." Does this mean that the commander of the Bataan kept quiet? Or did he talk and the board didn't care?
I think the commander of Bataan kept quiet. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Yep, not stated explicitly in the source, it just assumes the CO of Bataan kept mum - hence I simply noted the fact that his promotion wasn't delayed. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:19, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see. It's always rather frustrating when the sources do that, but I guess given what they say we're doing the best we can.
"Noted for his "courage, skill and determination", the recommendation for Becher to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order was approved" This may again be US vs. Commonwealth, but that seems off "Noted..." modifies Becher but precedes recommendation which is also the subject of the sentence. I believe this needs rephrasing.
Again, don't see much wrong with this, but will review if insisted upon. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Again, not a big deal, but how would it read if "Noted for" was changed to "Noting"? This refers to the recommendation, which is what's being approved. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:19, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Noting would work just fine. Cool3 (talk) 18:40, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
"Becher became subject to controversy following the collision of HMA Ships Voyager and Melbourne in February that year" Did he get into any sort of trouble over his actions? Do you have any more details on the controversy?
No trouble. It basicly became controversal as the Royal Commissioner placed a degree of blame on Commander Robertson for the incident, which is believed to have stemmed from Becher's statement and his talk with Robertson. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
" Becher accepted the position of Director-General of Recruiting for the Australian Military from 1966 until 1969, although he opposed conscription in the belief that it eroded professional standards." This confuses me. Director-General of Recruiting sounds to me like he would be in charge of finding volunteers, but the second half of the sentence makes it seem that he was involved in conscription. Can you provide more details on what his position actually involved?
Conscription was present in Australia from 1951 to 1972. Have clarified this. Thanks for the additional info here, too, mate, I appreciate it. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
The third paragraph in the "Second World War" section talks about the Napier but makes absolutely no reference to Becher's role in the events discussed? Do you have any specifics on what he was doing during/as a part of these events?
Again, no, not really. There is little available on his earlier service. All I have is that he served on Napier in the Mediterranean. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Similarly, the 5th paragraph discusses the Robert J. Walker in detail, the Quickmatch some, and Becher not at all. What was his role in these events?
Becher was commanding Quickmatch during the incident, which is alreay stated. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Was his doing anything specific (I imagine the sources may not say, which is ok)? Also, was he the senior officer out of the ships? Cool3 (talk) 18:40, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
All the sources specify is that he was in command of Quickmatch. I actually don't really know who was the senior officer was, but I will have a look to see if I can find out. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 09:34, 3 June 2009 (UTC)
Following a search, I think Becher was the senior officer on scene. However, I cannot locate a source that directly states this, so I cannot include this in the article without voyaging into original research. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 03:33, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
"On 25 June 1945, Becher ceased his command of HMAS Quickmatch and returned to Australia," Any idea why?
Basicly, what I can gather is that it was decided he be sent for staff duties. Nothing really specific. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
"known as the 'Murphy Method', it involved wrapping messages around potatoes and throwing them from one ship to the other." Who was Murphy and why was the method named for him? Did Becher have any role in its invention?
I'll have to ask Ian on this one, as he added this snippet. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:58, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Heh, I'm not sure how you could, or indeed if you should attempt to, explain this in the text or even a footnote - in fact don't even try as it's not explained in the source so would be OR to do so in this article...! It's just a bit of esoteria derived from the fact that potatoes are particularly associated in the Anglo-Australian mind with Ireland, and Murphy is a particularly common Irish surname, hence the 'Murphy method' for this little practice... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 07:44, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Great article, I look forward to supporting in the future.
Support - with the caveat of my interest in the Korean War section, as Bryce kindly noted. Supported this at ACR and happy to support again now - this is detailed, well-written and carefully researched. Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 09:19, 2 June 2009 (UTC)
Comments - I'm spotting some problems in sample sections, like excess use of "in order to" when just "to" will suffice, and dangling modifiers ("Promoted to acting rear admiral on 3 January 1959, his rank ...") that suggest further examination of the prose is needed. Also, I happened to notice the term "Chinaman" which is considered offensive by modern dictionaries. This may be a case where the source does not reflect current language usage. --Laser brain(talk) 20:46, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the tweaks and comments. As noted above, the article is currectly being copyedited, so any prose issues should be ironed out soon. As to the use of "Chinaman", I was unaware it was considered offensive and have tweaked it to instead read "Chinese person". Cheers, Abraham (talk) 03:10, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I think just "Chinese" would do the trick, "Chinese person" sounds a bit clumsy... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 05:32, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
Support - This is really quite good, and I couldn't find much need for my services as a copyeditor. A few points that might merit attention, notwithstanding my support:
Though I'm not really very familiar with naval articles, there seems to be a fair bit of moderately specialized terminology here ("working-up exercises", "forming up", "made substantive", etc.). If possible, these should be wikilinked or converted into plain(er) language.
The only remotely substantive change I made was dealing with the section on Warramunga running aground. The way it was worded before had a bit of a subject disagreement ("Becher's only option being to wait for the rising tide to float her off. She did so..."). It's now grammatically correct, but might not be keeping with the best elements of style for naval articles, so you might want to check my work.
"Well deserved" is in quotes, but there's no indication as to who was calling his promotion well deserved. This should be remedied.
I have a feeling that when I wrote it there was only one citation for the entire passage, being O'Neill - he's the author who is describing the promotion as "well deserved". I'm not wed to "well deserved" remaining if it seems confusing so will leave it up to Bryce... Cheers, Ian Rose (talk) 23:17, 16 June 2009 (UTC)
I do not particularly mind either way if it does create confusion. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 07:58, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Support, but weakly for now. SteveT • C I was wavering between that and a very weak oppose, but this is a largely fine article that's well-researched and mostly well-written. A few prose bumps get in the way of an unequivocal support, but they're minor points and feel they shouldn't hold up promotion as long as they're taken care of:
"Promoted to rear admiral in 1959, he served as Flag Officer Commanding Australian Fleet from 1964 to 1965..." Judging from the article body and the succession box, "Flag Officer Commanding Australian Fleet" is deliberate and I assume the correct usage, but it does read very oddly for someone unfamiliar with the topic.
This was the name of the actual position (yes, I know it is oddly named ;-)). Sadly, there exists on article on the position as of yet, but it has been renamed a couple of times and is now known as Commander Australian Fleet. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
"Warramunga formed part of Australia's contribution to the United Nations forces engaged in the Korean War, and Becher was promoted to captain and awarded the Distinguished Service Order while carrying out operations in Korean waters." The repetition ("and ... and") is more or less OK, but would removing the first one and its preceding comma in favour of a semi-colon be the better option?
"He spent two years at Cerberus before, in March 1944, being given command of the Q class destroyer HMAS Quickmatch." The "in March 1944" is a possibly unnecessary speedbump. Would the sentence be any worse if it read, "He spent two years at Cerberus before being given command of the Q class destroyer HMAS Quickmatch in March 1944." Unsure.
"Becher was promoted to acting sub-lieutenant, the rank being made substantive the following March." The noun + -ing often reads oddly, as it does here. In this context, "being" is a gerund, so the possessive would usually be required, though here it would read even more oddly ("rank's being") and the better option is to rework the sentence to avoid it.
Inconsistent use of comma after "In [date]" introductions (e.g. "In September 1928, Becher"; "on 7 January 1935 Becher"). One or t'other, but remain consistent.
I typically use a comma, but some were changed or not used in the copy-edit. Will make consistant use of the comma. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps go through the article once more to look for redundant words and phrases. Example: "Becher married Valerie Chisholm Baird in a ceremony at St Michael's Anglican Church in Vaucluse, New South Wales; the couple would havethey had three sons." In this example, the first ("in a ceremony") is definitely implicit and can be removed safely. The second is more subjective; an argument could be made that "would have" is the most appropriate because it describes events in his life subsequent those that the section covers, though as his personal life isn't mentioned again until the last line of the article, the simpler wording feels sufficient.
"and HMA Ships Quickmatch, Kiama and Yandra were directed" Lowercase "s" on "ships"? Or is this common usage?
I think it is typically the capitalised "S". The ships' titles are HMAS (His/Her Majesty's Australian Ship), which is I formal title which warrents a proper noun. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Given different usages in the world's navies, the ranks used throughout the article could perhaps use more targeted wikilinking. For example, Commander#Royal Australian Navy rather than Commander, unless you feel the overview of the subject in the leads of these articles is necessary for context.
No problem with this; no doubt more informative then just the general link. :) There are some I cannot do this to however, but the ones I could I have. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
I am currently working on an article of McNicoll, which should be up soon. I do not know much about Scott-Moncrieff however, though I will see if I can find any sources. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
"Following his retirement, Becher accepted the position of Director-General of Recruiting for the Australian armed forces from 1966 until 1969; a period during which conscription was in effect." That's a fragment after the semi-colon; it should be able to stand as a complete grammatical sentence. Simply replacing the semi-colon with a comma might fix it.
Minister of Defence Allen Fairhall asked Becher to find enough volunteers to fill the armed forces, and although Becher believed that conscription eroded professional standards he found this task difficult, given that the military was "competing with industry, and the country was short of labour." Nope, I can't fathom what that "although" is doing there. It doesn't float, as there's no logical link between the two statements that would require it (he thought conscription eroded standards and he found the task difficult). You can probably lose the last comma too (before "and the country"), as it would resolve a very slight ambiguity.
"Survived by his wife and their three sons, he was cremated." There doesn't seem to be quite enough of a connection between the two statements. The survival of his wife and sons would fit more logically as part of the previous sentence about his death, though further rework might be required to avoid a stubby final sentence ("He was cremated"); perhaps see if you can find out where the disposal of his remains took place.
I have been looking for this per the request of another editor, but have found very little thus far. If I cannot find anything in the next few days I will remove the cremation mention. Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
That he was cremated is probably better in than out, even if you can't find any more information; otherwise, it'll beg the question, "He died... and then what?" SteveT • C 13:02, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Overall, nice work; attention to the above points (by amendment or rebuttal—I'm open to being wrong) would make it a worthy featured article. All the best, SteveT • C 10:48, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your thorough review; it is much appreciated. Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 00:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Struck "weak" part of support. Nice work. SteveT • C 13:02, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Support with one remaining issue: " The discussion became public knowledge, and led to suggestions of complicity." should really be changed. Complicity implies that he was complicit in the crash (which obviously is untrue), a more specific term like "a coverup" (if accurate) would be much more accurate and would be more elegant. Cool3 (talk) 03:37, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, mate, done. Two sources used "collusion", so I have instead replaced "complicity" with "conspiracy". Cheers, Abraham, B.S. (talk) 05:32, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
One more very small point. In "with HMAS Nizam for the Mediterranean Sea", Mediterranean Sea links to Battle of the Mediterranean. I believe this violates the guideline on piped links. Not sure quite how you want to fix it, but I think the sentence should be changed to make things a bit more clear; you miss the fact that there was a battle going on if you don't click the link. Cool3 (talk) 18:55, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Support This article meets the FA criteria, though it would be good if there was some information on what his role on Sydney was. Nick-D (talk) 07:58, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Dabs; please check the disambiguation links identified in the toolbox. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 18:51, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. The one remaining—gunnery—doesn't have an appropriate article that defines the term in the context used. The meaning is likely clear enough without the link, but if the nominator feels one is necessary, perhaps its Wiktionary page would be appropriate? Alternatively, something could be added to the gun or Naval artillery articles to make those a relevant link target, a completely new page could be written for the term, or the disambiguation page could be tweaked to make it clear that the term can refer to the science of guns and gunfire. SteveT • C 19:49, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
I tend to think an interwiki to wiktionary would be best. To those unfamiliar with the term, I can see it being slightly confusing, and as Steve said links to either gun or Naval artillery leave a little something to be desired. Cool3 (talk) 19:58, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this page.