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Memorial service for tenth anniversary of fire aboard HMAS Westralia.



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Minister for Defence Media Mail List -----------------------------------------------------------------------

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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Monday, 5 May 2008 047/2008

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF FIRE ABOARD HMAS WESTRALIA A memorial service has been held today to mark the tenth anniversary of fire aboard HMAS Westralia which resulted in the deaths of four Navy personnel and injured five others. Captain Steve Davies, Commanding Officer of HMAS Stirling, addressed the assembled Navy personnel from HMAS Stirling as part of the memorial service. “This tragedy is still very much in our thoughts,” said Captain Davies. “What happened on the 5 May 1998 was felt deeply by Navy as a whole, but particularly by us at Fleet Base West. We are a close-knit community, and many of us worked here at the time of the fire, and some were on board.” Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, the Hon Warren Snowdon MP, echoed these sentiments when expressing his condolences. “The fire aboard HMAS Westralia was a terrible event, and on this tenth anniversary, we all reflect and remember the courage shown by the crew, and those who lost their lives,” said Mr Snowdon. The memorial took place on the quarterdeck at Stirling, beside the HMAS Westralia memorial plaque inscribed with the names of those who died in the fire: Midshipman Megan Pelly, Petty Officer Shaun Smith, Leading Seaman Bradley Meek and Able Seaman Phillip Carroll. In addition to today’s memorial service, Navy’s Principal Chaplain requested that Defence church services held yesterday make mention of the anniversary, allowing it to be recognised Australia-wide and by all three services.

“Many Navy people have been strongly affected by the fire, and it is vital that we continue to honour their bravery and sacrifice, whilst also taking heed of the lessons learned as a result of this tragedy,” said Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Russ Shalders.

Media note: Still imagery from the memorial service will be available for download from the Defence website at www.defence.gov.au/media/download/

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664

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