Ian Pfennigwerth: LCDR Dr Sam Stening RAN

Posted on: Mon 23 Oct 2023

At the outbreak of World War II, Samuel Stening enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy. He served in the Indian Ocean and in the famous ‘Scrap Iron Flotilla’ in the Mediterranean where his ship, the Waterhen, was sunk in June 1941.  Sam was posted to HMAS Perth for the cruiser’s deployment to Java and her subsequent sinking in Sunda Strait on 1 March 1942.

Dr Sam Stening’s life story is certainly about the Royal Australian Navy at war, and about being a Japanese Prisoner of War.   It’s also about the early days of advancements in paediatrics in Australia and the triaging of premature babies – deciding who would live and who would not. 

Sam needed to rely on the strength of his wife and family to help readjust to civilian life.

This is the unabridged version of our interview with Ian Pfennigwerth about Dr Sam Stening

Main image: Ian Good Hands by Ian Pfennigwerth. Image provided by Ian Pfennigwerth, Nautilus Press

Lt Sam Stening R.A.N. 1942 AWM Copyright expired
HMAS PERTH AWM Copyright expired

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