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8 NAVY NEWS, FEBRUARY 2010
Caledonia
gym is
given a
Testing the waters
Concrete
‘mine’ is
removed
makeover by divers
THERE will be no excuses
IT MAY not have been the most
for letting those New Year’s
dangerous of assignments – the
resolutions fall by the wayside at
explosive qualities of concrete are
HMS Caledonia. not widely feared.
The Rosyth shore base plays an But it was another example
important role in supporting Navy of the level of service provided
personnel while their ships are in by RN divers when a suspicious
refit on the Forth. object is discovered on the coast.
And with physical development Fisherman Robert Thomson
in the Navy a high priority, was out in his boat the Emma Jane
visiting crews and Caledonia staff off Port Seton, near Edinburgh,
members should expect good when he dragged up a 12ft-long,
fitness facilities. torpedo-shaped object.
Well, they now have state-of- As recommended, Robert called
the-art fitness facilities following the Coastguard, who alerted the
extensive renovation of Caledonia’s Northern Diving Group (NDG)
gym – the result of a strenuous bomb disposal team at Faslane.
effort by the physical training The four-strong team was
team to secure funding. quickly on the scene and identified
The gym now has three Concept
the object as an exercise mine from
2 rowers, weight machines, free
the late 1970s or early 1980s.
weights, a spinning area and brand
As a practice mine, it contained
new cross-trainers and running
nothing more than concrete, but
machines, each fitted with mini
the divers carried out a controlled
televisions hooked up to a range
explosion to remove the hazard.
of satellite channels.
“It was pretty straightforward
One of the first things done
stuff,” explained CPO Lee Yates,
with the money was the fitting ● HMS Bangor takes part in a display on the River Clyde for CCF cadets
leader of the duty bomb squad.
of new carpets and laminated
“The boat had netted what the
flooring, while a new selection of
Pictures: LA(Phot) AJ Macleod
fisherman initially thought was a
free weights is expected soon.
torpedo and we were called out to
CPOPT ‘Shiner’ Wright said:
CLYDE Naval Base rolled out including Jersey, the South Coast was another vessel pressed into
The second day brought a series
investigate.
“The work put into the gym has
the red carpet for a group of
and the Midlands, for a two-day service on the day. of presentations and lectures from
“On further inspection it turned
really paid dividends in terms of
people’s fitness.
youngsters who are interested
taster of what life in the Senior While on board Penzance the a diverse list of units, including
out to be an old practice mine –
Service could be like. cadets watched demonstrations of green berets from Fleet Protection
“Our twice-weekly spinning
in the Royal Navy.
perfectly harmless, but still quite a
One day was spent on the fire-fighting, weapons firing and Group Royal Marines and
classes are always packed, so
The Scottish establishment
sizeable object.
water, with Sandown-class search and rescue techniques, ordnance disposal experts from
much so that we’ve had to make
welcomed around 100 Combined
“The fisherman had originally
minehunter HMS Penzance the latter laid on by a visiting the Northern Diving Group.
them first-come, first-served. Cadet Force (CCF) cadets and 35
landed the mine onto the deck of
being one of five craft to take Sea King from HMS Gannet, Cadets tried their hand at taking
his boat – which is not something
“The Caledonia gym also does of their officers from more than the group out onto the Clyde – while Penzance’s sister ship HMS
the helm of a number of (virtual)
we would recommend – and we
a lot for the local community. 20 schools around the country, SERCO’s fleet tender Oronsay Bangor also played her part.
vessels in the Pathfinder bridge
asked that he put it back into
“We currently host five
simulator and the submarine
the water at a marked location
different swimming clubs and let
simulator.
both Dunfermline Athletic and
in Gosford Bay, where we would
The youngsters, aged between
Dunfermline Rugby Club use our
inspect it.
14 and 18, and their officers
facilities.
“We did that and have now
stayed at Garelochhead training
“We are always working hard
safely disposed of it.”
camp, a mile or so up the road
to improve fitness at HMS
NDG CO Lt Cdr Jason White
from Faslane.
Caledonia and there are several
said: “The team has done a great
“This was a chance for the
other initiatives in the pipeline.”
job on this.
cadets and their officers to meet
Another area to benefit from
“In this case, whether the
regular serving personnel and
refurbishment is Caledonia’s main
mine turned out to be live or
work with the Royal Navy at sea,”
dining halls, which have not been
not, the operation still involved
said CPOPT Derik Nordon, who
renovated for eight years.
diving in challenging and very
organised the visit.
Potentially the site can be a
cold conditions, to conduct a
“They all went away with a much
home-from-home to visiting
controlled explosion with a diver-
greater interest and awareness of
sailors for many months, so it is
placed charge.
the role of the Royal Navy.”
important that Caledonia creates
“It is only straightforward
a welcoming environment.
Cadet Tom Smith, aged 15, from
because of the professionalism of
Caledonia staff came together
Cheltenham said: “My favourite
the team and their experience.”
to help refurbish the dining halls,
part of the visit was riding on the
which were only closed for five
RIBs and looking at all the Royal
days – junior ratings were bussed
Navy equipment.”
Small ship
to the dockyard for meals.
Another Cheltenham cadet,
Logistics Officer Lt Rob Swift
14-year-old Tom Lowde, said: “I
said: “Everyone mucked in to
enjoyed looking at the weapons and earns
help and the results speak for
loved the submarine simulator.”
themselves.
Lt (CCF) Christine Harrison,
“It is a warm and relaxing
who teaches physics at her corn
environment for visiting crews and
Cheltenham College, said: “It has
been a fantastic experience for the
TAKING a small ship across a big
Caledonia staff alike.
cadets.
ocean might be seen by some as a
“I would like to thank everyone
“We have had a brilliant two
major achievement in itself.
who gave their time and services
days.
But for the ship’s company of
to help.”
“There have been plenty of
HMS Quorn it was just a means
The icing on the cake came
activities, and it is good to see
to an end.
when Caledonia’s dining facilities
what the Royal Navy does.”
The 750-tonne Hunt-class
were recognised as one of the
vessel had ploughed across the
safest and most hygienic eating ● CCF cadets watch a fi re-
Atlantic as part of Standing NATO
areas in Scotland, picking up two fi ghting demonstration on board
Mine Countermeasures Group
Eat Safe certificates. HMS Penzance
1 to spend a couple of months
exercising off the US coast.
We reported on her trip back to
Europe in our December edition.
But the easterly crossing did not
herald the end of her deployment
– there was still work to be done.
Her final commitment to the
NATO group saw Quorn take
part in a major Danish-led mine
countermeasures exercise in the
Kattegat, where she was tested in
various aspects of maritime warfare
including damage control.
Her ship’s company also had
time during the exercise to locate
and dispose of a genuine threat – a
700kg World War 2-vintage mine.
Quorn returned to her home
port just before Christmas, and
although all her sailors were keen
to get back, perhaps her CO had
more reason than most – his son
Joshua was born in the first week
of Quorn’s deployment, as the
ship sailed for Spain.
Falmouth visit
FRIGATE HMS Montrose was
due in Falmouth for a three-day
visit as Navy News went to press.
While in town the ship will
host a reception with Deputy
CinCFleet Vice Admiral Richard
● A cadet watches a search and rescue Sea King from HMS Gannet carry out a demonstration on the
Ibbotson and Naval Regional
Clyde near Faslane
Commander Cdre Jamie Miller.
008_NN_feb.indd 1 20/1/10 16:55:36
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