Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Defence Stephen Smith today announced that the Royal Australian Navy’s newest ship, the ex United Kingdom Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Largs Bay will be commissioned as HMAS Choules.
This name is in honour of Mr Claude Choules, the last known veteran to have served on active service in the First World War.
Mr Choules served in both the Royal Navy during the First World War and the Royal Australian Navy in the Second World War. He represented the last living link with those who had served in the First World War.
Mr Choules passed away in Perth, Western Australia, on 5 May this year at the age of 110.
The Prime Minister said that the naming of HMAS Choules recognised the service of a loyal and dedicated man in two different Navies over 40 years.
Mr Choules and his generation made a tremendous sacrifice for our freedom that we will never forget.
Minister Smith said that Mr Choules was very proud of his Navy service and was a well-regarded Western Australian.
HMAS Choules is scheduled to arrive in Australia in December to be commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy.
As with Mr Choules, HMAS Choules will serve Australia having completed service in the fleet of the Royal Navy.
The purchase of HMAS Choules from the United Kingdom was announced on 6 April this year.
HMAS Choules is a Landing Ship Dock commissioned into service in 2006.
It became surplus to United Kingdom requirements as a result of the UK Government’s 2010 Defence Strategic Review.
The ship weighs 16,000 tonnes, it is 176 metres long and 26 metres wide. Its flight deck has room for two large helicopters and can also carry around 150 light trucks and 350 troops.
HMAS Choules is a proven capability having provided humanitarian relief as part of the international response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
The ship was been acquired for £65 million (approximately $100 million).
Sea trials conducted in April confirmed the materiel state of the ship and that the acquisition was value-for-money.
The HMAS Choules is expected to be operational in early 2012.
Photographs and Footage are available at: http://video.defence.gov.au
13 AUGUST 2011
PRESS OFFICE (02) 6277 7744
MINISTER SMITH’S OFFICE (02) 6277 7800