Newcastle’s crew called to the Captain’s table

Published on WO Phil Smith (author), POEW Ben White (photographer)

Topic(s): Charities, Fundraising & Community, HMAS Newcastle (F06)

(L-R) Sub Lieutenant Samuel Curtis, Able Seaman Electronic Technician Paul Nurzenski, Able Seaman Cryptologic Linguist Alix Smith, Lieutenant Commander Stuart Muller (Executive Officer) and Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Julianne Cocks enjoy receiving their meal of lobster from the Executive Officer. (photo: POEW Ben White)
(L-R) Sub Lieutenant Samuel Curtis, Able Seaman Electronic Technician Paul Nurzenski, Able Seaman Cryptologic Linguist Alix Smith, Lieutenant Commander Stuart Muller (Executive Officer) and Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Julianne Cocks enjoy receiving their meal of lobster from the Executive Officer.

In the middle of the Indian Ocean and a long way from the usual dinner queue, four lucky members of HMAS Newcastle’s ship’s company enjoyed a sumptuous lobster dinner in the Commanding Officer’s (CO) cabin.

The delectable prize was won through a silent auction, as a fundraising activity to support the ship’s charity, The Hunter Orthopaedic School.

As if being served mouth-watering lobster in the Captain’s cabin was not enough, dinner was made all the more enticing to the winners with service by their Heads of Department (HOD) ‘would-be waiters’. 

At the end of the auction, Sub Lieutenant Samuel Curtis, Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician (CPOMT) Julianne Cocks, Able Seaman Electronic Technician (ABET) Paul Nurzenski, and Able Seaman Cryptologic Linguist (ABCTL) Alix Smith came up trumps.

“The food was fantastic. I was really surprised how good it was and I was keen to have dinner in the CO’s Stateroom, as I had never visited the CO’s cabin before. I felt the whole event was worthwhile as the main aim was to raise money for a worthy cause,” ABET Nurzenski said.

“Having dinner with all ranks was interesting, because I would normally not eat with Officers, Chiefs and sailors from a totally different category.

“A bonus was to see the WEEO, my Head of Department, and the XO act as stewards and wait on us. I don’t think they should give up their day job though, as they would probably get poor tips if they became waiters.”

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Luke Miller, the ship’s Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer (WEEO), embraced his role as ‘waiter’ and said raising money for Newcastle’s charity was just one of the benefits of holding the Auction.

“The Ship’s Warrant Officer was responsible for organising this event and lashing up the HODs.

“In all honesty, it provided a welcome distraction from being at sea for such a long period of time and allowed us to hop out of DPNUs for a short while and dress in Red Sea Rig – something that I think many of the more junior crew have never witnessed,” LCDR Miller said.  

The sumptuous feast was cooked by Newcastle’s chefs, the current holders of the MFU Silver Platter Award. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and gave the galley staff an opportunity to achieve new competencies.

The lobster dinner raised a tidy $600 and Newcastle will continue to fundraise throughout her six-month deployment to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO). The current tally sits at more than $1600 and rising quickly.

Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20130583.