Family members of Noel Shipp, the namesake of the newest Division at Recruit School in HMAS Cerberus, were guests of honour at the first graduation on 30 August 2013.
The Leading Aircrewman’s widow Gloria, along with their son Darren and more than 20 members of the Shipp family joined family and friends of the Shipp Division graduates during the ceremony reviewed by Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, AM, CSC, RAN.
Gloria said she was honoured to attend the first graduation that commemorated her late husband’s service in the Navy.
“I feel honoured to be a part of the very first graduation of the new Shipp Division, and very proud to see these recruits represent all that Noel aspired to be when he joined the Navy,” Gloria said.
“It’s a momentous occasion also for our son Darren, and Eryn, the granddaughter he never got to meet. I am very pleased, too, to be sharing it with Noel’s family, travelling from Queensland, as well as my own family from Sydney. To have so many people join us who knew and loved Noel makes this day even more special.
“The renaming of the division means that every recruit that passes through the school will be reminded of Noel’s bravery and the unselfishness of other Navy men who gave their lives in the service of their country. Just as we, Noel’s family and friends remember him as a good man, mate, husband and father, future recruits will learn about Noel and I hope that they will be inspired to always reach for higher achievements in their lives and especially their Navy careers.”
Leading Aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp served in Vietnam with the second contingent of the Royal Australian Helicopter Flight from September 1968. He will be remembered for determinedly engaging the enemy under heavy fire while hanging out the door of his aircraft with a M60 machine gun. Exposed to heavy automatic fire, the aircraft crash landed and Shipp was seen to continue firing at the enemy right until the moment of impact.
In September 2012, Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN, announced that RAN Recruit School Divisions would be renamed in honour of sailors who have distinguished themselves through acts of great courage and bravery in the service of their county. Shipp Division entered a new page in Australian Naval history when the first class of Shipp recruits joined the Royal Australian Navy Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus in Victoria on the 17 June 2013.
RADM Barrett said that honouring the significant contribution of Leading Aircrewman Shipp would begin with this first round of 80 graduates from the Division.
“It is fitting to recognise a sailor who conducted himself with the values we honour in Navy. For these new graduates, beginning their career inspired by the story of Leading Aircrewman Shipp will ensure that Navy continues to move into the future while remembering a prominent member of the past,” RADM Barrett said.
“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to attend and review this inaugural Shipp Division graduation and congratulate all our new sailors on their hard work in completing initial training here at Recruit School. I encourage all graduates to embrace their Naval careers with the integrity and courage that was exemplified by Leading Aircrewman Noel Shipp.”
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131249.