'Bandie' honoured in art

Published on LEUT Debra Holland (author), ABCSO Steven Thomson (photographer)

Able Seaman Musician Fred Whitson presents a painting of Leading Seaman Musician Colin Hughes to Colin's Wife, Mrs Kay Hughes. Leading Seaman Hughes was killed by a drunk driver while on duty in Cairns in 2012. (photo: ABCSO Steven Thomson)
Able Seaman Musician Fred Whitson presents a painting of Leading Seaman Musician Colin Hughes to Colin's Wife, Mrs Kay Hughes. Leading Seaman Hughes was killed by a drunk driver while on duty in Cairns in 2012.

Life in the Royal Australian Navy can be like a tight-knit family and that sentiment is no less keenly felt than among 'bandies' - the members of the Royal Australian Navy Band detachments across the country.

So when Leading Seaman Musician Colin Hughes was struck by a car in Cairns and killed during Navy Week in September 2012,  his fellow musicians came together to show their respects in their own unique way – through their art.   

"The tragic loss two years ago of one of our friends and shipmates affected all of us," said Able Seaman Musician Fred Whitson of the Melbourne detachment.

"It was in the spirit of remembering Colin that I decided that I would paint a portrait of him."

"I wanted to capture both the Navy and family aspects of his life. It was my privilege to be able to contribute to the perpetuation of Colin's memory," he said.

Leading Seaman Musician Martin Hancock also composed a piece of music in Colin's honour.  

Able Seaman Whitson presented the portrait to Colin's family last week in Sydney at a special ceremony before Colin's mates in the Sydney Detachment of the Royal Australian Navy Band,  Director of Music - Navy Lieutenant Commander Paul Cottier and the Commanding Officer HMAS Kuttabul, Commander Todd Willson. 

For more information on the Navy Band including links to recordings and appearances link here:  http://www.navy.gov.au/about/our-people/navy-band.