Rankin commits ashes to sea

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Gary McHugh (author), LSIS Richard Cordell (photographer), ABET Grahame Kelaher (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Rankin (S78), Commitment of Ashes Ceremony

HMAS Rankin's crew on the submarine's casing for the committal at sea ceremony for Leading Seaman Auxiliary Technician Alfred John James Meek, Chief Petty Officer Patrick Brian John Toogood and Able Seaman Patrick Anthony Robert Heffernan in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. (photo: ABET Grahame Kelaher)
HMAS Rankin's crew on the submarine's casing for the committal at sea ceremony for Leading Seaman Auxiliary Technician Alfred John James Meek, Chief Petty Officer Patrick Brian John Toogood and Able Seaman Patrick Anthony Robert Heffernan in Cockburn Sound, Western Australia.

Members from HMAS Rankin, the Collins Class submarine based in Western Australia, recently conducted the scattering of ashes of three former Royal Navy submariners.

The occasion, called a Committal of Ashes to the Sea (COATS) ceremony was carried out under a reciprocal arrangement that the Royal Australian Navy has with the Royal Navy. Submariners are a very close knit community and it is regarded as an honour for current serving members to oversee such a solemn occasion as a COATS ceremony.

Presided over by Chaplain Franco Siani, the ceremonies were conducted during Rankin’s transit of Cockburn Sound, Western Australia.

The three former RN submariners remembered were Chief Petty Officer Patrick Toogood, Leading Seaman Alfred Meek and Able Seaman Patrick Heffernan. 

Chief Petty Officer Toogood served as an Engine Room Artificer in a number of RN submarines, including HMS Scorcher and Grampus, while Leading Seaman Meek, an Auxiliary Technician, served in HMS Cyclops.

Able Seaman Heffernan, who was best friends with CPO Toogood, served in HMS TalentAdamant and Ambush

All three men immigrated to Australia on completion of their naval careers.