Peter Cooper stands in his old cabin aboard HMAS Gladstone
Peter Cooper stands in his old cabin aboard HMAS Gladstone

Returning sailor's generous gift to Gladstone

FROM peacekeeping in the Solomons to operations in Guam and coastal patrols, Peter Cooper's time on the HMAS Gladstone II was packed with adventure.

"We went everywhere," Mr Cooper said.

He was posted to the ship between 2002-2004 as an engineer chief petty officer.

Now, 15 years later, he has renewed his connection with the ship by donating an old uniform to the Gladstone Maritime History Society to display on board.

His shirt hangs in his old wardrobe and his jacket and hat have pride of place on his old rack.

Mr Cooper took his father and sister aboard the ship on Saturday to show them around and check out the display.

Mr Cooper said over 30 years in the navy, the Gladstone II had been his most enjoyable posting.

Throughout the tour, Mr Cooper gave first-hand accounts of the ship's life.

He also gave volunteer tour guides a few new stories to entertain guests.

Mr Cooper hoped his donation would add to the experience for guests.

He said the idea came about during a conversation with Gladstone Maritime History Society president Lindsay Wassell before the ship opened to the public.

"I said I might have a couple of uniforms," Mr Cooper said.

"They were just sitting at home in a cardboard box.

"I thought no one is going to see them, so now they're back where they belong."

The ship was decommissioned in 2007 and laid at anchor in the Gladstone Marina until 2014 when it was moved to its permanent position at East Shores.

"It's good to see it back here, intact and shown to all the public," Mr Cooper said.

Gladstone II was one of 15 Fremantle Class patrol boats used by the navy from the early '80s to 2007.

"Nothing's changed, it's as it was when I was on it," Mr Cooper said.

"All the other ones apart from HMAS Townsville have been cut up and broken up."



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