BANGALORE: He missed his 87th birthday by a whisker. His friends and family were hoping to hear Admiral Dawson play Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ and Jim Reeves’ ‘Danny Boy’ on his piano, next month. The Admiral would have played host to his friends — cracking jokes, sharing sea-time stories and sipping on his favourite scotch.
But the birthday boy started a new voyage on Sunday - to a destination longer than the sea he dated. Orphaned with his demise are three pianos and a 1961 model Austin Cambridge car he brought from England.
Admiral Dawson who scripted the ‘Blue Water Navy’ concept so that his men could undertake deep sea missions, was a simple man. He was also responsible for setting up the Karwar Seabird Project (INS Kadamba) in Karnataka and the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala in Kerala. He personally flew over Ezhimala in the late 70s to finalise the land for INA. His close friend B G Koshi, a businessman, shared an interesting story. “While he was the ADC to late president Rajendra Prasad, serving liquor was banned in the Rashtrapathi Bhawan. The president’s order was to drink milk, instead. The Admiral requested the president to allow him to have the milk of human-kind and drove straight to the naval mess,” recalls Koshi.
He shared a very special relationship with his sister Thelma Dawson. The Admiral was a bachelor and it was mandatory to have a lady hostess when he became the Navy Chief. “He dated the sea and didn’t want to get married. He felt he will be unjust to the girl he marries, as he will be on the ship all the time. The sea was his passion. We will miss all his jokes and music,” says Thelma.
Last birthday, the Admiral expressed doubts of being around to celebrate another one.