Described in 1918 as a ‘clever, silent well-informed man’, Captain Walter Hugh Charles Samuel Thring was an inveterate inventor and prolific writer, with particular interests in Pacific affairs, the history of trade routes and the technology of naval warfare. Thring’s conduct in entering the fume-filled compartment to prevent a further explosion received written praise from the Admiralty. An accomplished draughtsman and engineer, in 1902 he also designed one of the first ‘rate of change of range’ instruments to be used at sea. Thring’s naval association might thus have ended, but in August 1912 the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board began searching for a senior lieutenant for an appointment as Assistant to the First Naval Member, Rear Admiral W. R. Creswell. Thring might deal diligently with the practical problems of running wartime navy, yet he could do little to improve the inadequate communication between defence agencies.