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Stacey Butson - Frankston

A young Frankston woman honoured the memory of her grandfather and his Navy links by scattering his ashes at sea.

“The ceremony was more than I expected. It was very special and I felt honoured to be able to do this for my grandfather” said Able Seaman Stacey Butson.

The ceremony was conducted on the flight deck of Darwin, off the east African coast with the ship’s chaplain overseeing proceedings. Many of Darwin’s officers and sailors were present, with the Commanding Officer, Commander Terence Morrison reading the ‘Ode of Remembrance’.

Stacey joined the Navy on 27 June 2011 with the full encouragement of her parents. When her grandfather died eight years ago, both her father and uncles were unsure what to do with the ashes, so when Stacey was posted to Darwin and was going to deploy to the Middle East, they seized the opportunity.

“It is a proud moment for me being able to do this not only for my grandfather, but also for my family,” Stacey said.

Born on 12 August 1925, passing away on 6 September 2006, Stacey’s grandfather, John Mortimer Butson, joined the Royal Australian Navy on 29 March 1943, serving until 8 May 1945. John joined the Navy as a Stoker, being posted to HMAS Cerberus for initial training, followed by postings to HMA Ships Whyalla, Shepparton and Warrnambool. During his service in WWII, John was awarded the 1939-1945 Star, the Pacific Star, the WWII medal and the Active Service Medal and left the Navy as an Able Seaman Stoker to become a builder.

John Butson is not the only other member of Stacey’s family to have served in the Navy. Clyde Marshall Butson, Stacey’s great grandfather and father of John Butson, joined the Royal Australian Navy on 15 April 1913, also as a Stoker.

Clyde was born on 30 September 1894 in Yackandandah, Victoria and upon joining was posted to Cerberus for initial training then posted to HMAS Encounter from May to November 1913. Clyde was onboard when Encounter sailed into Sydney Harbour as one of the seven ships commemorating the newly founded Royal Australian Navy on 4 October 1913. Clyde served on HMAS Australia for five years, finishing his time in the Navy on 27 September 1919 as a Leading Seaman Stoker.

Darwin is assigned to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in order to conduct maritime security operations in the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.

The CMF is working to defeat terrorism, prevent piracy, reduce illegal trafficking, and to promote the maritime environment as a safe place for mariners with legitimate business.

Darwin is deployed in support of Operation SLIPPER and is the 57th rotation of Royal Australian Navy ships to deploy to the Middle Eastern Area of Operations, since 1990. Operation SLIPPER is the Australian Defence Force Contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, counter smuggling and counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and enhancing regional maritime strategy.