Friday 27th April 2001 at approx I33Ohrs, shipmates, friends and family mustered at the ‘Sportsmans Bar’ in the 
Leisure Inn Rockingham to bid farewell and present the ashes of the late Donald “Blue” Cumming to a representative 
of the Royal Australian Navy for Burial at sea. 

    Actually, the day started earlier than this, as six of us reported for duty at the “Chinaman’s” residence at 1l45hrs for 
the mandatory thirst quenches, the only difference between this and the previous occasion was, it was beer and not 
whiskey. (Thank the Lord). 

    Once again the skipper at the helm for our passage to Rockingham was Joe Yukich, who after the ANZAC days 
festivities swore off the grog. On arrival at our destination, “Blues” wife, son and daughter plus a number of other 
V.L.S.V.A. members greeted us, and the “Ashes” were placed near the bar. China’s pussers counterpane was again 
put to good use as a base for a very highly polished “boats crew”, medals and the urn containing the ashes a glass of 
whiskey was then placed in the appropriate position and we commenced to drink with our departed shipmate. 

   At approx 1500hrs the contingent made it’s way to the designated assembly area where after a short announcement
by our President and the reciting of the “Ode” Blues remains were handed to the R.A.N. for passage to H.M.A.S. 
Stirling where they will eventually be buried at sea. I suppose occasions like this leave a dry feeling in the throat, so 
before embarking on our trip home it was decided to have one or two more “Pale Ales” and to make sure we had 
sufficient to last the distance back. 

    Had we done just that, (returned home) then things would probably have turned out fine, however, sailors will be 
sailors, never had enough, so we headed for the Bicton/Palmyra R.S.L. sub-branch and continued to farewell old 
“Blue” which for one or two of us lasted a little to long. (Enough said). 

    On behalf of the President, I would like to thank those members who attended to give Donald “Blue” Cumming his 
final farewell and to wish him the best in that “Engine room” in the sky. 

                                                            LEST WE FORGET                                                            

Letter from Blue Cummings daughter.

Dear China,

    As promised I have enclosed a couple of Dad’s poems for use in your newsletters. I would also like to take this 
opportunity to once again thank yourself and the association for all the care and support you have provided our family 
both before and after Dad passed away. This care and support has enabled us all to focus on the achievements Dad
 made during his life and not dwell on the sadness of losing him. 

    For as long as I can remember Dad said “I want to go home”. I never really understood the significance of this 
statement until after he passed away and I found a hand-written verse tucked neatly into an old book he used to jot 
things in. I have enclosed this verse as I think there may be many ex-sailors out there  who could easily relate to it. It
 states that, “ he wants to go home so that later he can return afresh”. I believe that when he makes his final trip out
on the HMAS Anzac that he will be ‘returning afresh’. Inspired by the works of A. B. Paterson’s verse “Mulga Bills 
Bicycle”, Dad used the alias Mulga-Blue and aptly signed all his poems (MB). I hope your readers enjoy Dad’s poems
 as I have since I first read them. 

Yours faithfully,
Jeanette Anthony.


"I want to go home"

 “I want to go home”, and the young bloke smiles, or maybe replies, “So do I”, without realising just how much has
 really  been said, because to the shell backed sailor, “I want to go home” is a phrase that has more meaning and
 more feeling in one little syllable, than anything else he might say has in it’s whole text.

To the crusty old salt, “I want to go home”, means, “I want to talk to my  wife; I want to hug my children; I want to lay
 under a shady tree; I want to hear birds that are not sea-fowls; I want to spend some time out of sight of the ship
 and sailors; I want to break routine; just want to go, so that at a later time I can return afresh”. 

So the next time you hear a sailor say  “I want to go home”, treat this with  reverence and respect, because, in his
 own austere way, that sailor has said a mouthful.



Back to Vale Page

horizontal rule