2 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2009
Vikings/845 NAS/846 NAS/
Taurus task group
HMS Portland HMS Ocean
RFA Gold Rover HMS Chiddingfold
RFA Wave Ruler
RFA Lyme Bay
ROSYTH RFA Cardigan Bay
RFA Black Rover
Plus one ballistic missile submarine on patrol somewhere beneath the Seven Seas
Fleet Fleet FocusFocus
Benefi cial Brocklesby
in the sun
LOOSE them, and shatter, and spare not. We are the
JUST because you’re in the
BOOM, there goes another one.
detonated more than a dozen pieces of
Indian Ocean doesn’t mean you
And loose them we have this month, notably upon the ranges
A plume of water rises briefly out of the North
can’t run the London Marathon.
of Cape Wrath and Gib.
Sea as the diving team of HMS Brocklesby look
So to Den Helder in Holland and hopefully a
As a homage to those pounding
This may be the age of micro-this and i-that, but sometimes a raw
on – and another historic piece of ordnance
happier hunting ground for Brocklesby.
the streets of the capital, the men
unadultered brute force is the order of the day, as demonstrated
For the past four years the Bene part of
and women of HMS Somerset
by the 4.5in guns of Her Majesty’s Ships Westminster and
The Portsmouth-based minehunter has spent
Benelux have been running Operation Beneficial
staged their version of the
Cornwall (the latter also loosed a couple of Seawolfs for good
the past month HODOPing – Historical Ordnance
Cooperation to rid their waters of old bombs.
legendary road race half way
measure). The Type 23 could be found in the Med (see page 5),
Disposal OPerations – first off France, then
The operation was prompted by the deaths of
around the world thanks to the
the 22 in France and Scotland (see pages 20-21).
off Holland and Belgium with NATO’s Mine
three Dutch fisherman back in 2005, killed when
organisational skill of POMEAs
Gunnery aside, it’s been the Fleet Air Arm’s month with naval
Countermeasures Group 1.
they hauled a bomb \up in their nets.
‘Chip’ Monk and Stevie
aviation celebrating its 100th birthday at home and abroad,
France proved to be a particularly disappointing
Weather frustrated the NATO force initially
a celebration which reached its climax on and above HMS
hunting ground for the Brock.
(May wasn’t an especially kind month in the
It would be too much to ask
Illustrious (see pages 23-25).
The force positioned itself over the site of
Channel and North Sea).
the sailors to run a full marathon
The fliers will soon have two shiny new playthings. 700 NAS
a WW2 minefield off Dieppe, then began to
Although Brocklesby’s Sonar 2193 was picking
in these temperatures (it was
has stood up again after a very brief hiatus to test the next
systematically search the former field. up bomb-like contacts, the seas were too rough already touching 30˚C by the time
generation Lynx, the Wildcat, while the first RN pilots will soon
Brocklesby sent her Seafox remote-controlled to launch either Seafox or the sea boat and the fi rst racer – CO Cdr Andrew
begin conversion training for the replacement Harrier, the Joint
submersible out 17 times in ten days in divers. Burns leading by example – set
Strike Fighter (see page 13).
challenging conditions, chiefly a strong tidal Finally at first light on May 19, the weathermen off on a lap of his upper deck), so
And talking of things which fly... sailors aboard HMS Severn
stream, while the clearance divers plunged into gave the all clear. a relay was the order of the day.
were somewhat surprised to see a visitor drop in off the Cornish
the Channel on 22 occasions. And so while half of Brocklesby’s ship’s Five competing departments
coast – a barn owl, at least 85 miles from home (see page 6).
And for all this effort, how many old mines company were tucking into their breakfast, the raced around the Type 23 and it
Right, now to front-line operations. The last element of 3
were found? other half were making ready the dive boats after was the organisers’ shipmates, the
Commando Brigade – 45 Commando – is back in the UK after
None. the sonar picked up a contact. marine engineering department,
its stint in Helmand, as are the RN surgeons, doctors and medics
They did discover a wartime depth charge, AB(D) Boswell was sent to identify. He reported who posted the fastest time – a
of the Joint Force Medical Group (see page 6), and the Lynx
however (and blew it up), and an old piece of an American WW2-era bomb, most likely ditched very impressive 2h 48m 32s.
fliers of 847 NAS, who are our ‘squadron of the month’ (see
submarine survey kit (which they didn’t blow by a bomber returning from pounding Hitler’s They – and the rest of the
up). Fortress Europe. runners – were invited to
HMS Portland has been in Oman for exercises with local and
But most of the contacts inspected by man or A charge was fixed to the old bomb, the dive sundowners on the fl ight deck.
international forces (see opposite), while hunter-killer submarine
machine were FBRs. Fairly Big Rocks. team withdrew to a safe distance and then As well as lifting spirits, the
HMS Talent has been stalking the same seas. Chief among her
Unlike the rest of the force, which happily admired their handiwork. marathon raised £320 for Help
prey was HMS Ocean (see page 10).
Ocean escaped Talent’s clutches to reach Singapore, while the
That same day – April 25 –
rest of the Taurus amphibious task group, led by HMS Bulwark,
saw a rather more solemn affair
could be found off Saudi Arabia and subsequently on the eastern
on the fl ight deck. With the sun
shores of Bangladesh and the Ganges delta (see page 11).
rising over Somerset, the ship’s
In the Med HMS St Albans visited Greece and Spain before
company paid their respects
handing over NATO duties to HMS Cornwall (see page 21).
to the fallen of the Gallipoli
Tanker RFA Gold Rover set out to find a missing yacht several
hundred miles from St Helena (she did – see page 7).
For Australians and New
Across the ocean, HMS Manchester was also doing her good
Zealanders, April 25 – ANZAC
deed for the month, helping Rio’s street children (see page 5).
Day – is as enshrined in the
Closer to home, HMS Torbay returned to Devonport after the
national consciousness as
second of three security deployments inside 18 months, the
November 11 is to Britons.
latest of which took her east of Suez (see page 4).
Somerset boasts one
Team Torbay were whipped into shape for their deployments
Antipodean among her ship’s
by those friendly chaps at FOST(Submarines). We were given a
company, fl ight observer Lt
rare insight into the work (see page 22).
Jimmy Hawley. Like Australians
HMS Brocklesby has been hunting WW2 ordnance in the
and New Zealanders across
Channel and North Sea (see right), while fellow minehunter
the globe, he paid tribute to
HMS Penzance sailed up the Elbe to Hamburg to celebrate the
his forebears at a service of
famous port’s 820th birthday (see page 9).
remembrance, led by HMS
And talking of port visits... HMS Quorn paid her inaugural visit
Ocean’s chaplain, the Rev John
to Ipswich, her new affiliated town, plugging a gap left by HMS
Grafton’s demise (see page 9), while HMS York berthed in Jersey
Moving on to the Far East, the
– a very challenging manoeuvre (see page 7).
Devonport-based frigate is now
HMS Mersey found it rather easier to berth in Liverpool when
enjoying a fortnight’s break in
she called it on her affiliates and sampled the Grand National
(see page 4).
There she hosted First Sea
And finally... the largest floating object in the RN inventory
Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band,
belongs to HM Naval Base Clyde. Just don’t send it to war.
who’s currently conducting a
Faslane is now home to the Valiant jetty, 44,000 tonnes of steel,
farewell tour of the Fleet before
concrete and cabling to support Astute-class submarines (see
handing over the reins to CINC
Fleet Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope
later this summer.
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