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NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2009 9
No rest for
the Busy Bee
Do not adjust your set
Come in
No.1 your
WITH a nickname like the Busy
Bee you can expect to be, er, busy.
time is up
And so it has proved. Six
BRITAIN’S year in charge of one
months after returning from a
of Europe’s two minehunting task
very demanding Gulf deployment
forces formally came to an end in
escorting the US carrier Harry S
a wintry Copenhagen.
Truman, HMS Manchester is off
For the past 12 months,
on another major tour of duty.
NATO’s Standing Mine
This time it’s to the cooler
Countermeasures Group 1 has
climes of the Falklands –
been in the hands of Cdr Chris
although there are spells in
Davies and his staff, based
the Caribbean and southern
aboard the survey ship HMS
Pacific during the seven-month
Roebuck.
deployment.
Those 12 months covered
Apart from friends and family,
the shores of Aegean and North
the destroyer was waved off
Africa, Baltic and Mediterranean
from Portsmouth by the Lord
waters, the Channel and British
Mayor of Manchester, Cllr Mavis
Isles among others.
Smitheman.
There were six major ‘live’
The politician spent the first
exercises to run, three spells
few hours of the deployment
destroying historic ordnance
aboard the warship, receiving
(including a stint in the
a fairly comprehensive insight
Channel), and two war games to
into life aboard, before parting
test the group’s readiness to act
company with the ship as it
as NATO’s Reaction Force.
headed south and she headed
With the Danes assuming
back ‘oop north’.
command of the minehunting
The destroyer has a pretty
force from the RN, the force and
varied programme – and mission.
flagship Roebuck headed to the
There’s strangling drug
Danish capital for a transfer of
runners (metaphorically) in the
command ceremony.
Caribbean, providing a reassuring
Cdr Davies’ successor, Cdr
presence to locals in the
Henrik Rasmussen, is now
Falklands, probably a bit of salsa
leading the small ships towards
in Brazil, as well as a trip round
the Middle Sea where they will
the Horn to visit Chile and Peru.
take part in a major NATO
Portugal, rather closer to
PROOF of just how unforgiving Biscay can 180-plus sailors aboard (the roll on the above The Biscay battering left the Saint exercise, Loyal Mariner.
home, was the first port of call
be was provided by HMS St Albans (much image, by LA(Phot) Pete Smith of FRPU East, needing some TLC once she entered the Later in 2009 the group will
for the ship and a brief visit
to the chagrin of her ship’s company) as she is a ‘mere’ 12˚). Mediterranean. cross the Pond to exercise along
to Lisbon. The ship hosted
headed for the Med through a succession With typical RN understatement Biscay “The upper deck on a warm January day the Eastern Seaboard of Canada
Portuguese dignitaries for an
of storms. had, said CO Cdr Adrian Pierce, “certainly in the Med was a real contrast from the and the USA.
official reception, while her
The Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate is shaken the ship out”. previous storm-tossed days, cooped up in With Roebuck’s departure to
sailors visited the Maritime
serving with NATO’s Maritime Group 2 on its Out. And up. And down. And left to right. the ship. The ship’s company were pleased resume more traditional duties,
Analysis and Operational Centre
‘guardians of the seas’ mission around the Still, every cloud has a silver lining. On to see daylight again and enjoy some fresh the sole British presence in the
(Narcotics), one of the global
Mediterranean. a crisp, clear morning the mountains of air,” said Cdr Pierce. force is now HMS Brocklesby
intelligence hubs for the war on
She collected her Lynx flight, No.202 from Morocco and the Rock of Gibraltar came She’s now attached to the NATO force and (see page 7).
drugs trafficking.
815 NAS in Yeovilton, then stocked up with into view and the Middle Sea was finally conducting Operation Active Endeavour, The task group is now NATO’s
From there it was on to
shells, explosives, torpedoes, missiles and within grasp. a Mediterranean-wide sweep tracking oldest maritime commitment,
the Cape Verde Islands and a
assorted ammo in Plymouth and then turned Nippy and zippy patrol boat HMS Scimitar shipping, curbing the activities of drug/ dating back to 1973 under
particularly vibrant welcome from
south. welcomed St Albans into Gibraltar... then people smugglers and terrorists. various nomenclatures (although
160 pupils of Escola Capehinha
Guz to the Med is quite a long way – long promptly proceeded to attack the frigate to The force will, however, leave the Med it can trace its roots to the year
Fazenda Praia school, who were
enough for the warship to be tossed around test the ship’s response to a ‘fast inshore behind for several weeks and patrol the before the organisation was
treated to a tour of the destroyer.
and things made rather unpleasant for the attack craft’ onslaught. shallower (and cooler) waters of the Baltic. formed).
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