NAVY NEWS, AUGUST 2009 3
F EVER you needed proof that the fi nest lines
in the Fleet belong to a Type 22, then here it
A Merlin of 820 Naval Air Squadron pulls away from HMS
Cornwall having just delivered crucial supplies (ie nutty) to
the frigate as she begins anti-piracy duties.
This unusual shot was captured by the RN Photographer
of the Year, PO(Phot) Owen King, from the back of
Cornwall’s Lynx, high above the ship as she punched
through the Gulf of Aden.
Cornwall is the newly-named fl agship of NATO’s Standing
Maritime Group 2, which has just relieved its sister force
(imaginatively-titled Group 1) east of Suez.
To that end, the Fighting 99 spent a fortnight in Soudha
Bay in Crete to prepare for her mission in earnest – anything
from readying the kit for the extreme temperatures and
harsh environment the frigate will encounter during high
summer in the Indian Ocean to conducting enhanced
boarding training to combat the pirates, tweaking her
communications systems for the new, multinational
Flag Staff, embarking a Royal Marine detachment... and
squeezing in a little R&R.
The task group is now in the hands of Cdre Steve
Chick and his staff who took the reins from Italy’s Admiral
Giovanni Gumiero in a formal ceremony in Crete.
Command of the NATO force rotates around the
members a year at a time; it’s been seven years since the
RN was last in charge.
Just 24 hours into his new command and Cdre Chick
led the force to sea for the four-day passage to Port Said,
gateway to Suez.
That four-day crossing gave plenty of opportunity for
Cornwall’s ‘green team’ – RM boarding party – and ‘blue
team’, the ship’s own boarding team, to practise working
A lot of boat work, helicopter coordination operations,
embarkation and disembarkation drills, and weapon training
ensued to provide the fi nal polish to seamless boardings.
Passage through the Red Sea gave an opportunity for
Cornwall’s female mess, 3Q Mess, to join in the nationwide
Race for Life in support of the fi ght against breast cancer.
The traditional 10km run was out of the question in
the confi nes of a 5,500-ton, 150-metre long frigate, but
determined not to be left out the team gathered all the
ship’s fi tness equipment on the fl ight deck.
Under blazing sun off the African coast the women
relayed a distance of 326km in three hours on the rowing,
running and stepper machines.
To get the rest of Cornwall’s crew of 253 involved, they
also organised some fairground competitions, including
apple bobbing and a ‘speed waxing’ competition to strip
the backs of some of the more hirsute men onboard (ouch
Their magnifi cent collective effort raised £2,791.61
onboard with a further £450 pledged on line by friends and
family at home.
By the end of June, the task force was all set for its
mission and formally took charge of the anti-piracy mission
from Maritime Group 1 fl agship, Portugal’s Corte Real.
Cornwall and her comrades in arms – Italy’s ITS
Libeccio, Turkey’s TCG Gediz, USS Laboon and Greece’s
HS Navarinon – took up station in the Internationally
Recommended Transit Corridor, an invisible box through
which merchantmen are advised to sail to ensure protection
from Allied warships.
As Cornwall arrived in the corridor, so too did the ships of
the Taurus task group, slowly making their way home after
amphibious exercises in Brunei.
And it was here that the resupply took place as
Merlins from HMS Ocean ferried across medical stores,
engineering spares and morale-boosting NAAFI supplies
For two lucky members of the frigate’s crew the meet-up
with the Taurus ships allowed them to see their respective
partners, both serving aboard assault ship Bulwark on the
staff of the Commander Amphibious Task Group.
Cornwall’s Lynx ‘Rattler’ ferried the pair across… and
ferried them back two hours later.
A beaming AB(Sea) Lauren Gales said on her return from
seeing AB(CIS) Luke Barrs: “My other half was off-watch
when I arrived onboard, so he had to be shaken, but I think
when he realised why, he wasn’t so annoyed about being
For AB(Sea) Martyn Mathias, there was an added
poignancy because the next time he and his fiancée
AB(CIS) Claire Taylor see each other, it will be on the eve
of their wedding in August.
“It was very kind of the CO to let us go across to see our
other halves. We hadn’t seen each other in five months,
so it was a great surprise to be able to meet up so far from
home,” he said.
The brief encounter done, Cornwall resumed Operation
Allied Protector in conjunction with the European Union
task force executing Operation Atalanta (see pages 22-23).
“I speak for all of us when I say it is hugely satisfying to
be involved in operations such as these that are critical
to maritime security and directly relevant to protecting
livelihoods back home by ensuring that UK trade can
continue to travel the high seas unmolested,” says
Cornwall’s CO Cdr Johnny Ley.
His boss, Cdre Chick, concurs.
“The successes achieved against the pirates over the
last few months off the Horn of Africa by the NATO groups
have really demonstrated the effectiveness of these
forces,” the senior offi cer adds.
“Along with that of the other maritime forces in the
region, the combat power brought to bear by the two
groups has had a telling effect on pirate activity, and
the fl exibility with which they have taken to the task is
testament to the continued relevance of maritime forces in
the modern world.”
All other images: LA(Phot) Simmo Simpson, FRPU East
marina More from the RN’s anti-piracy mission on pages 10, 22-
003_NN_August.indd 1 21/7/09 14:49:01
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28
| Page 29
| Page 30
| Page 31
| Page 32
| Page 33
| Page 34
| Page 35
| Page 36
| Page 37
| Page 38
| Page 39
| Page 40
| Page 41
| Page 42
| Page 43
| Page 44
| Page 45
| Page 46
| Page 47
| Page 48
| Page 49
| Page 50
| Page 51
| Page 52
| Page 53