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NAVY NEWS, OCTOBER 2009 15
Junglies back
Royal fi rst
to Bosnia
for Heron
THE last time the fl iers of
FOR the fi rst time in its seven-
845 NAS were in Sarajevo, the
decade history, there’s a Royal
Bosnian city was racked by civil
Marine in charge of RNAS
war.
Yeovilton.
A decade on, personnel from
Brig Mark Noble has served at
the Somerset air station on three
the Jungly squadron returned to
occasions in his career in the
Bosnia – this time to escape from
Corps, but for his fourth spell at
the stresses of conflict.
Yeovilton he succeeds Cdre Chris
Nineteen air and ground
Palmer as Commanding Officer.
crew from the Yeovilton-based
“I’m fortunate to have great
squadron headed to the Balkans
people who are united by a
for ‘decompression’ after a
common purpose of delivering to
demanding tour of duty in
the front line at a time when it is
Afghanistan.
needed the most,” he says.
While there are still many
Aside from elements of the
visible signs of the war, the 845
Commando Helicopter Force
team found Sarajevo in 2009 to
committed in Afghanistan at
be a vibrant and exceptionally
present, the base is home to 815
welcoming city.
NAS, Europe’s largest helicopter
The decompression trip mixed
squadron providing ship’s flights
adventurous training, a little
for the destroyer/frigate fleet, and
culture, and a little education.
their training squadrons, as well
Some of the older 845 guys
as the experimental Lynx unit,
had served in Bosnia during the
700W NAS.
civil war, most had not.
And there is one pure Royal
The visit started with
Marine presence on site: Yeovilton
a reception at the British
is home to Royal Marines
Ambassador’s residence.
Armoured Support Group in
The following day was a city
charge of the commandos’ Viking
tour courtesy of a veteran of the
vehicles.
Bosnian Army during the civil
war in the 90s.
The tour painted a desperate
Dozen years
picture of the struggle to hold the
city in the war, which brought the
fl iers’ experiences in Afghanistan
of freedom
into sharp focus.
The visitors were also shown THE men and women of HMS
an 800 metre tunnel – dug with Raleigh through marched through
shovels alone – under the city the streets of their home town –
airport which effectively fed 12 years after fi rst being granted
Sarajevo during the siege. the right.
The remainder of the week
Divers on stamp duty The good folk of Torpoint
focussed on white water rafting bestowed their highest honour on
and hill climbing, but the 845 the training establishment back
men’s hosts also shared their NOT actual size... The RN is the third of the three Armed decade earlier, 1795. in 1997, since when its personnel
experiences of the civil war. Showing off a new series of stamps Forces to be honoured by the Royal Mail; The Royal Mail has also produced a have marched through the
“Many of the scars left by the depicting Royal Navy uniforms through the you could lick the Army in 2007, while the number of collector’s items to coincide streets of the small Cornish town
war are physical and clear to see ages are frogmen from the Fleet Diving RAF went postal last year. with the issue of the new stamps including roughly every two years.
but it was also evident that many Squadron and HMS Brocklesby, seen here The fi rst class stamps feature a present- a first-day cover, stamp cards (postcards The Band of HM Royal
are emotional and will take years with the set of six images in the dive training day fl ight deck offi cer, a wartime CO com- featuring larger versions of the portraits) and Marines Plymouth led the
to heal,” said Lt Ed Vaughan. tank on Horsea Island. plete with duffel coat and mug of cocoa, and a ‘prestige stamp book’ which recounts the parade, which began at the top
“We bore witness to the (If you’re struggling to identify the chaps a Wren from 1918 demonstrating how to use tale of naval uniforms from the age of sail to of the hill, continued down to
many redevelopments that have behind the masks, l-r it’s LS(D) Ross Binns, a gas mask. the 21st Century. the ferry lanes and ended back in
happened since the war, however LS(D) Max Steelson, AB(D)s Luke Halbaver, The 90p stamps depict an able seaman The individual stamps or sets are available the town centre at the Comrades
we left only too aware that much David Boswell, and Christian Millington and from the days of Pax Victoriana, a Royal from post offi ces or at www.royalmail.com Club where mayor Cllr Mike
work is still to be done.” PO(D) Ken Smith.) Marine from 1805 and an admiral from a Picture: Emma Critchley, Troika/Royal Mail Pearn took the salute.
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