(1904-08-13)13 august 1904 wentworth falls, new south wales
9 february 1988(1988-02-09) (aged 83) canberra, australian capital territory
royal australian navy
years of service
hmas norman (1941–43) hmas bataan (1945–46) 10th destroyer flotilla (1946) hmas australia (1948–49) hmas vengeance (1953–54) hm australian fleet (1955–56, 1958) chief of the naval staff (1959–62)
spanish civil war world war ii
indian ocean theatre
battle of madagascar
knight commander of the order of the british empire companion of the order of the bath mentioned in despatches
vice admiralsir henry mackay burrell, kbe,cb (13 august 1904 – 9 february 1988) was a senior commander in the royal australian navy (ran). he served as chief of the naval staff (cns) from 1959 to 1962. born in the blue mountains, burrell entered the royal australian naval college in 1918 as a 13-year-old cadet. his first posting at sea was aboard the cruiser hmas sydney. during the 1920s and 1930s, burrell served for several years on exchange with the royal navy, specialising as a navigator. during world war ii, he filled a key liaison post with the us navy, and later saw action as commander of the destroyer hmas norman, earning a mention in despatches.
promoted captain in 1946, burrell played a major role in the formation of the ran's fleet air arm, before commanding the flagship hmas australia in 1948–49. he captained the light aircraft carrier hmas vengeance in 1953–54, and was twice flag officer of the australian fleet, in 1955–56 and 1958. burrell was appointed a commander of the order of the british empire in 1955 and a companion of the order of the bath in 1959. as cns, he began a major program of acquisitions for the navy, including new helicopters, minesweepers, submarines and guided-missile destroyers. he also acted to reverse a plan by the government of the day to dismantle the fleet air arm. knighted in 1960, burrell retired to his farm near canberra in 1962 and published his memoirs, mermaids do exist, in 1986. he died two years later, aged 83.