Able Marine Technician Sam Coster (centre) stands as part of the catafalque guard for the Anzac Day services at the Menin Gate in Leper this year.
27 April 2017
Sam Coster joined the Navy to see new places and now he has proudly represented New Zealand at one of the nation’s most poignant commemorations, Anzac Day on the Western Front.
As part of the ceremonial guard detail, Able Marine Technician (AMT) Coster had a large role to play in the services that were conducted across several days including dawn services at Le Quesnoy and Zonnebeke.
It was on the Western Front that New Zealand made its most significant contribution to the First World War, and also where New Zealand suffered the greatest loss of life.
The 24-year-old former Westlake Boys’ High School student is a electrical marine technician on the HMNZS Taupo, maintaining and repairing the ship’s machinery and electrical systems.
He joined the Navy in 2013, following in his father’s footsteps.
“That was a big factor to my wanting to join and serve. I wanted a job that wasn't so ordinary and I also wanted to learn a trade and get qualified as an electrician.”
Having travelled all around New Zealand on HMNZS Taupo doing fishing patrols, AMT Coster says being asked to be part of the NZDF contingent for the Western Front Anzac Day commemorations is a big deal for him.
“I feel honoured and privileged to be able to represent my country in the Anzac Day commemorations.”
Standing still for more than an hour at times in freezing conditions as part of the catafalque guard, AMT Coster had to dig deep at times to maintain the level of concentration required.
“You know you’re there to do a job and pay your respects to those people who made tremendous sacrifices.”
When he is not maintaining the ship’s equipment and is home from sea, AMT Coster says engaging with family and friends is important.
“I try to spend as much time with my friends and family as I can when I’m at home. The Navy offers plenty of opportunities to take part in social and competitive sports and other outdoor activities.
“The Navy has given me great opportunities to make new friends, learn a trade, grow as a person and gain life skills.”
The contingent conducted battlefield tours to learn about the battles that took place in the region and visited several cemeteries to pay respects to the fallen as well as taking part in the official services including Last Post ceremonies at Menin Gate.