Adelaide pays tribute to former sailors

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), ABIS Sittichai Sakonpoonpol (photographer)

Location(s): Elizabeth Reef, Coral Sea

Topic(s): HMAS Adelaide (L01), Commital of Ashes Ceremony

Chaplain Simote Finau and crew members of HMAS Adelaide conduct a scattering of ashes memorial service for six former Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Adelaide. (photo: ABIS Sittichai sakonpoonpol)
Chaplain Simote Finau and crew members of HMAS Adelaide conduct a scattering of ashes memorial service for six former Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Adelaide.

The ship’s company of HMAS Adelaide has paid tribute to the lives of six fellow Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Navy Reserve seafarers as their ashes were committed to the sea.

The ceremony, formally known as a Committal of Ashes, was conducted by Chaplain Simote Finau as the ship transited from Elizabeth Reef, just off Lord Howe Island.

Those remembered in the ashes scattering service were Warrant Officer Garry Kopp, Chief Petty Officer Frederick Churn and his wife Amelia Churn, Leading Seaman Stoker Ernest Brown, Leading Seaman Airman Photographer John Watt, Able Seaman Barrie Bourke, and Musician First Class Gordon Crompton.

Chaplain Simote Finau reads a prayer during a scattering of ashes memorial service for six former Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Adelaide.

Chaplain Simote Finau reads a prayer during a scattering of ashes memorial service for six former Royal Australian Navy personnel onboard HMAS Adelaide.

Chaplain Finau said in his introduction it was especially important to support the families while acknowledging each member’s service to Navy.

“We recognise their services to their country and in the committal of their ashes to the sea, sharing in this special time as we pay our respect and farewell,” he said.

Commanding Officer HMAS Adelaide, Captain Jonathan Ley said, in his address, that it was fitting to scatter the ashes of sailors in the sea that has played a large part in their lives and their family’s lives.

“Many before us have paid the ultimate sacrifice in serving their nation and it is with pride that we can stand here today and share a common purpose that, despite the generations that separate us, unite us as one,” Captain Ley said.

Tributes and statement of services were read out for each of the six seafarers, followed by prayers and a final blessing from the Chaplain.