Dawn Service onboard HMAS Choules
25 April 2015
It was a beautiful time to remember those that had served before us. Row by row sailors, soldiers and officers stood side by side as they took time in the still dark morning onboard HMAS Choules flight deck, during dawn service to remember the bravery and the courage shown by the Anzacs.
Chaplain Kees Bosch led the ceremony after the catafalque party slowly marched and took position, heads bowed arms resting on weapons. He started with a prayer and a story of Jim Martin, a young Victorian boy who enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in April 1915, the young man fought bravely in Anzac Cove as part of the1st Reinforcement of the newly formed 21 Battalion but had suffered a great hardship in the battle and eventually died from heart failure on 26 October 1015 only 6 months after enlisting, and throughout extreme conditions he never complained and always wrote back to his family telling them not to worry, that he was okay.
Chaplain Bosch spoke about the sombre ceremony,
“It gives me a great opportunity to promote something worthwhile, to keep the memory of the Anzacs alive to remember the supreme sacrifice of those who have served our nation before us in time of war or peacekeeping operations”
Chief Petty Officer Electric Technician Stephen Doughty is Choules’ Senior Electrical Sailor. He is part of the engineering department onboard Choules. He is third generation engineer in Defence. Both his father and his grandfather worked in the engineering field for the Defence Forces prior to his career in the Royal Australian Navy. His grandfather met his grandmother during WWII at a dance, both working for the military. They married only a few months later. His Grandfather received the American Bronze Star for his determination and efficiency and cheerfulness under difficult conditions. For Chief Petty Officer Doughty Anzac Day is a time to remember how his family have served this country. He states:
‘I am proud that they served and intrigued to learn more but unfortunately my grandfather died shortly after I joined the Navy. I know that my grandfather went ashore on D-day and thereafter stayed in Europe until after the end of the war and beyond as part of the occupation forces in western Germany, where he was responsible for disarming thousands of German artillery pieces and other weapons. I also understand that he survived two ship sinkings (both torpedoed)’
Lieutenant Fraser, an experienced Choules Officer of the Watch states:
“On this centenary of our landings ashore it is good to be able to celebrate their heroism at sea as a member of the Royal Australian Navy.”
HMAS Choules weights 16 000 tonnes, is 176 metres long and is capable of carrying 356 troops (700 for an overloaded capacity), 23 Abrams tanks, 150 Light Trucks, Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP), Landing Craft Marine Version Eight (LCM8), and various Army and Navy helicopters including the MRH90, Army’s Black Hawk and the Sea Hawk. She has 10 decks, and 20 flights of stairs from top to bottom.