2 NAVY NEWS, JANUARY 2009
3 Cdo Bde/Naval Strike Wing/
Vikings/845 NAS/846 NAS/
847 NAS/Fleet FS(Air)
HMS Ark Royal
539 ASRM/EOD Team/NaTT
RFA Wave Ruler
845 NAS HMS Lancaster
RFA Cardigan Bay
HMS Severn HMS Kent
RFA Wave Knight
RFA Largs Bay
RFA Black Rover
HMS Iron Duke
Plus one ballistic missile submarine on patrol somewhere beneath the Seven Seas
Satellite imagery courtesy of NASA
FFleet Focusleet Focus
‘Losing great friends’
but now fi xed
WELCOME to 2009... which fi nds the RN engaged very THREE Royal Marines who gave 100
and to the Royal Marines as a whole.”
IF YOU read on (see opposite),
much as it was 12 months ago, except with one substantial
per cent in war and peace ultimately
Just days after Mne Lucas was killed, two
you’ll learn that HMS Portland
gave their lives for their nation.
fellow green berets were killed in a rocket attack
had a fairly rough crossing of the
There’s a new commitment on the Senior Service’s ‘to do’ list:
near Lashkar Gar.
Mne Alexander ‘Al’ Lucas was killed by a
Operation Atalanta, supporting the European Union clampdown
Mnes Tony Evans and Georgie Sparks of 42
And so did HMS Pembroke.
booby trap as he patrolled with comrades in
on piracy in Somalia.
Commando were on the roof of a compound
Except that lumpy seas feel a
Victor Company, 45 Commando, and Afghan
The new commitment means no trip to the Falklands or South
pouring fire on insurgents to give support to their
whole lot lumpier (technical term
troops near Kajaki.
America for HMS Northumberland (see page 7) and has meant
– Ed) in a ship which is 700 tons,
Typical of his role as an assault engineer and
her sister HMS Kent practising her board and search techniques
The Taleban struck back, firing rocket-
typical of his nature, he was in the vanguard,
(see pages 10-11). Kent’s now home, but heading the opposite
propelled grenades at the two commandos.
And it’s not helped when your
clearing the way for his fellow commandos to
direction to support the ‘security on the high seas’ effort east of
Both men received immediate medical aid
starboard engine decides to throw
Suez is HMS Portland (see opposite).
from their comrades but died as they were being
a wobbly, turning a three-day
Despite their efforts – and those of medics –
This new mission is running alongside the RN’s two other
flown to hospital at Camp Bastion.
passage into a four-day passage.
the 24-year-old died in the helicopter en route
crucibles of effort: Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mne Evans from Sunderland joined the Corps
But as Pembroke and her sister
to hospital at Camp Bastion, the hub of British
In the latter theatre, HMS Lancaster continues to safeguard
in October 2006 and earned his green beret the
ship Grimsby arrived in Sicily all
operations in Afghanistan.
Iraq’s oil platforms (see page 8), while the RN-led Naval
was looking rather hunky-dory:
Mne Lucas joined the Corps in 2004 and
Transition Team has ‘ramped up’ training of Iraqi sailors and
The 20-year-old was known as one of the
the two vessels were ahead of
apart from serving in 45, he spent a year with
‘Smiley Boys’ in 42 Commando – always able to
schedule as they made their way
marines as they enter a crucial year in their development (see the Commando Display Team promoting the
raise morale and a laugh.
to the Gulf to replace HM Ships
page 4). marines to the UK public.
He was, said his company commander Maj
Ramsey and Blyth in Bahrain.
HM Ships Pembroke and Grimsby are Gulf-bound, although He was also a mainstay of the RM football
Reggie Turner, “one of the biggest characters
The weather was glorious when
their progress has proved slightly slower than anticipated (see team which lifted the Navy Cup last year, scoring
in the company, always at the forefront of the
the duo reached Augusta. It was
opposite). a goal (which got better and better with each
less than glorious when they left
The continuing effort to bring peace to Afghanistan by re-telling apparently) on the road to the final.
Mne Evans’ Juliet Company comrade L/Cpl
and then Pembroke hit that snag.
3 Commando Brigade, the Commando Helicopter Force, Comrades in Victor Company described Al
Chris Bedford added: “Tony was the typical
She decided to press on for
Naval Strike Wing and Allied units (see pages 23-25) has, alas, as a practical joker, a devoted family man – he
‘Jack the Lad’. He did so much for the morale of
Soudha Bay and the NATO test
claimed the lives of three more Royals (see right). leaves behind a daughter, Cara, aged under 12
the lads – he brought life to the party and he will
ranges there, where the Sandowns
It is the sad – but vital – duty of the Joint Casualty and months, and a fiancée Jill whom he planned to
be sadly missed by all of us.”
were due to fine-tune their
Compassionate Centre to inform and support the families of marry at the end of this deployment.
Nineteen-year-old Georgie Sparks from Epping
Service personnel in times of tragedy. We take a look at their work “Al was always 100 per cent enthusiastic –
also passed out of Lympstone in July 2007 and
Which they did, of course,
on page 22.
and sarcastic. He always had something to give
joined 42 Commando, where he qualified as a
conducting a series of low-speed
There’s a welcome return to sea for HMS Sutherland after a
in all situations,” said his friend L/Cpl Franklin
passages of the ranges looking for
major refit (see pages 4 and 12), while assault ship HMS Albion
‘Sparky’ “demonstrated maturity beyond his
dummy mines over three days.
is high and dry as she begins her first spell in dry dock (see page
“His sense of humour and smile will be
years”, said Maj Turner.
“Although this sounds easy,
sorely missed by the lads, but he will never be
L/Cpl Lee Smith added: “Georgie will be one
trying to hold a 700-ton warship
HMS Roebuck’s marathon duty (12 months) as flagship of a
of us forever. This man’s smile could light up
completely still against the wind
NATO minehunting force is finally done (as is HMS Ledbury’s
His 45 Cdo CO, Lt Col Jim Morris, added: “45
your darkest day.
using only one engine kept things
rather shorter attachment to the same group – see page 5).
Commando has lost a great friend and colleague.
“He was the perfect soldier, the perfect friend.
interesting for the bridge,” said
HMS Iron Duke has also had a fairly lengthy tour of duty; the
Al was brave, determined, cheerful and loyal. He
His hand was always up for any task. He gave
Lt Cdr Simon Wallace,
last substantial part of her Atlantic deployment came in South
has made a gras ade a g eaeat contribution to the Commando co bu o o
everything he had – and morg he had – and moree.”.
Georgia (see page 6). She’s being replaced around the Falklands Once the trials were done,
by RFA Largs Bay, paying her first visit to the islands. Pembroke could grapple with
A proverbial stone’s throw away, HMS Endurance has been fi xing that engine. It became an
conducting her surveys around the ice with British Antarctic Anglo-Greek collaboration with
Survey scientists (see pages 26-27). the Hellenic Navy giving the Brits
There have been some scrub missions (groan – Ed) for 845 use of all of their resources – the
NAS. The junglies spent several weeks in Kenya honing their ‘hot
main dry dock, naval architects,
and high’ skills with the Army (see pages 14-15).
engineers, tugs, pilots and an
845 and their fellow aviators will be enjoying a big year: 2009
ammunition storing depot. And
marks the centenary of naval aviation with a string of high-profile
all this over a two-day Greek
events planned to mark the occasion under the banner of Fly
Navy 100 (see page 13).
Unfortunately things never
HMS Ark Royal and 820 NAS have been practising submarine-
run to plan and several parts
hunting skills in the Med and off Portgual (see page 6).
ordered from Blighty turned up
Back in Blighty, the good folk of HMS Sceptre visited their
late, which has edged the two
affiliated town of Wigan (see page 9), HMS Enterprise dropped
ships right to the limit of their
in on the Isle of Man (see page 7), HMS Severn sailed up the Tyne
deadline to get to the Gulf in time
(see page 5) and HMS Westminster could be found in Cardiff
(Ramsey and Blyth have already
(see page 7).
had their deployment extended
And finally, there’s a new vehicle in the Royal Marines’
beyond Christmas which wasn’t
inventory... the Ford Fiesta. Top Gear motormouth Jeremy
part of the original plan).
Clarkson wanted to test the car to the limit and to do that
The good news, however, is
(naturally) he needed 847 NAS and 1 Assault Group RM. You
that Pembroke was set to be on
● Victims of the Taleban... (left to right) 42 Cdo’s Mnes Georgie Sparks and Tony Evans and 45 Cdo’s
can see the results on page 19 (and also on Youtube...).
Mne Alexander Lucas
her way again as Navy News went
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