Hundreds turn out at military funeral for NSF soldier Gavin Chan who died in Australia

Hundreds turn out at military funeral for NSF soldier Gavin Chan who died in Australia

Those in attendance recalled 3SG Gavin Chan as a "responsible kid" and a "very good boy". 

SINGAPORE: The late army soldier Gavin Chan, 21, was laid to rest with a military funeral on Saturday morning (Sep 23).

The 3rd Sergeant (3SG) was performing his full-time National Service (NS) duties at an annual training exercise in Australia when the armoured vehicle he was commanding landed on its side last Friday. He succumbed to his injuries a few hours later.

3sg chan siblings
3SG Gavin Chan's siblings paying their respects before the cortege moved off to Mandai Crematorium. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

Around a hundred family members, friends and NS colleagues paid their final respects at Chan's wake in Pasir Ris on Saturday morning.

There was barely a dry eye around when his favourite Mandarin song by artist Rene Liu, loosely translated as Later, was played. The heavens responded in kind with a lashing downpour just as his cortège departed for Mandai Crematorium at around 10am.

3sg gavin chan military funeral
The cortège of 3SG Gavin Chan departing for Mandai Crematorium. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

Chan's hearse arrived at Mandai Crematorium an hour later and was led to the service hall by a military band's strains of Dead March in Saul, while about 300 military personnel lined the pathway - among them his platoon mates who were flown back to Singapore from Australia earlier this week.

3sg chan's casket arrives at mandai
3SG Gavin Chan's body arriving at Mandai Crematorium for the funeral, led by a military band and flanked by army personnel. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

His casket bearers - commanders across armour units - then carried him inside the hall, where eulogies and religious prayers took place in privacy.

3sg gavin chan being carried into service hall
Commanders across armour units carried 3SG Gavin Chan's casket into the service hall. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

Next a state flag was handed to his family, accompanied by a gun salute, a minute's silence and the bugle sounding both the Last Post and Rouse as a final ceremonial farewell.

3sg gavin chan's funeral - minute of silence
Military personnel observing a minute of silence. (Photo: Justin Ong) 

Ms Irene Chua, a family friend and colleague of Chan's father, said she knew him since he was a young boy and described him as "humble" and "always taking care of his siblings".

Others in attendance similarly called him a "responsible kid" and "very good boy".

A military staff member who did not want to be named said, choking up with emotion, that Chan "was like a son" to her.

He was the eldest of four children to Mr Desmond Chan and Mdm Lim Teck Kheng. Chan was also a Serangoon Junior College alumnus who had planned to study at a university abroad after completing NS later this year.

The Singapore Army, in a Facebook post on Saturday, described Chan as a leader and a role model. 

"Gavin was professional and disciplined and set high standards for himself and the soldiers he led. We will remember his steady confidence, his drive for perfection, his humility, and his leading by example," said his Officer Commanding CPT Benedict Cai. 

"It was our privilege and honour to have Gavin as part of our family."

Source: CNA/dl