A FORMER Nowra based naval helicopter air crewman killed in action in Vietnam has been honoured at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post Ceremony on the 45th anniversary of his death.
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Noel Ervin Shipp was commemorated with his family and members of the RAN’s Fleet Air Arm in attendance.
Leading Seaman Shipp is remembered for determinedly engaging the enemy under heavy fire, with the M60 machine gun mounted in the door of his Iroquois helicopter.
Exposed to heavy automatic fire, the helicopter crash landed and Leading Seaman Shipp was seen to continue firing at the enemy right until the moment of impact.
Commander Fleet Air Arm, Commodore Vince Di Pietro and other members of the Fleet Air Arm represented the RAN.
Following the ceremony, CDRE Di Pietro met with Leading Seaman Shipp’s family, including his widow Gloria, son Darren, and granddaughter Eryn, who had travelled a significant distance to Canberra from Victoria to honour the memory of Leading Seaman Shipp.
Although sad about not having had the chance to know her grandfather, Eryn is determined to pursue a career as an aircrewman in the navy, just like him.
“I am a Navy Cadet, but in a few years I want to become an aircrewman in the navy,” she said.
“It meant so much to dad and I to be here.”
Upon hearing of her determination to join the navy, CDRE Di Pietro presented her with a Fleet Air Arm coin.
“It’s so important to encourage younger Australians to hear the real stories of those men and women who are an essential part our national history,” he said.
“The Australian War Memorial and its commemorations keep alive the selfless service and extraordinary stories of those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Naval Ode and a historical reading of Leading Seaman Shipp’s story were conducted by Chief Petty Officer Aircrewman Benjamin Sime, a current serving member of the Fleet Air Arm and a recipient of the Medal for Gallantry for his actions as a Seahawk S-70B-2 Aircrewman during a waterborne terrorist attack in the North Persian Gulf, Iraq, during Operation Catalyst.
Each day at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post Ceremony, a current serving member of the ADF reads the story of a lost sailor, soldier or airman whose name is recorded on the honour roll.