Scattering of ashes service at sea
2 December 2013
The ashes of two Navy veterans were scattered from HMAS Tobruk off the coast of Far North Queensland, during a solemn ceremony conducted by Chaplain Thi Lam of HMAS Tobruk on 19 November.
Members of the ship’s company and embarked forces attended the service to pay respects to Commander David Thomson, a Vietnam veteran, and Able Seaman Stoker Richard Smith, a WWII veteran.
Chaplain Lam said it was very common for ex-serving members, both officers and sailors, to ask for their ashes to be committed at sea when they die.
“This is my sixth scattering of ashes service at sea on Navy ships over the last month,” he said.
“I have been involved in many scattering of ashes at sea services but this was the first time for a senior officer.
“Three weeks ago I officiated at four scatterings of ashes at sea for one Petty Officer Telegraphy, one Leading Seaman Naval Police Coxswain and two Able Seaman Marine Technicians on HMAS Toowoomba.
“They spent many years at sea on their ships while serving our country and now it’s their final place of rest.”
Commander Thomson joined the Navy as a 13-year-old Cadet Midshipman in February 1948. Before retiring in 1990, he served as Executive Officer of HMAS Queenborough and Commanding Officer of HMA Ships Perth, Parramatta III, Hobart and Nirimba. He was promoted to Commander in 1984.
Able Seaman Smith was born in November 1920 and served in the Navy from August 1942 to May 1946. He served in the Bathurst-class corvettes HMA Ships Deloraine, Wagga and Warrnambool as well as a number of other ships and shore bases.