Ending on a high note

Published on CPL Bill Solomou (author), LS Nadav Harel (photographer)

Topic(s): Royal Australian Navy Band, Memorial Service

Commander Paul Cottier played the Last Post for the final time at the 75th commemorative service of the sinking of HMAS Armidale I at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. (photo: LS Nadav Harel)
Commander Paul Cottier played the Last Post for the final time at the 75th commemorative service of the sinking of HMAS Armidale I at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
A Navy musician has bookended his career with bugle calls, three and a half decades apart, from Seaman to Commander.
 
Commander Paul Cottier played the Last Post for the final time at the 75th commemorative service of the sinking of HMAS Armidale I on 1 December.
 
He took to the bugle as Royal Australian Navy personnel paused to mark the loss of 100 servicemen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
 
Commander Cottier joined the Navy in 1981 as a bugler and commissioned as an officer in 1996.
 
He was posted as the Officer Commanding and Music Director of the Royal Australian Navy Band Melbourne at HMAS Cerberus.
 
Commander Cottier said performing at the Australian War Memorial had been a great honour and ending his career at the service for HMAS Armidale was a moment he will never forget.
 
During his 36 years in the Royal Australian Navy, Commander Cottier worked in a number of postings before being appointed Director of Music - Navy in 2012.
 
“I was the ninth Director of Music in the 100 year history of the Royal Australian Navy Band, so it’s not like a lot of people have had that honour before.
 
“Here at the Australian War Memorial and being involved with the Centenary of Anzac has been a wonderful end to my career.
 
“I am extremely honoured and privileged to have been a part of the Royal Australian Navy and to have been involved with an organisation that is so professional.
 
“I often pinch myself to think what a wonderful opportunity I have had, and to find a job that I have loved,” he said.
 
After growing up in a house where his father’s passion was music, it was likely to play a large role in his life.
 
“My dad grew up in the era where jazz was played in most country halls.
 
“He played various instruments and was a member of the Casterton Vice-Regal Band.
 
“He gave me a cornet, and at age seven I joined the band.
 
“And the rest, well, that is now history,” he said.
 
Commander Cottier said he and his wife had a lot of travel booked for 2018.
 
“We have been married unaccompanied for the past six years, so it will be great to spend some more time together,” he said.