At the end of each day, as the sun goes down over Canberra, the Last Post is played and the story of one of the fallen 102,000 Australians who have given their lives on Australian military operations is read by a current serving member of the Australian Defence Force.
Today, just after 4:55pm AEST, Chief Petty Officer Ben Sime, himself a Medal for Gallantry recipient, will have the honour of sharing the story of Leading Aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp, who was a member of the Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Flight Vietnam.
Leading Seaman Shipp is remembered for determinedly engaging the enemy under heavy fire, while hanging out the door of his aircraft, with his M60 machine gun. Exposed to heavy automatic fire, the helicopter crash landed and Leading Seaman Shipp was seen to continue firing at the enemy right until the moment of impact.
On 12 September 2012, the Royal Australian Navy made sure that Leading Aircrewman Shipp’s sacrifice would inspire future generations of sailors, when it named a Division of the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus after him.
“The examples that this man set will inspire new recruits as they pass through the divisional system at HMAS Cerberus,” Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, said at the time.
Chief Petty Officer Sime said he was looking forward to reading Leading Aircrewman Shipp’s story at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post Ceremony this evening.
“I am honoured and humbled to lead the remembrance on what I believe to be the 45th anniversary of Leading Seaman Shipp’s passing in Vietnam,” Chief Petty Officer Sime said.
The Last Post Ceremony takes place each day beside the Australian War Memorial’s Pool of Reflection. Members of the public are welcome to attend the event and pay respect to those who made the greatest sacrifice for their nation.
If you are not in Canberra, but wish to observe tonight’s Last Post Ceremony, you can do so via live video stream from the Australian War Memorial’s website at http://live.awm.gov.au
Information about Chief Petty Officer Ben Sime, and the actions that earned him the Medal for Gallantry, can be found at: http://www.navy.gov.au/biography/chief-petty-officer-benjamin-sime.