HMAS Gascoyne’s ship’s company paused during passage of the Whitsunday Islands to commemorate Remembrance Day 2013.
Ship’s company assembled on the Sweep Deck of the Huon Class Minehunter for the Call to Commemoration read by SBLT Clodagh O’Neill. On completion, the Chief of the Boat, CPO Clearance Diver, Christopher Wright recited the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ written in 1915 by Canadian Doctor LTCOL John McCrae.
CPO Wright related an example of supreme sacrifice with a special mention of the Australian soldiers who have been killed in action in recent times and asked all assembled to remember those who have fallen in service to Australia.
With the Australian White Ensign flying in the background, the Navigating Officer LEUT Michael Gordon read the remembrance prayer which was followed a commemorative address by Commanding Officer LCDR Aaron Cox.
“Nine-five years ago today, the guns on the Western Front fell silent. The Great War, the war to end all wars was over with the signing of the Armistice” said LCDR Cox.
He went on to tell of the early actions of the war of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and how ships that only sailed into Sydney Harbour the year before, had assembled near Rabaul in modern day Papua New Guinea, hoping to find Admiral von Spee’s German Far Eastern Fleet.
“Just four days after the announcement of war being declared, the RAN’s first ever order for action, Operational Order No. 1 said in part: ‘the intention is to attack with torpedoes any ships which are there and to destroy the wireless station’,” sail LCDR Cox.
At 1100, the Last Post was played, the Australian White Ensign lowered to half-mast and ship’s company paid one minutes silence to remember. At Reveille and full masting of the Ensign, ABML-C Cameron Acreman recited ‘Ode to the Fallen’.
Sailing under a blue sky in the crystal clear waters of the Whitsunday Islands, the men and women in Gascoyne felt they could not have been more physically removed from the sacrifices and hardships of the men and women of the wars and conflicts they had gathered to honour.