On 6 August off the NSW coast, HMAS Parramatta gathered as a ship to honour and farewell a legend of the past - Harold Moss and his wife Pearl. It was their wish that their ashes be scattered together at sea from the Parramatta and it was the ship's privilege to carry out those wishes with dignity.
Harold’s story is remarkable. He was a young Ordinary Seaman who survived the sinking of HMAS Parramatta (II) when she was torpedoed by the German U-Boat 559, of the coast of Libya on the 27th of November 1941 while she was supporting Allied forces in Tobruk. He was one of 24 who survived, sadly 138 young Australians did not.
Harold was a personal link with history, he and his fellow Parramatta (II) survivors, Frank Davidson, Bill Wood and Ted Fryer, were the Special Guests of Honour at the commissioning of today's Parramatta (IV) in Sydney on the 4 of October 2003. A special part of the ceremony was when Harold, Frank, Bill and Ted passed the first four caps bearing the tally band of HMAS Parramatta to four of Parramatta's Junior Sailors to wear onboard the newly commissioned warship.
In the 11 years since commissioning Parramatta, the men and women of the ship, have achieved extraordinary things both here in Australia, and during their four operational deployments to the Middle East - inspired by the courage and humble achievements of Harold and his shipmates in Parramatta (II). The modern day Parramatta has also patrolled the same waters that Parramatta (II) did.
Leading Seaman Jennifer Langley said as the last of Parramatta (II)’s 24 survivors to pass away, Harold holds a special place in the memories and hearts of our Navy and the Parramatta family.
"It was a privilege to be part of the ceremony," she said.
Parramatta also saluted Pearl Moss, Harold’s wife. Pearl stood by him over the decades, she suffered the demands of service life, raised a family, supported her husband through unknown personal trials and memories of the past.
Leading Seaman Geoffrey Herman said like Harold, we could not do the things we do as a Navy without the love and support of those we leave at home.
"Ours is a unique way of life and we all know the demands that places on our loved ones," he said.
Harold and Pearl thought of the Navy as their ‘other family’, and we are proud that the Navy was, and are, still associated with them. They will live on in Parramatta's heritage and will always be remembered. Lest we forget.