Ex-sailors, war ship coming to Gladstone for Anzac Day
A WARSHIP that works hand-in-hand with Australian Border Force and about 50 ex-patrol sailors will commemorate Australia's servicemen and women in Gladstone this year.
HMAS Wollongong, one of 13 Armidale-class patrol boats, and a group of ex-patrol sailors from around Australia will be in Gladstone from Monday for Anzac Day.
Their arrival follows 12 months of work to create an Anzac Day first for the region and allow the former servicemen to visit Fremantle-class patrol boat HMAS Gladstone.
Gladstone Maritime History Society president Lindsay Wassell said it would be another milestone for the city when the former sailors joined Gladstone's Anzac Day march.
He said former sailors from Attack, Fremantle and Armidale-class patrol boats would visit the region for Anzac Day and they were all keen to see HMAS Gladstone.
"She's the only Fremantle-class boat they can come and look at and get on board,” he said.
"For the blokes coming home, back onto what used to be their boat, it brings back a lot of memories ... sometimes it's hard to get them off here.”
Mr Wassell said the former sailors would take part in the Anzac Day march in Gladstone, before gathering outside HMAS Gladstone for the morning.
"We're really hoping this can become an annual event, maybe not with the patrol boat but with the former sailors,” he said.
HMAS Gladstone will again be in the spotlight during a Fremantle-Class Reunion in 2020, to be held in the region.
Mr Wassell said the reunion would provide a boost the region, with many former sailors planning to spend a week in Gladstone for the event.
"I'm all about promoting Gladstone and if I can use the boat to promote our city, I'll do it,” he said.
HMAS Wollongong will berth at Auckland Point wharf.
The Armidale-class patrol boats superseded HMAS Gladstone and the fleet of 15 Fremantle-class boats in 2007..