South Pacific setting for Change of Command ceremony

Published on LCDR Dave Knight (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): Honiara, Solomon Islands

Incoming Commanding Officer (CO) HMAS Parramatta, Commander (CMDR) Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN (left) is handed a telescope to signify the passing of the 'Weight' by outgoing CO HMAS Parramatta, CMDR Simon Cannell, RAN during the handover ceremony in front of the ships company on the flight deck. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Incoming Commanding Officer (CO) HMAS Parramatta, Commander (CMDR) Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN (left) is handed a telescope to signify the passing of the 'Weight' by outgoing CO HMAS Parramatta, CMDR Simon Cannell, RAN during the handover ceremony in front of the ships company on the flight deck.

Friday 11th July saw Commander Simon Cannell, RAN hand over command of the Anzac Class Frigate HMAS Parramatta to Commander Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN.

The handover ceremony took place on Parramatta’s flight deck, whilst the ship was berthed at Honiara in the Solomon Islands. The handing over of the ‘weight’ - in this case the telescope from HMAS Parramatta (II) – to Commander Willis was witnessed by members of ship’s company and staff from the Australian High Commission.

"Parramatta has conducted several operational deployments during my time as Commanding Officer and I believe we have made valuable contribution to Defence.

"I have been privileged, and honoured to serve with a crew who live and work to the Navy values. I wish the crew and Commander Willis the best for the future and the rest of the deployment," Commander Cannell said.

Commander Simon Cannell, RAN leaves the gangway of HMAS Parramatta after handing over command of the ship to Commander Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN.

Commander Simon Cannell, RAN leaves the gangway of HMAS Parramatta after handing over command of the ship to Commander Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN.

During his tenue of Commanding Officer, Parramatta conducted exercises including Exercise AUSTHAI, Exercise BERSAMA LIMA and was involved in the International Fleet Review in October 2013.  Parramatta has also conducted four Operation RESOLUTE deployments, with the last over the Christmas period.

In conjunction with the busy operational tempo, Parramatta was awarded the OTRANTO Shield, for the most consistent gunnery and surface to air missile results during 2013.

"I have been proud to say I have served with the officers and sailors of Parramatta. The professional conduct of the crew during the various exercises we were tasked with has been outstanding. The work the ship has done in support of Operation RESOLUTE has been second to none," Commander Cannell said.

Commander Cannell had the 'side piped' for him one last time as he stepped across the gangway, and received cheers from ship's company as he departed.

Commander Simon Cannell, RAN is given a cheer ship as farewell by the entire crew of of HMAS Parramatta after handing over command of the ship to Commander Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN.

Commander Simon Cannell, RAN is given a cheer ship as farewell by the entire crew of of HMAS Parramatta after handing over command of the ship to Commander Andrew Willis, MVO, RAN.

Commander Willis has undertaken postings in Parramatta, on two different occasions prior to assuming Command, firstly as part of Parramatta’s commissioning crew where he was the Operations Officer in 2003-2004, and as the Executive Officer 2008-2009.

"I look forward to working with the men and women of Parramatta. I am fortunate enough to have a long history with Parramatta, as I have served as the commissioning Operations Officer and Executive Officer prior to being selected for Command," Commander Willis said.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20142040.