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Former Vice-Chief of Naval Staff passes away at 96

Vice-Admiral Melville Raymond Schunker joined the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1943, and after World War II, he was selected for a permanent commission in the Royal Indian Navy

The former serviceman joined the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RINVR) as a midshipman in November 1943. (Wikimedia Commons)

Former Vice-Chief of Naval Staff Vice-Admiral Melville Raymond Schunker, known by his nickname Dick Schunker, passed away at Manipal Hospital in Goa on Monday morning. He was 96 and had been battling age-related ailments for a year.

Vice-Admiral Schunker served the navy and the coast guard since 1943. He served as the sixth Vice-Chief of Naval Staff from 1980 to 1982. Vice-Admiral Schunker was the third Director General of the Indian Coast Guard from 1982 to 1984.

Recipient of the Param Vashist Seva Medal and the Ati Vashisht Seva Medal, he also served as the Flag Officer Commanding-in- Chief of the Eastern Naval Command in 1978. He was also the commissioning commanding officer of the Indian Navy’s only submarine tender ship, INS Amba (A54).

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Vice-Admiral Shunker’s son, Colin Schunker, said in a message: “He was an amazing man who dedicated his life to the service of his country. He was steadfast and resolute in his beliefs and lived his life to the highest principles.”

The former serviceman joined the Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RINVR) as a midshipman in November 1943. After the World War II, he was selected for a permanent commission in the Royal Indian Navy. He began his career in March 1947.

Vice-Admiral Shunker was described in a 2015 edition of Quarterdeck, the Navy Foundation magazine, as a “tough” and “no-nonsense” individual. While some naval officers also remember him as “very strict”, others called him “a pioneer and builder of our Navy”. After retirement, he moved to Goa with his wife, Anne, and they lived in the Defence Colony in Porvorim.

Besides his son, the former navy officer is survived by his daughter, Donna Suares, and son-in-law, Commander Keith Suares. A ceremonial funeral will be held at the Holy Family Church in Porvorim on Tuesday.

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