2 NAVY NEWS, FEBRUARY 2009
HMS Brocklesby HMS Dasher
3 Cdo Bde/Vikings/845 NAS/
846 NAS/847 NAS/Fleet FS(Air)
RFA Cardigan Bay
RFA Wave Knight
800/801 NAS RFA Largs Bay
TON Plus one ballistic missile submarine on patrol somewhere beneath the Seven Seas
FFleet Focusleet Focus
FEBRUARY 2009 fi nds the men and women of the Senior
WHILE much of the Navy shut
Service concentrated east of Suez, either in Iraq, the Gulf,
THE new year was just six days old when the fi rst new mine disposal system which is better (and
down over the festive season,
deployment of 2009 began: a NATO tour of duty cheaper) than the ‘yellow submarine’ it replaces.
there was no rest for the fl iers of
for one of our smaller ships. The remote-controlled submarine can destroy
The latter country has been the scene of two intensive
HMS Brocklesby left a very cold Solent behind underwater ordnance at depths of more than
operations led by 3 Commando Brigade: a concerted sweep
Indeed, the Prestwick-based
bound for Copenhagen (every bit as chilly as 300 metres (984ft) – something there’s a good
around Lashkar Gah and a series of raids into Taleban compounds
Search and Rescue team even had
Pompey, but snowier) to join NATO’s Standing chance it will be required to do.
near Kandahar. Both operations (see pages 21-23) dealt the foe
their turkey interrupted by two
Mine Countermeasures Group for the next six For after the month or so in the Med, the force
a significant blow; both, sadly, were not without their casualties
call-outs on the big day itself (one
months. shifts to the Channel, North Sea and Baltic with
(see page 24).
to Leuchars, near St Andrews, the
The force has been headed by the RN for much of the emphasis of operations on blowing
The brigade is not the only Royal Marines unit in charge of
other to Lochgilphead at the tip
the past month (survey ship HMS up live WW2 ordnance which still litters Europe’s
ground operations in the Middle East. The staff of Commander
of Loch Gilp).
Roebuck put her hydrographic waters.
UK Amphibious Force are directing peacekeeping efforts in
The Christmas Day mercy
work on hold to serve as command “It will be busy, but varied,” said Brocklesby’s
Basra (see page 11).
missions were two of 11 call-outs
ship during 2008), but now the CO Lt Cdr Tom Tredray.
Further south, HMS Lancaster remains on watch around Iraq’s
by the Sea King Mk5 between
Danes are taking charge – hence “It’s always interesting working with ships from
oil platforms (see page 5), although she’s about to hand over to
December 24 and January 2 –
the visit to their wonderful, foreign navies. I know the younger members of
HMS Richmond. Mine warfare vessels HMS Atherstone (see
with a dozen people extremely
wonderful capital. the ship’s company are looking forward to that
page 6), Chiddingfold, Ramsey and Blyth (see page 5) continue
grateful for the assistance of the
Mercifully given the icy in particular.”
to work with the region’s navies.
weather currently engulfi ng They’re also probably looking forward to better
HMS Northumberland and HMS Portland are committed to
The busiest day of the holiday
much of the continent, the task communications with home; the Hunt-class
the fight against piracy and illegal activities in the Indian Ocean.
period was the penultimate day of
group – comprising vessels from warship is among the fi rst in the Fleet to receive
The former shepherded an aid ship safely into Somalia (see page
2008: the helicopter was airborne
Germany, Belgium, Latvia and enhanced broadband which should make surfi ng
4); the latter has been patrolling in the Gulf of Aden and Horn of
fi ve times as pilots
the Netherlands as well as the the internet at sea considerably faster (the web
Africa (see pages 14-15).
Lt Cdrs Andrew ‘Tank’ Murray
UK and Denmark – won’t be at sea is invariably very sluggish).
A flurry of ships returned home in time for Christmas after their
and Stuart ‘Spike’ Pike, observer
spending long in the Kattegat. And it wouldn’t be a story about Brocklesby
exertions in Southeast Asia (HMS Kent), North and South Atlantic
Lt Cdr Martin ‘Florry’ Ford and
It begins its mine clearance without a mention of PO(MW) Antony ‘Pinta’
(HMS Iron Duke) and the Indian Ocean (HMS Cumberland); see
aircrewman PO Wayne Ashman
work and exercises in the Beer. No specifi c reason. He’s appeared in our
page 6 for details.
helped those in needs.
Mediterranean, allowing last three editions and we thought you might
North of the border, the Search and Rescue fliers of HMS
Most of the call-outs were
Brocklesby to demonstrate the miss his presence.
Gannet were heavily in demand over the festive season (see
relatively routine – three mums-
potency of Seafox, the ship’s Picture: LA(Phot) Owen King, FRPU East
right); their unit is also our Squadron of the Month (see page 12).
to-be needing assistance, a couple
In need of rescuing – though far beyond Gannet’s range – was
of patients requiring specialist
HMS Endurance. The ice ship’s engine room flooded as she
cardiac treatment, and four
sailed through the Magellan Strait. Her crew’s exertions and the
people needing to be plucked
assistance of Chilean tugs ensured she did not founder (see
from the hills around Rannoch
Moor (between Perth and Fort
The Red Plum is currently in the Falklands, a passive observer
William), the Isle of Jura and
as RFA Largs Bay is the centrepiece of Exercise Cape Bayonet,
annual war games testing the ability of the three Forces to
“Thankfully with nice
safeguard the islands.
weather during the festive break,
One ship which knew the cost of defending the Falklands
the rescues were all pretty
was HMS Glasgow; the paid-off destroyer was towed out of
straightforward,” said Lt Cdr
Portsmouth Harbour for the last time, bound for Turkey and the
Bryan Nicholas, Gannet’s CO.
breaker’s yard (see page 8).
“The good weather did bring
Also passing the Round Tower was HMS Brocklesby heading
with it plummeting temperatures
for Copenhagen and a NATO task group (see right).
– particularly on the mountains –
The ship’s company of HMS Westminster enjoyed not one but
so there was never any question of
two trips up the Thames, the first to visit their namesake city, the
second to be star of the London Boat Show (see page 10).
“As far as the duty crews are
Westminster is an infrequent sight on the Thames but a regular
concerned, this is our job and
one in Portsmouth, where folk are slowly getting used to the sight
we’re always glad to be able to
of a Type 45 destroyer in harbour for the first time.
get a good result, but there is
HMS Daring made her inaugural voyage from the Clyde to
something a little bit special about
Portsmouth as we went to press (see page 3).
being able to make people feel
There are still several years before another linchpin of the
that bit safer at Christmas.”
future Navy enters service, the Joint Strike Fighter. Its chief test
It’s not all been a matter of life
pilot gives us an insight into progress with the successor to the
and death for the Gannet team.
Harrier (see page 25).
They brought some Christmas
Fundamental to the JSF’s development has been a specially-
cheer to youngsters suffering
modified Harrier, the VAAC. It’s been carrying out crucial tests
from cancer at Malcolm Sargent
with HMS Illustrious to pave the way for the future fighter (see
House in Prestwick on December
25 as Santa dropped in in person
Another old dog (well, not that old) learning new tricks is 829
to hand over £1,000 raised by the
NAS whose Merlins have been used to test a new defensive aide
fl iers during their spare time.
suite (see page 9).
marina Squadron of the month,
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