Australian submarine holds burial at sea ceremony for Royal Navy submariners

Sailors aboard the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins-class submarine HMAS Rankin held a burial at sea ceremony recently, scattering the ashes of three former Royal Navy submariners off the coast of Western Australia.

The ceremony is known as a Committal of Ashes to the Sea (COATS) in the Royal Australian Navy and was carried out under a reciprocal arrangement that the Royal Australian Navy has with the UK’s Royal Navy.

“Submariners are a very close knit community and it is regarded as an honor for current serving members to oversee such a solemn occasion as a COATS ceremony,” the Royal Australian Navy said.

Presided over by Chaplain Franco Siani, the ceremonies were conducted during Rankin’s transit of Cockburn Sound, Western Australia. HMAS Rankin is currently training in the Western Australian exercise area in preparation for an upcoming extended deployment which will include exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii.

The three former Royal Navy submariners remembered were Chief Petty Officer Patrick Toogood, Leading Seaman Alfred Meek and Able Seaman Patrick Heffernan.

Chief Petty Officer Toogood served as an Engine Room Artificer in a number of RN submarines, including HMS Scorcher and Grampus, while Leading Seaman Meek, an Auxiliary Technician, served in HMS Cyclops.

Able Seaman Heffernan, who was best friends with CPO Toogood, served in HMS Talent, Adamant and Ambush.

All three men immigrated to Australia on completion of their naval careers.

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