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June 24, 2010
Sad farewell to top
Coates was the
epitome of the
Officer -- always in
command but never
but approachable, and
with a firm sense of
honour and integrity
that was not dogmatic."
THESE were the words Chief of
Navy VADM Russ Crane used to
describe RADM Nigel Coates, one
of the finest Admirals in the history
of the RAN, at a poignant funeral
service in Sydney on June 9.
VADM Crane joined RADM
Coates' family, friends, colleagues
and scores of officers and sailors who
lined the streets of Garden Island at
Fleet Base East to farewell the wide-
ly-respected Admiral after he passed
away on June 2 following a battle with
During the closed service at the
historic Garden Island Chapel, CN
paid tribute to his friend, saying one of
Navy's most respected and cherished
leaders had been cruelly taken all too
early in his flourishing naval career.
"RADM Coates' life epitomised
our Navy Values of Honour, Honesty,
Courage, Integrity and Loyalty and
a life which the RAN, ADF and the
Australian nation have much to be
thankful for," VADM Crane said.
"God Bless you Nigel and we wish
you fair winds and following seas as
you embark on the next leg of your
eternal passage plan."
At the end of the memorial service,
a funeral firing party of 24 sailors in
full ceremonial uniform fired a tra-
ditional Serviceman's Salute to the
Deceased of three volleys.
LSMUSN Marcus Salone then
sounded The Last Post, which was
followed by a minute's silence and
With the service complete, coffin
bearers transferred the coffin from the
chapel to the waiting gun carriage.
With the coffin secured, the bearers
retired and RADM Coates' widow,
three children and immediate fam-
ily took up position directly behind
it -- they were accompanied by the
Administrator of the Commonwealth
of Australia and NSW Governor
Professor Marie Bashir, as well as
Many of Navy's serving Admirals,
accompanied by senior ADF and for-
eign officers, led a platoon of more
than 150 mourners who were followed
by 60 Navy members.
When the funeral procession was
ready, OIC Funeral, CAPT Tony
Aldred, gave the order and the pro-
cession stepped off to the Sydney
Detachment of the RAN Band play-
ing Proud Echo, while HMAS Tobruk
began a 13-minute gun salute firing
a ceremonial 3-pound cannon once a
The solemn procession made its
way to the Fleet Landing between the
street liners that were positioned at
five pace intervals.
On arrival at the Fleet Landing, the
coffin was transferred into the hearse
and VADM Crane presented Mrs
Coates with an Australian National
The hearse travelled through
Garden Island to Fleet Base East and
out FBE 5 Gate, passing HMA Ships
Success and Kanimbla and, with their
ships' companies formed up into
Procedure ALPHA, they were brought
to attention and saluted as the proces-
sion passed by.
As the procession reached the gates
of Fleet Base East, Tobruk fired the
final salute of 13 guns at the normal
RADM Coates was cremated at a
private ceremony in Sydney.
IMPORTANT TASK: (Above) RAN
personnel tow the gun carriage
that will carry the coffin of RADM
Nigel Coates during the service of
thanksgiving and remembrance for
him at Garden Island, Sydney.
Photo: LA (Phot) Alasdair MacLeod
PRIDE: (Right) The coffin of
RADM Coates is escorted for the
final journey on the ceremonial
gun carriage as family, friends and
Navy personnel pay their respects.
Photo: LSIS Brenton Freind
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