Peter Hohnen studied history and law at the Australian National University and was a partner in a prominent Canberra law firm for twenty years. A commander in the Royal Australian Naval Reserve for two decades, he was posted to Cambridge University in 1999 to study the law of the sea and the laws of armed conflict as a visiting fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. On his return to Australia he was awarded a Masters Degree in Law from ANU in 2002. He has been an independent legal consultant to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and has made several contributions to the Australian Dictionary of Biography. His great-uncle, Alexander Ross Ainsworth, was chief engineer aboard the steamship Matunga when it was captured by SMS Wolf in August 1917.