Row by row sailors, soldiers and officers took stock in the stillness of the pre-dawn onboard HMAS Choules' flight deck, to remember the bravery and the courage shown by the ANZACs.
Chaplain Kees Bosch led the ceremony after the catafalque party slowly marched and took position, heads bowed arms resting on weapons. He started with a prayer and a story of Jim Martin, a young Victorian boy who enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force in April 1915. The young man fought bravely at Anzac Cove as part of the 1st Reinforcement of the newly formed 21st Battalion. He suffered a great hardship in the battle and eventually died from heart failure on 26 October 1915 only six months after enlisting, and throughout extreme conditions he never complained and always wrote back to his family telling them not to worry, that he was okay.
“It gives me a great opportunity to promote something worthwhile, to keep the memory of the Anzacs alive, to remember the supreme sacrifice of those who have served our nation before us in time of war or peacekeeping operations,” Chaplain Bosch said.
Chief Petty Officer Electronics Technician Stephen Doughty is part of the engineering department onboard and a third generation engineer in Defence. His grandfather met his grandmother during the First World War at a dance, both working for the military. They married only a few months later. His grandfather received the American Bronze Star for his determination and efficiency and cheerfulness under difficult conditions. For Chief Petty Officer Doughty Anzac Day is a time to remember how his family have served this country.
"I am proud that they served and intrigued to learn more but unfortunately my grandfather died shortly after I joined the Navy," he said.
"I know that my grandfather went ashore on D-day and thereafter stayed in Europe until after the end of the war and beyond as part of the occupation forces in western Germany, where he was responsible for dis-arming thousands of German artillery pieces and other weapons.
"I also understand that he survived two ship sinkings (both torpedoed)."
HMAS Choules weighs 16,000 tonnes, is 176 metres long and is capable of carrying 356 troops (700 for an overloaded capacity), 23 Abrams tanks, 150 light trucks, landing craft, and various Army and Navy helicopters including the MRH90, Army’s Black Hawk and the Seahawk. She has 10 decks, and 20 flights of stairs from top to bottom.
Additional imagery is available at: http://images.navy.gov.au/S20151105.