On Tuesday 10 May 2016, We attended the funeral service of our friend and shipmate, Sir Rodney Withers CMDR RAN at the Memorial Chapel of St Mark, HMAS Cerberus. Establishment Flags and Ensigns were half masted throughout the Service.

Along with around 250 other family and friends we were welcomed by Chap. Andrew Thorburn RAN who conducted the Service. Many current and ex Service personnel from all three Services and all branches of the RAN were in attendance along with a good representation from the RANCBA. I do apologise for not naming you, but there were far too many and too spread out within the Chapel. Rod's casket was covered with the AWE atop of which was his ceremonial sword, his service medals and his Commander's cap.

Eulogies were read by CAPT Stephen Bowater OAM RAN, covering Rod's Naval Career. Rod's two brothers, David and Peter (both ex POQMG) spoke of Rod's early family life growing up in QLD and Rod's own children Tamara, Shane and Alisha spoke of their life with and their love of their Dad. Frank spoke on behalf of Rod's mates and friends.

A photo tribute was shown of the full life of Rod's, along with a DVD tribute from three ex - Royal Navy classmates of Rod's SD16 Class at Dartmouth. Sir Rodney certainly didn't restrict his 'playing up' only to the RAN. On completion of the service, an Australian National Flag was presented to Jan by Captain Bowater, as a token of appreciation of Rod's long and distinguished service to the Navy and to Australia.

Our own CPOCIS Gary Swanton was Guard Commander of the funeral firing party , and following the sounding of The Last Post and during the Minutes Silence, 3 volleys of rounds were fired.

As the vehicle carrying Rod's body left the Chapel, a Guard of Honour had been formed consisting of staff and trainees from the RAN Communications School (DFSS-MCISW) along the roadway leading away from the Chapel and up toward the old Gangway. Current and ex-service members of the congregation were also invited to form up. Which many did.

Refreshments were held in the Wardroom of HMAS Cerberus where guests were made extremely welcome by both CAPT Bowater , his Executive Officer, CMDR Melanie Verho and the Ships Warrant Officer, WO Brendan Woodsell.

A very fitting Memorial Service and well deserved for our friend.

Fair winds and a following sea Sir Rodney. Till we all meet up again, Rest in Peace.

Frank & Gary

A Navy photographer was made available to cover the service and Rod's family are happy to share the photos
 with the wider communications community.  Follow the link below to view the photos.

Follow this link to return to the Vale for Rod