Despite being keen to commence her Middle East mission, as HMAS Warramunga departed for her deployment recently the crew took a special moment on the flight deck to commit the ashes of Able Seaman Douglas Reginald Phillips to the sea.
His grandson, Leading Seaman Marine Technician James Phillips, a member of Warramunga’s crew, was able to scatter his ashes. He died on 25 November 2016, aged 92 and the Phillips family has a strong Naval heritage of which his grandson is very proud.
“I am a fourth generation sailor and it is an honour and privilege to commit my grandfather’s ashes to the sea,” Leading Seaman Phillips said.
Douglas Phillips joined the Royal Australian Navy on 2 May 1941, qualified as a gunnery rating and server in N-class destroyers HMA Ships Nepal and Napier during the Second World War. His main role was to man the 4.7 inch guns.
He was demobilised on 20 March 1946 from where he joined the South Australian Mines Department as a driller, including being responsible for drilling the test bore holes at proposed locations of the Port Augusta Power Station and Adelaide airport.
“It is very fitting for any former sailor or officer to be scattered at sea, and especially where there is a family member present,” Chaplain Hutchison said.
“It is a very moving moment laying to rest one our own.”
During his service Able Seaman Phillips was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the War Medal 1939-45 and the Australian Service Medal 1939-1945.
Warramunga’s Chaplain, Stephen Hutchison, conducted the ceremony while Ship’s Warrant Officer Luke McNally read out Able Seaman Phillips’s service history, and Executive Officer Lieutenant Commander Warren Bechly presented the Australian National Flag to Leading Seaman Phillips.
As ship’s company were at attention with caps off, the chaplain committed his ashes to the winds of heaven and the depths of the sea.