Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Farewell HMAS Success

On Sunday, five of us representing Aussie Hero Quilts farewelled the HMAS Success on its 6 month deployment in the Middle East.

It was a day of many impressions. 

Sadness.... families.... pride.... sailors everywhere in their sparkling whites.... the medals flashing in the sunlight and if you were in the wrong place, bright enough to blind you momentarily.... kids everywhere.... family groups taking that last photo.... a young girl standing quietly clinging to her boyfriend, the tears sliding silently down her cheek, knowing she won't see him for many months.

We were met by the ship's Warrant Officer.


Dasha, Gail, WO, Caroline & Evelyn
The WO brought the captain and several recipients and would be recipients to us for us to meet and greet.


The public were allowed to go on board so I went up to see what it was like on board.  It is Spartan - not like your usual cruise ship.

 
The tiny helicopter on board.
 
 
Then it was time for the official speeches.  Can you see the 5 Cormorants on the hawser completely oblivious to the proceedings?
 
Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, CSC and Bar, RAN
Then it was time to leave and the crew went on board single file.
 
 
And lined up on all the decks until departure....
 
 
 
the gang plank being lifted by the crane (why did I think the gang plank lived on the ship?)....


The brass band (with all the members in their pristine whites having stood in the blazing sun in 40C heat) playing the Australian Anthem....
 
 
while the hawsers were drawn back onto the vessel and the tugs began to pull it out into the harbour....
 
 
And she was away, with much waving and more tears flowing....
 
 
 
 
I knew no one on board, but standing there watching her go, I got a distinct lump in my throat.  Can't imagine how hard it would be for the loved ones standing on that wharf.
 
Contrast of the Success sailing out of the harbour and the James Craig passing Fort Denison directly behind it in its wake....

 
On the way back to the car, we passed HMAS Canberra, which was moored behind Success and is very much bigger than her.   I felt like a midget standing on that wharf below it.


An emotional day for many people, and an honour to have been invited to be part of it. 

3 comments:

  1. What a great experience Dasha.....I always am amazed that those big ships do actually float...Thanks for sharing.
    Kate

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  2. I got a lump just reading your post. I pray they all return safely to their loved ones. Thanks for sharing x

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  3. What a wonderful event to be part of! I'm glad you went, and thank you for sharing it with us. There's a whole world that only military families know of. And I do think there are ships (or were, in the past) that took the gangplank aboard -- perhaps they were smaller vessels.

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