On a calm day in the North Arabian Ocean, the ship’s company of HMAS Melbourne paused at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of November to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence of Australia.
In the traditions of the Royal Australian Navy, the Captain and the youngest serving member shared their personal reflections on the day.
Commanding Officer Melbourne, Commander Bill Waters, shared the story of Leading Seaman Gunner Ronald 'Buck' Taylor, who was serving in HMAS Yarra when five Japanese warships intercepted the convoy she was escorting on 4 March 1942.
“At the age of 24, Taylor ignored the order to abandon ship and was killed by a direct hit to his gun while he was loading it and firing it himself,” he said.
“It’s times like these that we reflect on those who went before us, like Leading Seaman Taylor, and it reminds me of how important it is to acknowledge their sacrifice when we wear this uniform.
“The hardships that we endure in the modern navy, fade to insignificance with those that have been before us.
“We owe it to them to wear this uniform with pride as they did.
“And we owe them so much more.”
Seaman Combat Systems Operator Jasmine Hardwick said she was honoured to follow in the wake of so many selfless Australians.
“Many not only paid the ultimate sacrifice, but had to endure brutal horrors along their journey,” she said.
“We should not forget and as current serving members we should be proud to continue to protect Australia and the nation that they have fought so hard for.”
Imagery is available in the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20153220.