Mail brings big smiles to Newcastle's crew

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Sarah West (author and photographer)

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, HMAS Melbourne (F05)

(L-R) AB Laura Johnson. LS Chantelle Hughes and LEUT Meghann Walker sorting mail which was received when the ship was at anchor in Djibouti Harbour. (photo: LEUT Sarah West)
(L-R) AB Laura Johnson. LS Chantelle Hughes and LEUT Meghann Walker sorting mail which was received when the ship was at anchor in Djibouti Harbour.

Lollies, home-made biscuits, magazines and photographs of loved ones were just some of the things that made the crew of HMAS Newcastle smile, when the ship received 460 kilograms of mail in July.

The mail was delivered in 35 large Australia Post mailbags while the ship was at anchor in Djibouti Harbour.

Spirits soared amongst the ship's company as the delivery tug approached with the mailbags onboard.

“Everyone gets really excited to see what they have been sent,” Leading Seaman (LS) Chantelle Hughes said.

“This is the third time that we have received mail since we deployed to the gulf and every delivery has lifted morale substantially,” she said.

LEUT Kate Moncrieff helping out with the mail sorting while the ship was at anchor in Djibouti Harbour.

LEUT Kate Moncrieff helping out with the mail sorting while the ship was at anchor in Djibouti Harbour.

There's a festive spirit when care packages from loved ones are distributed throughout the ship, in a scene that’s comparable to Christmas.

“It’s really interesting to see the things people get in the mail,” LS Hughes said.

“One girl received a whole box of cheese ‘n’ bacon balls. That's all she ever gets and it makes her really happy. Most people are just happy to get things that remind them of home.”

LS Georgina Herdmun said she received Anzac biscuits, lovingly baked for her by her Mum.

“I have been waiting for these,” LS Herdmun said.

“I was also lucky enough to get a belated birthday present too!”

Along with letters and parcels from family and friends, the ship's company also receives a variety of magazines and newspapers in each mail delivery to help keep them up to date with events in Australia.

“We expect to get another two deliveries of mail before we set sail for home,” LS Hughes said.

Newcastle also took on some fresh food and stores while at anchor in Djibouti harbour, before sailing off to continue her maritime security mission.

Newcastle is in the Middle East Area of Operations assigned to Operation SLIPPER - the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime security and engagement. The deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the MEAO since 1990.

Newcastle is due to complete her six month deployment in October.