Commemorating service with music

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Adam Grover (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Kings Park, Perth, WA

Topic(s): Royal Australian Navy Band, National Reconciliation Week, Commemoration

Leading Seaman Musician Nigel Barrett plays the last post during the Indigenous Veterans Commemoration Service at the Flame of Remembrance, State War Memorial in Kings Park. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Leading Seaman Musician Nigel Barrett plays the last post during the Indigenous Veterans Commemoration Service at the Flame of Remembrance, State War Memorial in Kings Park.

Leading Seaman Musician Nigel Barrett believes he has one of the best jobs in the band, and maybe the entire Navy.

Leading Seaman Barrett recently used his talents in support of the Indigenous Veterans Commemoration Service, at the Flame of Remembrance, Kings Park, Western Australia, during National Reconciliation Week.

“It is always an honour to represent the Royal Australian Navy as a bugler and I get to do this at such a wide variety of services,” he said.

Leading Seaman Barrett joined the Band as a reservist when he left school, encouraged by his school Music Director, retired Royal Australian Navy Band Officer, Lieutenant Kevin Foale.

In his civilian career Leading Seaman, Barrett is the Manager Corporate Services for Ngala, a provider of early parenting and early childhood services in Western Australia. Ngala also recognises and honours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as Australia’s First Peoples and is committed to the spirit and the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

“While some services are more emotional than others, especially funerals, this was certainly a poignant commemoration,” he said.

“As Ngala also participated in this service it was a wonderful opportunity.”

Leading Seaman Barrett said he was honoured to continue the tradition that involved Navy buglers contributing an important part of commemorative services.

“I have developed an interest in Navy history and get to participate regularly in remembering our past and current service men and women,” he said.

“I especially enjoy hearing the amazing personal stories linked to these commemorations, while more emotive, it is always an honour to play for service personnel funerals.

“At a recent funeral for a Second World War sailor, the family told a story of an injured young sailor who discharged himself early from hospital, to get back to his ship before they set sail for further engagement.

“The commitment and dedication he displayed to his shipmates and the Navy followed him his entire life with every speaker commenting on his unwavering love, commitment and dedication to family, friends and old shipmates.”

Leading Seaman Barrett performs on a Navy ceremonial bugle dedicated to bandsman Percy Ernest Vincent Melandri (1900-1941) who joined the Australian Navy in 1918. Bandsman Melandri served in HMAS Sydney (II) and lost his life along with all his shipmates with her sinking on 19 November 1941.

“While I get to play at many special memorials, from HMAS Nizam's in Augusta to the State War Memorial in Kings Park, I have a special connection with the HMAS Sydney (II) memorial in Geraldton.

“The Navy has given me wonderful opportunities and I am always honoured to be part of these important commemorations.”

Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery:
https://images.defence.gov.au/S20161277.