Rear Admiral Douglas Domett joined the Royal New Zealand Navy as a special entry cadet in mid 1950, setting sail for the United Kingdom upon passing his exams onboard the New Zealand Shipping Company vessel RANGITIKI. He undertook training at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth and in the cruiser HMS DEVONSHIRE. He was then sent to the submarine depot ship HMS FORTH which at that time was in Greece during September of 1951, to complete midshipman training. In early 1953 Domett was sent to the Royal Naval College at Greenwich to do his Sub Lieutenants’ courses after which he returned to New Zealand arriving in late 1954. After a few months in the shore establishment HMNZS PHILOMEL he was posted briefly to the cruiser HMNZS BLACK PRINCE followed by just over a year in the frigate HMNZS PUKAKI at which time he was promoted to Lieutenant. Sea time in the frigates HMNZS HAWEA and HMNZS ROTOITI followed. By August of 1957 Domett was posted to the Antarctic supply ship HMNZS ENDEAVOUR for that ship’s second voyage to Antarctica to provide support for the Fuch/Hillary trans polar expedition.
In 1959 Domett returned to the United Kingdom on a Royal Navy/RNZN exchange to specialise in navigation at HMS DRYAD. He was posted as the Navigation Officer to the frigate HMS LOCK RUTHVEN which was at that time was serving in the Persian Gulf. He was in the area during the 1960’s threatened attack of Kuwait by Iraq. Domett also qualified as a navigator during his period in the United Kingdom.
By 1963 Domett had returned to New Zealand and was posted to the frigate HMNZS OTAGO where he remained until late 1964 when he ran the navigation school in HMNZS PHILOMEL. In October of the following year Domett was posted back to HMNZS OTAGO as Eexecutive Officer, followed by time on the staff of the Commodore Auckland and as Deputy Director of Service Intelligence in Defence Headquarters in Wellington. A posting to the United States followed in 1970 when Domett became the naval attaché on the New Zealand Defence staff in Washington.
In 1972 he returned once more to New Zealand and was given the command of the frigate HMNZS WAIKATO, followed by the command of the frigate HMNZS CANTERBURY briefly in 1974. Domett then came ashore, taking on the role of Chief of Staff to the Commodore Auckland. After his promotion to Captain he then spent a considerable period of time back in Wellington once more on Defence Staff.
In 1980 Domett was sent once again to the United Kingdom, this time to attend a course at the Royal College of Defence Studies in London. He was promoted to Commodore in 1981 and subsequently returned to New Zealand as the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. He served as Chief of Naval Staff from May 1987 – May 1989.
Douglas Domett retired from the RNZN in May 1989 having attained the rank of Rear Admiral.