SEA TIME !!!!
I have just had a great holiday, along with 2,000 fellow passengers aboard
the 77,000 tonnes cruise liner "DAWN PRINCESS", so believe me, a great way
to do your sea time. It was a 28 day cruise around Australia and a voyage
also to Bali. Anyway during the cruise I was invited to participate in 2
Memorial Services, and I was more than happy to attend.
REMEMBRANCE DAY -11th November.
The ship arrived in Burnie, Tasmania on
the morning of the 11th and all aboard were invited to attend the
Remembrance Day Service being held at the Memorial Park, a short distance
from the wharf. I suppose in the vicinity of a few hundred fellow passengers
attended. We were cordially welcomed by the President of the Burnie RSL and
also the Sub Branch, and here he made a few announcements. I was talking to
my wife Helen and a few from the cruise when they announced that Allan
Moffatt would Lay a Wreath/Poppy on behalf of the RAN. This came out of the
blue, as I knew no one there, have never ever been to Burnie and at that
stage didnt really know any other passengers.
Anyway it was a very well conducted Service and it would have been hard to
estimate the numbers in attendance, but it was rather big.
HMAS SYDNEY Memorial Service.
Whilst on passage from Bali to
Fremantle, and the ship would be transiting the area close to where the
remains of HMAS SYDNEY ( coordinates 26 14 31 S 111 12 48 E) and HSK
KORMORAN have been located, a Service would be held. I was contacted by the
Cruise Director aboard and could I liase with him and also participate in
some of the Service. At 0700am, the Service was held on deck 12, and all
seating was taken and standing room only and also on deck 14 which looked
down on the proceeding, and all in attendance were given a Order of Service
which was very well done, and on the front page, a photo of the SYDNEY and a
outline of her career before her loss along with 645 sailors, also shown on
the big fixed screen was a photo of the late HMAS SYDNEY for all to see.
The Service was commenced by the Cruise Director Mark Turner, and then
Officiated by a Retired Cleryman, also a fellow passenger, the Rev. John
Ferrell. A Reading by Passenger Mr. Bill Woolmoore, whose Godfather had been
lost aboard. I was then asked to Read the Poem, In Flanders Fields written
by Lieut Col. John McCrae MD, Canadian Army 1918. the Closing Prayer was
read by another passenger Mr. John Little which was taken from the 1941
Memorial Service for HMAS SYDNEY and HMAS PARRAMATTA held in St. Andrews
Cathedral, Sydney. A Prayer for the Bereaved was then said by the Rev. John
I was then asked to do both the ODE's which I know by heart and needed no
printout, Prior to saying them, I asked all in attendance if they could
stand and also remain standing for the Last Post, a Minutes Silence and
Reveille, but bearing in mind the ships movement. Even though it was quite a
big ship, it still take a few hits from waves etc. To a person, they all
stood. I also pointed out, prior to the Naval Ode, I think this ODE has a
special meaning and could have been written for just this occasion.
They have no grave but the cruel sea,
No flowers lay at their head,
A rusting hulk is their tombstone
Afast on the ocean bed.
How appropriate I then recited the ODE which is taken from the poem, Ode to
the Fallen by Laurence Binyon.
The Last Post and Reveille was played by the trumpet player from the ships
Band, who was great.
I suppose it would have to have been one of the greatest moving Services
that I have ever attended, and probably more so as we were so close to where
the remains of SYDNEY and the 645 crew have now been located and remain
buried for all time
LEST WE FORGET
Allan “Shorty” Moffatt OAM
President RANCBA (NSW)
Also during the cruise I had the great pleasure of meeting with some fellow
Communicators and others that I had served. Stan and Lynne Mayne who I only
found out prior to the voyage they would be aboard. In Tasmania met with
Graham (Moby) & Iris Edwards, Bob & Jenny O’Hara, Joe & Monica Charlton. In
Brisbane, Jim Carey organised a little “luncheon" along with Gayle Brady,
Greg & Sue Palmer, Noel Chidgey, Tony Miles, Liz Grimes, Trevor & Jo
Percival, John & Monica Horton with apologies received from Gareth "Tank"
Evans in Hong Kong , Jim Eagles, Kev & Anne Ruwoldt - away, Patt Nuss and
Jennie Rathbone (still in the workforce). Roger Garrett, Alan and Sonja
Hellier, Gus Dodds (double booked) and Peter Leach also away.
Also in Darwin whilst walking down Smith Street, trying to remember the
place, this man came up and grabbed, we had been on Patrol Boats together
and he retired to live up there. So we had a great yarn about old times and
what ever became of so and so etc..
In Melbourne, met with Ms Audrey Plant
wife of the late Ex Yeo Gerry Plant and had a great day even though the
skies opened up and it bucketed down.