Final tribute for seafarers

Chaplain Simote Finau and crew of HMAS Adelaide conduct a scattering of ashes memorial service. Photo: Able Seaman Sittichai Sakonpoonpol

Final tribute for seafarers

The ship’s company of HMAS Adelaide paid tribute to the lives of six fellow Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Navy Reserve seafarers as their ashes were committed to the sea. 

The ceremony was conducted by Chaplain Simote Finau on September 27 as the ship transited from Elizabeth Reef, just off Lord Howe Island. 

Those remembered were Warrant Officer Garry Kopp, Chief Petty Officer Frederick Churn and his wife Amelia Churn, Leading Seaman Stoker Ernest Brown, Leading Seaman Airman Photographer John Watt, Able Seaman Barrie Bourke and Musician First Class Gordon Crompton. 

Chaplain Finau said it was important to support the families while acknowledging each member’s service to Navy. 

“We recognise their services to their country and in the committal of their ashes to the sea, sharing in this special time as we pay our respects and farewell,” Chaplain Finau said. 

Commanding Officer HMAS Adelaide Captain Jonathan Ley said it was fitting to scatter the ashes in the sea that had played a large part in their lives and their family’s lives.  

“Many before us have paid the ultimate sacrifice in serving their nation and it is with pride that we can stand here today and share a common purpose that, despite the generations that separate us, unite us as one,” Captain Ley said. 

Tributes and statements of services were read out for each of the six seafarers followed by prayers and a final blessing from the Chaplain.

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