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HMAS Choules to honour beloved navy veteran
HMAS Choules to honour beloved navy veteran

In honour of her last-known serving veteran, the former UK warship Largs Bay has been recommissioned as HMAS Choules.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Defence Minister Stephen Smith made the announcement at a ceremony on Saturday, August 13 at the HMAS Stirling Naval Base.

The ceremony was attended by Choules family members and navy representatives.

Ms Gillard said Claude Choules had served in World War I on the Largs Bay for the Royal Navy and again in World War II for the Royal Australian Navy.

He died in Perth on May 5 aged 110.

‘‘He was the last living link with those who served in the First World War — the naming of HMAS Choules recognises the service of a loyal and dedicated man in two different navies over 40 years,’’ she said.

‘‘Mr Choules and his generation made a tremendous sacrifice for our freedom that we will never forget.’’

Mr Smith said the ship was due to arrive in Australia in December and explained some of its previous roles.

‘‘HMAS Choules provided humanitarian relief as part of the international response to the Haiti earthquake in 2010,’’ he said.

HMAS Choules is a landing dock ship commissioned in 2006.

It became surplus after the UK conducted a review of its defence assets.

It weighs 16,000 tonnes, is 176m long and 26m wide, and its flight deck has room for two big helicopters.

Mr Smith the $100 million purchase price for HMAS Choules represented value for money.

The ship is expected to be fully operational by 2012.