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September 1, 2011
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Navy The official newspaper of the Royal Australian Navy
Imagery Specialist / Reporter
LSIS Paul Berry
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CPL Melanie Schinkel
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Navy to welcome
Largs Bay will be com-
missioned as HMAS
Choules in Fremantle
HMAS Tobruk is under-
going scheduled main-
tenance to return it to
notice and prepare it
for the cyclone season.
Aurora Australis was
chartered until August
12 to provide a human-
itarian assistance and
disaster relief sealift
Protector will provide
capability while HMAS
Tobruk is prepared for
the cyclone season to
provide a humanitar-
ian assistance and
disaster relief sealift
from August 12 until
In addition to the
amphibious lift ship
will be made available
as part of the joint
subject to operational
requirements in New
Kanimbla to decommission
HMAS Kanimbla is to be
decommissioned following a
detailed assessment of its capa-
bility, materiel state and a cost
and risk assessment.
The assessment estimated $35
million was needed for extensive
remediation work and would not
be available until at least mid-
2012. Kanimbla was scheduled to
be decommissioned at the end of
2014 in any event.
It was decided the maintenance
costs did not represent value for
money and the most effective and
lowest risk option was to decom-
mission the ship.
Defence Minister Stephen
Smith and Defence Materiel
Minister Jason Clare announced
the decision in a joint statement
on August 18.
In September 2010, the Chief
of Navy imposed an operational
pause on Kanimbla due to seawor-
The announcement follows the
May decommissioning of HMAS
Manoora. It was indicated then
that the Government would con-
sider decommissioning Kanimbla
if the acquisition of RFA Largs
Bay went ahead.
The Government agreed to
decommission Kanimbla on the
basis of advice and recommen-
dations from CN and the Chief
Executive Officer of the Defence
Navy continues to examine
amphibious transport ship options
in addition to HMAS Tobruk
in the lead up to the arrival of
NUSHIP Choules at the end of
By LEUT Katey Mouritz
THE extraordinary life and service of
CPO Claude Choules was honoured
with the announcement that RFA
Largs Bay would be commissioned
HMAS Choules in December.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and
Defence Minister Stephen Smith gath-
ered at Fleet Base West with Chief of
Navy VADM Ray Griggs on August 13
to make the announcement.
Mr Choules' family met with the
VIPs at HMAS Stirling where the
announcement was a real joy for the
family in a tumultuous year.
Anne Pow, Mr Choules' middle
daughter, said her father was a humble
man and would have been astonished
at the idea of a ship named after him.
"I am sure he is looking down and
would wonder at the fuss. He would be
astonished -- astonished but delighted,"
Mr Choules died on May 5 aged
110, and was the last known World
War I active serviceman in the world.
His naval career spanned two
navies, both world wars and 40 years
NUSHIP Choules will be only the
second RAN Fleet unit to be named
after a non-commissioned officer. The
other was HMAS Sheean, named after
Ordinary Seaman 'Teddy' Sheean,
who was killed in action at the sinking
of HMAS Armidale in 1942.
VADM Griggs said Mr Choules'
service had become symbolic of the
service of RAN personnel in the past
"The name 'Choules' not only rep-
resents Claude's story but the story of
tens of thousands of other sailors who
make this Navy what is, what it has
been and what it will be in the future,"
Choules is undergoing modification
and routine maintenance in the UK
before sailing to Australia to commis-
sion in Fremantle in December.
VADM Griggs said a recent visit
to the UK to tour Largs Bay had con-
firmed the suitability of the acquisi-
"It is a fantastic ship, it is extreme-
ly well designed and it will do what it
needs to do for us in terms of human-
itarian assistance and disaster relief
exceptionally well. It is well designed
for that purpose," he said.
"I'm very much looking forward
to formally welcoming Choules to the
RAN in December."
After commissioning, Choules will
home-port at Fleet Base East and is
expected to be operational from the
beginning of 2012.
Mr Choules joined the Royal
Navy at 15 and, as a sailor on HMS
Revenge, witnessed the surrender of
the German Fleet in 1918 and later the
scuttling of the German Fleet at Scapa
Flow in 1919.
He was loaned to RAN in 1926
and instructed at Flinders Naval
depot in Victoria and he later
decided to transfer permanently
to the RAN.
PO Choules was a commis-
sioning crew member of HMAS
Canberra I in 1928 and contin-
ued his service in World War II
as Chief Demolitions Officer.
A transfer to the Naval
Dockyard Police allowed him to
continue serving until 1956.
THIS ONE'S FOR YOU: The
late Claude Choules, pic-
tured at his retirement home
in 2009, is being honoured
with Largs Bay (inset) to be
named after him on its RAN
commissioning later this year.
JOB'S DONE: HMAS
Kanimbla, pictured here
ous operations off the
Hawaiian coast, will
Photo: ABIS James McDougall
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