In the close-knit world of Naval Aviation, April 2 is a sombre day for many personnel as they remember and reflect on the loss of nine Australian Defence Force personnel who died when Sea King helicopter ‘Shark 02’ crashed while on a humanitarian support mission on the Indonesian island of Nias in 2005.
A service is usually held on this day at a memorial located outside the Albatross Chapel.
The memorial’s location in the home of Navy’s Fleet Air Arm serves as a tangible reminder of Navy’s history of service and sacrifice.
The memorial also has an enduring connection with the Shark 02 families who were involved in every stage from design to construction, when the memorial was refurbished and rededicated in 2014.
Due to current physical distancing requirements, personnel and family were unable to gather for the service this year, however Chaplain Steve Estherby conducted a private memorial ceremony, which has been uploaded to social media platforms. This can be viewed at: https://vimeo.com/403158509.
“This year is the 15th anniversary of this tragedy and while I deeply regret that we were not able to conduct a public memorial service, I’m pleased we found a way to mark this important event and remember those who died and their loved ones are important to the wider Navy family.” Chaplain Estherby said.
In a sombre and solitary moment, which reflected a wider loss still keenly felt by many personnel, HMAS Albatross’ Executive Officer Commander Nigel Rowan placed a wreath at the memorial on behalf of all those who could not be there.
“This is a place of profound memories,” Commander Rowan said.
“Many still carry the loss of their friends and colleagues in their hearts and minds.
“While we were unable to assemble as a group to share that loss, I know many others will also be thinking of them today,” he said.
Chaplain Estherby concluded his address by saying, “We remember them so that we do not forget what they have shown us. Faithful service and sacrifice for others. We need their example in the midst of the current crisis and we stand on their shoulders.”
The Royal Australian Navy remembers all nine members of the Australian Defence Force who lost their lives in the Shark 02 helicopter incident. They were:
Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy
Lieutenant Matthew Davey
Lieutenant Jonathan King
Lieutenant Paul Kimlin
Lieutenant Matthew Goodall
Flight Lieutenant Lynne Rowbottom
Petty Officer Stephen Slattery
Sergeant Wendy Jones
Leading Seaman Scott Bennet
Lest We Forget
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery: https://images.navy.gov.au/S20201348.