Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me the greatest possible pleasure and pride to be with all of you today on board H.M.A.S. Leeuwin and to join you in celebrating the exceptional achievements of the crew of Hydrographic Ship Blue. I am particularly glad to be able to present the Gloucester Cup, having myself served for a short time over forty years ago - can you believe it - in one of the Royal Navy's Hydrographic ships, H.M.S. Fox, in the Caribbean. That time I spent with the Hydrographic Service enabled me to understand its vital importance to the Navy. I even took part in the salvage of a merchant ship – something, I discovered, which proved rather beneficial to the ship's company in descending order from the Commanding Officer!
Now as many of you will know, when my Great Uncle, The Duke of Gloucester, first instituted the Gloucester Cup back in 1946 it was awarded as a prize for the ship which shot down the greatest number of sleeve targets, in proportion to the number of rounds fired, during a calendar year. Such a competition proved to be rather more impracticable than first thought, and in recent times, the Gloucester Cup has been awarded, rather more fittingly, to the Navy Unit displaying the highest level of overall proficiency.
H.S. Blue's exceptional contribution to the full spectrum of operations throughout 2017 has distinguished you from amongst the other fine units of the Royal Australian Navy.
I know that these outstanding achievements are born of extraordinary hard work, discipline and, perhaps most importantly of all, genuine team work. They exemplify the very best of the Royal Australian Navy values of honesty, courage, integrity and loyalty.
Indeed, as we continue to mark the Centenary of Anzac, where we commemorate the service and sacrifice of those Australians who have fought and died in war, we should pause to remember the enduring legacy they have left.
Your achievements are built on the foundations laid by the selfless dedication of all those servicemen and women who have gone before you. Furthermore, I suspect that these achievements probably owe a considerable amount to the support, encouragement and, above all, the understanding of your families, and so I did just want to pay a tribute to all of them on such a special occasion.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I can only offer you my warmest congratulations on winning the Gloucester Cup and wish each one of you the greatest possible success in your future Naval careers.