8 NAVY NEWS, JUNE 2010
Pictures: LA(Phot) Martin Carney, FRPU West
War, wadis it good for?
THESE are submariners. We thought we’d better spell that out, because from the photograph it’s not immediately obvious. The men of HMS Talent relax after their
exertions under the ocean by trekking through the wadis (dry… or not so dry river beds) of the United Arab Emirates on an adventurous training expedition.
With the submarine in the port of Fujairah for her mid-deployment maintenance package, her crew scattered across the Musandam Peninsula for various leisure activities.
for canyoning and a bit of mountain biking. Those who remained in the port on the Gulf of Oman took on an
Card. Not only is completing the RN Fitness Test not a lot of fun, but to complete it in Fujairah, crew had to be up and ready by 6.30am to escape the sizzling daytime heat; May is the hottest month of the year with temperatures never dropping below 33˚C (91˚F). Forty-two ship’s company passed their tests despite the ungodly hour and un-British temperatures; the result is that 98 per cent of Talent’s crew are now ‘in date’ when it comes to fi tness – unusually high for an arm of the Service not normally associated with fi tness fanatics (the boat’s words, not ours…). No pain, no gain. The gain came courtesy of a Combined Services Entertainment
show, who laid on a mix of comedy, music and dancing, plus a little nourishment. Talent is ‘enjoying’ her second deployment east of Suez in 12
months. This time last year she was working with the Taurus task group. In 2010, there’s no RN task group to ‘play with’ on the T-boat’s
seven-and-a-half-month deployment. There are, however, a lot of US assets out here. Indeed for the next
few weeks, the hunter-killer is helping American forces hone their anti-submarine warfare skills by taking part in a series of US Navy-led exercises.
expat side at football (and triumphed 3-2). The fi tness theme continued with tests organised by LPT Danny
Roughly half the deeps made for the mountains behind the emirate
defence watches than a hometown visit?
Fresh from two weeks of chasing around the Western Isles on Joint Warrior, HMS Cornwall made haste for the county for which she is named. It’s been two years since the Type 22 frigate – the Fighting 99 – last called in on Falmouth. Anchoring in Falmouth Bay, the ship welcomed on board the County Council chairwoman Cllr Pat Harvey, the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall Lady Holborrow, Naval Regional Commander Cdre Jamie Miller and a number of affi liated Sea Cadet units and Scouts came aboard to experience a day at sea. Unfortunately, conditions were less-than-perfect due to fog, so a day at sea became a bimble around the bay while guests were entertained with guided tours, observing various stances run by the ship’s company, followed by lunch in the wardroom. As the mist began to disperse, so Cornwall made her way up the Fal towards Falmouth Docks, shepherded by a gaggle of sailing vessels and other craft. No sooner than the ship was secure alongside, the fl ight deck awning was being rigged ready for that evening’s VIP reception and capability demonstrations. The fi rst major task was to welcome various mayors, councillors and other Cornish dignitaries, as well as a number of the VIPs who’d been onboard earlier for a demonstration of what the Fighting 99 does. The guests were invited to witness a simulated air attack from the ops room.
rarely do they see and hear the human actions taking place that actually allow a warship to use its capabilities,” explained Lt Jeff Gulliver, one of the ops room offi cers guiding guests through the attack.
“They can’t see what makes a warship effective – it is the men and women working 24 hours a day, every day, in confi ned conditions, relying on each other to ensure that the Ship can do what it needs to do at the crunch time.” A very successful evening drew to an end with ceremonial sunset led by Guard Offi cer Lt Barney Pollock, in his fi nal offi cial act in Cornwall before he left on draft the following day. Following Sunset, Cdre Miller regaled the crowd with tales of sinking in the South Atlantic in HMS Coventry and coming under mortar fi re in Iraq. The senior offi cer – known affectionately in the Service as ‘The
“The public often only see the external shape of RN warships;
WHAT better way to bring an end to a fortnight of
General’ – was presented with an engraved 4.5in shell, recently fi red from Cornwall’s own turret.
So with all pomp and ceremony complete for the day, the ship’s company were all able to at last relax and enjoy an evening ashore (there are around three dozen pubs in the Cornish port).
The focal point of the visit was opening the frigate to visitors. The day began early, showing 6th Explorer Scouts, 6th Scouts and Cubs, plus Sea Cadets from Falmouth, Truro and Padstow around the ship.
They were treated to a privileged tour of HMS Cornwall before the gangway was opened to the general public at mid-day. Several hundred Cornishmen and women fi led aboard to meet the crew and put their knowledge to the test.
Visitors watched fi re-fi ghting displays on the fl ight deck, learned about small arms on the bridge wings, received briefi ngs on engineering aspects of the ship and were introduced to the bridge. Many youngsters got comfortable in the captain’s chair and on more than one occasion pushed buttons and fl ick
en br ch
hedgerows and clearing overgrowth. “The work ethic of the Cornwall sailors far surpassed my expectations. With the ship’s help, we were able to complete nearly two weeks of work in only two days,” enthused National Trust warden Neil Stevenson. F99’s petty officers made for the maternity unit of the Royal
Cornwall Hospital in Truro. Various activities organised by the POs’ mess over the past few months have raised £2,300 for this worthwhile cause. The senior ratings handed over a (giant) cheque and were given a tour of the unit’s facilities for their troubles. The fi nal duty for many of the ship’s company was to attend a
reception at Cornwall County Council in the Cornish capital, hosted by Cllr Harvey.
Once again, councillors, mayors and their deputies, plus a bevy
of Cornish dignitaries gathered, but this time they were doing the hosting, offering bite-sized pasties to their guests.
South West Coast Path in Helford. On day two they could be found at Trelissick Gardens near Truro, re-constructing
ed switches despite the dedication of the bridge watchkeepers trying to keep control. Cornwall continued to host small groups of visitors, including Penryn Junior and Penair Schools. Meanwhile ashore... Lt Ben Wisniewski USN, F99’s American exchange offi cer, led 20 of the ship’s company helping the National Trust with two days of hard graft. Day one saw the sailors maintaining a section of the
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