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16 NAVY NEWS, JULY 2010 26 JUNE 2010

Cardiff is not the final word

CARDIFF was leading the way on Armed Forces Day as Navy News went to press. With Royal support, plus plenty of other famous names playing a part, the day promised to build on the foundations laid at Chatham in last year’s inaugural national event. Among those nailing their

colours to the Cardiff mast were David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Katherine Jenkins, Ruth Jones, Graham Norton, Jimmy Carr and Ray Winston, who have all recorded messages of support for a film to be played on big screens in the Welsh capital.

The main parade through the

city was due to be led by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

In Cardiff Bay a drumhead

service, fly-past by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and Red Arrows, military displays, a dynamic air display and an evening concert featuring the Soldiers and Only Men Aloud will take place.

And one of the Royal Navy’s major contributions will be Type 23 frigate HMS Kent, which will be open to visitors – more on the big day in next month’s paper. But the national show of

support for the UK’s Armed Forces, veterans and cadets does not end in Cardiff.

Right through this month

further events are being staged around the country, from Penzance (July 3-5) to Perth (July 2), from Bicester (July 11) to Beverley (July 4). Further details of dates and

locations are available from the dedicated Armed Forces Day website www.armedforcesday.

40 years since

Black Tot Day THIS month sees the 40th anniversary of Black Tot Day – at just before midday on July 31 1970 the last official issue of rum to sailors was made. The event was marked at home and abroad with due ceremony, with mock funerals and black arm bands prevalent, though it was generally acknowledged that 95.5 degrees proof rum, whether watered down or mixed with lime juice and sugar or not, did not sit comfortably with modern hi-tech machinery and weaponry.

Nelson victorious but Ambush is a surprise

PORTSMOUTH may have taken the main prize at the Navy’s Field Gun competition, but another unit celebrated an

unexpected triple success. The annual festival of brain,

brawn and bravery which forms the highlight of HMS Collingwood’s annual Open Day attracted 23 teams from far and wide, including Gibraltar and Naples. Sponsored by VT Flagship, the

Brickwoods competition was the culmination of seven weeks of intense training for the 18-man crews, but it was seconds that counted in the end as Nelson stormed in with a time of 1m 19.72s against the Army’s REME (1m 20.93s) with MOD Abbey Wood third. But it wasn’t just the big boys

who were winning the praise of First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, who praised the competitors for their “teamwork, camaraderie, grit and comradeship.” Down the order, in the Plate

2 competition (deciding places between 13 and 18) was a team who had overcome the odds just to be there.

The Mighty Bush represented

submarine HMS Ambush, still in build in Barrow and a unit which would normally struggle to field a five-a-side team.

The Field Gun crew of 18 represented almost a quarter of Ambush’s ship’s company, and when No 1 Trainer Cox’n Steve Thorpe, No 2 Trainer and judge

l Portsmouth Naval Base during one of their prize-winning runs at HMS Collingwood

Lt Cdr Ian MacIntyre, POPTI Stu Conder and other support staff are included, almost half the boat’s crew were involved in the first entry by a submarine. And they got their reward. They took the Plate 2 final by

edging out HMS Collingwood B, then were amazed to find they had also won the Fleet Trophy, beating HMS Campbeltown.

And the icing on the cake came with the presentation of a third piece of silverware – the Endeavour Trophy for the No 1 Trainer and crew who had overcome most challenges en route to Collingwood. The Fareham establishment

saw 7,000 people enter the gates to enjoy the day, which included live music, a funfair and displays.

Anniversary impetus for mines memorial

AN appeal to commemorate the bravery of Navy mine clearance and diving personnel has been given further impetus by a special anniversary.

On June 14 1940, 70 years ago, came the first incident in which a submerged mine was made safe by a diver from the old HMS Vernon. The German parachute mine had been seen falling into the approaches to Poole Harbour in Dorset, and its exact location was found by a diver after initial detection work by the Vernon- based echo-sounding yachts Esmeralda and Sir Sydney. The diving party was made up of a mobile diving unit from Portsmouth, backed up by divers from HMS Vernon who had been trained in Rendering Mines Safe – then a new and hazardous specialisation.

AB Robert George Tawn was sent down and, in the gloomy water, he found the cylindrical mine lying flat on the sea bed. He made it safe for lifting, but

as it was being towed to shore it suddenly exploded for no apparent reason. AB Tawn was awarded the DSM for his bravery, and later won the BEM, but he was killed at Falmouth working on another mine.

Project Vernon is the campaign to raise funds for a monument to mine clearance and naval diving personnel, to be located at the Gunwharf Quays shopping and entertainment

complex in

Portsmouth on the site of the former HMS Vernon. For more information on the campaign see www.Vernon-



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l French Navy sail training ships Étoile and Mutin at HMS President in London Picture: PO(Phot) Amanda Reynolds French ships honoured

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TWO French ships which played a major role in special operations in World War 2 were honoured in a ceremony in London.

As French president Nicolas Sarkozy attended ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of Gen de Gaulle’s defiant wartime broadcast from the BBC, Naval VIPs gathered at HMS President to unveil plaques aboard schooners Étoile and Mutin, the latter which served from the Channel to the Adriatic. First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope and Chef d’État-Major de la Marine Nationale Amiral

Pierre Forissier toured the ships with veterans of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the wartime espionage and sabotage specialists who fought Axis powers by “indirect” methods. Among those invited were relatives of prominent SOE operatives, including Sir Francis Richards, whose late father was the captain of the Mutin and a member of the SOE, and his uncle R O Richards, who served in the same unit. The Executive Officer’s daughter Lady Victoria Getty was also on the guest list.

l The Mighty Bush – HMS Ambush – make their mark Museum all set to open

A NEW museum at Chatham has taken a number of special deliveries as it prepares for its official opening later this month. Several superb models from

partners the National Maritime Museum and the Imperial War Museum arrived at No 1 Smithery, a £13m new museum experience and cultural venue at the Historic Dockyard.

Opening to the public on July

24, No 1 Smithery: National Treasures Inspiring Culture reveals, for the first time under one roof, a collection of the UK’s world-class maritime treasures, art

and objects, combining museum galleries with visual art and family-friendly and educational activities. No.1 Smithery has five main areas within it (National Museums – Maritime Treasures; the Gallery; the Courtyard (a large area for family activities); the Pipebending Floor and National Museums – Collections and Research) and is included in the normal admission price to the Historic Dockyard. For more details about No 1

Smithery and other attractions see the dockyard website at www.

Top dog

at BRNC selected

THOSE young pups at Dartmouth will soon get the chance to show their worth. No, not the officer cadets – the

young hounds from the Britannia Beagle pack, which will be showing their paces on July 10 when the Champion Puppy will be selected at the Centenary Puppy Show at Britannia Royal Naval College. The Britannia Beagle pack is one of the oldest in the country, having been formed in 1878 by Lt Guy Mainwaring, who was serving in the Cadet Training Ship HMS Britannia. The puppy show is only now

recent additions to the pack include the puppies Albion, Artful and Ambush. This year a strong contender to be Champion Puppy is Richmond.


celebrating its centenary, as it was not held in the pack’s first years, or during the two world wars. The hounds are named after warships where possible,

The centenary will be celebrated with a traditional breakfast in the Gunroom followed by the judging of the puppies.

Town tribute

A MUSICAL tribute has been paid to the inhabitants of Wootton Bassett by the Royal Marines Band Service. A new concert march named after the Wiltshire town has been composed by Maj Pete Curtis, which includes a representation of a C-17 Globemaster aircraft flying into RAF Lyneham and the sound of the town’s church bells. The people of the Wiltshire

town pay special respects to every British Serviceman or woman whose body is flown to Lyneham and then passes through Wootton Bassett to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. A service has been held at the

Armed Forces Memorial at the National Arboretum to mark the addition of 119 new names to the walls – 2009 saw the largest number of UK Armed Forces deaths in the past 20 years.

h Code call

BLETCHLEY Park, home of the National Codes Centre, will host an Armed Forces weekend early this month to celebrate both the Services and the cadet forces. For more details on the

weekend, on July 3 and 4, see

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