A group of Officers and Sailors from HMAS Stuart were privileged to take part in a special commemoration service for HMAS Vampire (I) at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne during a recent ship visit.
The 9 April 2014 marked the 72nd anniversary of the sinking of Vampire (I).
Vampire (I) was tragically lost near Ceylon, Sri Lanka, in April 1942 as the result of a sustained air attack whilst escorting HMS Hermes away from Trincomalee.
The moving ceremony described Vampire’s role during World War Two and described the valiant part the ship played as a part of the infamous ‘Scrap Iron Flotilla’ with her sister ships, which included HMAS Stuart (I).
Vampire (I) lost nine sailors as well as her Commanding Officer, Commander William Moran whilst the defenceless Hermes lost 19 Officers and 288 Sailors during the same action.
The survivors of Hermes and Vampire (I) were recovered by the hospital ship Vita some seven hours later.
At the commemoration, Warrant Officer Tim Badger, Stuart’s Ship’s Warrant Officer, said what stood out for him personally was the fact that the Ship’s Company of Vampire (I) showed endless courage in each encounter they faced.
“The Vampire (I) crew faced a harrowing time.”
“Their dedication and professionalism is worth taking in this moment to recognise,” he said.
The event at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance was also attended by the former Victorian premier the Hon. Ted Balileu, MLA, decorated veterans and proud descendants of the fallen Vampire (I) sailors.
Press Release, May 5, 2014; Image: Australian Navy