Ashes scattered from HMAS Darwin

This article has photo gallery Published on ABIS Sarah Williams (photographer)

Topic(s): HMAS Darwin (F04), Commitment of Ashes Ceremony

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Steward Stacey Butson (right) scatters the ashes of her grandfather, John Mortimer Butson, with the help of close friend, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Bonny Hood, on the flight deck of HMAS Darwin. (photo: Unknown)
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Steward Stacey Butson (right) scatters the ashes of her grandfather, John Mortimer Butson, with the help of close friend, Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Personnel Bonny Hood, on the flight deck of HMAS Darwin.

A sailor has honoured the memory of her grandfather, who served in the Navy during World War II (WWII), with the scattering of his ashes off the east coast of Tanzania from HMAS Darwin.

The ceremony was conducted on the flight deck of Darwin on 20 April, with the ship’s chaplain overseeing proceedings.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Steward Stacey Butson pays her final respects to her grandfather, John Mortimer Butson, after his ashes have been laid to rest in the sea from on board HMAS Darwin in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Steward Stacey Butson pays her final respects to her grandfather, John Mortimer Butson, after his ashes have been laid to rest in the sea from on board HMAS Darwin in the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Steward Stacey Butson said the ceremony “was very special and I felt honoured to be able to do this”.

Stacey’s grandfather, John Mortimer Butson, served in the Royal Australian Navy as a stoker from 1943 to 1945. For his wartime service, he was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the WWII medal and the Active Service Medal.

After he died in 2006, both her father and uncles were unsure what to do with the ashes. The answer presented itself when Stacey was posted to Darwin and was going to deploy to the Middle East.

“It is a proud moment for me being able to do this not only for my grandfather, but also for my family,” Stacey said.

Stacey is continuing a family history of navy service. Her great grandfather, Clyde Marshall Butson joined the Royal Australian Navy on 15 April 1913, as a stoker. He was on board HMAS Encounter when it sailed into Sydney Harbour as one of the seven ships commemorating the newly founded Royal Australian Navy on 4 October 1913. Clyde served on HMAS Australia (I) for five years, including during World War I.

Many of Darwin’s officers and sailors were present at the ashes-scattering ceremony at which the Commanding Officer, Commander Terence Morrison, read the Ode of Remembrance.

Chaplain Jason Wright, RAN welcomes attendees and reads a sentence of scripture, duing a scattering of ashes ceremony on the flight deck of HMAS Darwin.

Chaplain Jason Wright, RAN welcomes attendees and reads a sentence of scripture, duing a scattering of ashes ceremony on the flight deck of HMAS Darwin.