HMAS Albatross has extensive Anzac Day commitments throughout the Shoalhaven every year and in 2013, the base provided 25 catafalque parties and 250 personnel for services stretching from the coastal towns of Kiama to Ulladulla, and as far west as Holbrook.
Of all the ceremonies that were conducted this year, Jamberoo was perhaps the most memorable for Petty Officer Mark “Pops” Lamont, the man responsible for coordinating Albatross' Anzac Day activities.
“It wasn’t just pouring that morning,” PO Lamont recalled, “It was torrential and constant the whole time that we were in position. The rain was so bad that the 200 people attending had to move indoors while the Catafalque party remained in place.”
PO Lamont said that while the Catafalque Party was drenched the appreciation of the crowd was heart warming.
“I will always remember the standing ovation we received as we marched off to retire and the thanks we received once we were inside the RSL hall,” he said.
Members of the Kiama/Jamberoo RSL were so appreciative of the dedication and commitment of PO Lamont’s team that they visited Albatross this week to present the Catafalque Party with a certificate of thanks.
“I have been in the Navy 18 years and doing this sort of thing for most of it," PO Lamont said. "Their appreciation on the day was thanks enough, so this certificate came as a complete but wonderful shock.”
“I work very hard to make sure that any service that I train for is special in every way, making sure the members doing the service are dressed correctly on the day and nothing is out of place.”
“To have the RSL thank us personally is a great honour, and shows that we, as sailors representing HMAS Albatross, are living the Navy Values and doing the Australian Defence Force proud.”
PO Lamont said he looks forward to every April 25th.
“My favourite thing would have to be the joy that I see in the old fellas, as they form up, ready to step off. The friendly banter that they still have with one another and the mateship you see is still there after all these years.”
“I always try to hang around after a service and shake hands with them and engage in small talk. What they don’t realise is that it’s about me thanking them as much as them thanking me. The jubilation they show after a service, that’s what it’s about and that’s what makes it special to me,” PO Lamont said.