Gascoyne remembers Leyte Gulf

Published on MIDN Nicholas Jansson (author), LSIS Paul McCallum (author)

Location(s): HMAS Waterhen, NSW

Able Seaman Ryan Jansse prepares to lower the Australian National Flag during sunset onboard HMAS Gascoyne (II). (photo: LSIS Paul McCallum)
Able Seaman Ryan Jansse prepares to lower the Australian National Flag during sunset onboard HMAS Gascoyne (II).

HMAS Gascoyne (II) commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf and involvement of HMAS Gascoyne (I) with a traditional Mess Dinner hosted by officers and senior sailors.

Commander Australian Fleet Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer and veterans of the original Gascoyne who served in the battle were invited, along with seven of the previous 11 Commanding Officers of Gascoyne (II).

Attendees travelled from far and wide for the evening.

Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne (II) Lieutenant Commander Aaron Cox, centre front right, with Maritime Commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN, centre front, and members of HMAS Gascoyne (I) at a mess dinner to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne (II) Lieutenant Commander Aaron Cox, centre front right, with Maritime Commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN, centre front, and members of HMAS Gascoyne (I) at a mess dinner to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

“It is really important that we honour the sacrifices and publicly thank those who served in Gascoyne (I) and in the Battle of Leyte Gulf," said Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer.

Veterans regaled all with their experiences of the battle and put into contrast the different living standards of today’s Navy and on completion of the Sunset Ceremony, personnel moved to the HMAS Waterhen Wardroom for the official Mess Dinner, entertained by the Navy Band.

Commanding Officer of the current Gascoyne, Lieutenant Aaron Cox, began the post dinner speeches with a history of the Battle of Leyte Gulf and its significance in advancing the end of the Second World War.

Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne (II) Lieutenant Commander Aaron Cox, left, and Maritime Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN, right, speak with members of HMAS Gascoyne (I) during a reception to commemorate the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

Commanding Officer HMAS Gascoyne (II) Lieutenant Commander Aaron Cox (left) and Maritime Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN, right, speak with members of HMAS Gascoyne (I) during a reception to commemorate the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The President of the Gascoyne Association, Mr Bob Wright, a young Communicator during the battle, replied with a vivid account of Gascoyne (I)’s involvement. Other members of the Association spoke of examples of the perseverance of the Australian spirit in trying times during the battle, and of the enormous reparation of USN battleships at Leyte Gulf who had earlier been sunk during the raid on Pearl Harbor.

Imagery is available on the Navy Image Gallery at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143246.