Navy team provides royal service

Published on LEUT Des Paroz (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Kuttabul, HMAS Watson, HMAS Choules (L100), Australia's Federation Guard

Leading from the front, Maritime Logistics Steward Petty Officer Amy Fitzpatrick, alongside staff of HMAS Kuttabul's wardroom, from left, Able Seaman Langford, Able Seaman Shepherd, Petty Officer Fitzpatrick, Seaman Crooks, Able Seaman Clifford. (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
Leading from the front, Maritime Logistics Steward Petty Officer Amy Fitzpatrick, alongside staff of HMAS Kuttabul's wardroom, from left, Able Seaman Langford, Able Seaman Shepherd, Petty Officer Fitzpatrick, Seaman Crooks, Able Seaman Clifford.

When the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited Australia recently, members of the Royal Australian Navy in Sydney and Canberra stepped up to serve the Royal family.

Stewards and Chefs selected from HMA Ships Watson, Kuttabul, Choules and Australia’s Federation Guard were called on to provide three meals a day, as well as morning and afternoon teas, at Admiralty House in Sydney and Government House in Canberra.

The Navy Contingent Commander, Petty Officer (PO) Amy Fitzpatrick, led the 12 sailors in each location as they worked sixteen hours a day for the two weeks to serve the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and their entourage.

“It was certainly busy and tiring, but it was so worth it.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to start and finish a day than with a Royal greeting,” PO Fitzpatrick said.

A key milestone for the team was the official function hosted at Government House by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK, MC (Ret’d).

This event was attended by 140 guests, including Australia’s three serving Victoria Cross recipients and host of luminaries and quiet achievers from the arts, business, charity, conservation and sporting communities.

Away from the spotlight, the Navy team was inspired by the approachable and personable natures of the Royal couple.

“I valued the moments I had walking around the grounds of Admiralty House with the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George,” said Petty Officer Fitzpatrick.

“Away from the public and the media, the Duke and Duchess could relax and be down-to-earth.

“They even managed to escape the media and go for an afternoon run, showing a personal commitment to fitness that all Navy people would respect.”

The Navy team also enjoyed their interactions with the Royal couple’s personal staff, forming lasting bonds and friendships.

The Royal visit to Australia concluded on Anzac Day, with the Duke and Duchess attending the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial.

The Navy team was honoured to be invited to join the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the Gunfire Breakfast, which was a fitting conclusion and thanks for a job well done by the Royal Australian Navy’s Maritime Logistics team.