The crew of Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS Waller have a special relationship with a United Kingdom family that is now enshrined in an annual award for excellence.
On 27 August 2013, the crew of HMAS Waller committed the ashes of the late Mr Eric (Ric) Ellam to the sea, upon request from his family as a fitting tribute to a diverse career for a Royal Navy Submariner.
In order to maintain the established relationship between the Ellams and Waller, the Ellam family provided a perpetual award to be presented annually to a crew member of Waller. The award is for the crew member who has provided an outstanding contribution to HMAS Waller over the previous year.
The initial presentation was conducted by Ric's wife, Mrs Olwen Ellam, whilst on a visit from the United Kingdom. In attendance were local family members and friends of the Ellam family. The event was held during a social gathering involving guests and Waller crew members at HMAS Stirling, Rockingham, Western Australia.
Commander Gareth Marjoram assisted in the presentation of the award.
“The process of selecting the recipient for this award is more difficult than we originally anticipated," he said.
“A significant number of the team are deserving of this award and all have worked very hard, along with other agencies in the enterprise, towards getting Waller back to sea,” Commander Marjoram said.
Chief Petty Officer Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submarines Gregory Thomms was the initial recipient after excelling in his position of Chief of the Boat, and was judged to have made the most significant contribution to maintaining the esprit de corps of Waller.