HMAS Choules’ remembers fallen Defence personnel at Manus Island

Published on LEUT Sarah Mills (author), LSCIS Stephanie Cokanauto (photographer)

Location(s): Manus Island, PNG

Topic(s): HMAS Choules (L100), Memorial Service

HMAS Choules' crew salute during a memorial service at the Manus Island cemetery. (photo: LEUT Sarah Mills)
HMAS Choules' crew salute during a memorial service at the Manus Island cemetery.

Personnel from HMAS Choules conducted a memorial service at a cemetery on Manus Island to remember Australians who died there. The ceremony was conducted on 24 October 2013 by the ship's Chaplain.

The cemetery is located on what is now Manus Secondary School grounds, just inside Lorengau township. It is understood that this was formally the site of a Military Headquarters post WW2.

Before the ceremony, HMAS Choules’ company and the staff of Manus Secondary School conducted maintenance of the area and tidied grave sites under the watchful eye of the ship’s Chaplain Sarah Gibson.

Able Seaman Boatswain’s Mate Callum Cherry said he was please to take part in the activity.

“It was good to be able to help out and take care of the graves of those who gave their lives during WW2.” 

Chaplain Gibson and Chaplain David Ndramen, a PNGDF Chaplain from the Lombrum PNGDF Base, conducted the ceremony, attended by the ship’s crew.

During the ceremony Choules’ sailors and soldiers laid floral arrangements on the graves and payed tribute to those who had fallen so many years ago.

Chaplain Gibson said the ceremony gave the crew a chance honour the fallen for their families in Australia.

“It was important for us, as serving ADF personnel, to pay our respects to those who served on Manus Island in the past and to think of their families so far away from where their loved ones are buried.”

HMAS Choules is off Manus Island PNG as part of Operation LANDSCAPE and due to return home to Sydney in the near future.