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The ’buck
stops here
IT IS more than 66 years since the
was the icing on the cake for our deployment
ill-fated raid on Dieppe.
with NATO.”
And it is more than six decades since the
Before grappling with UXBs and the like,
Norman port was liberated by the Allies.
the task group spent several days alongside in
Yet despite the peaceful age since, the
legacy of war hasn’t yet loosened its grip rip
The visit coincided with the annual T
on Dieppe – as the men of HMS Ledbury ury
herring festival (or he Foire aux Harengs if you
prpreefer the original French), a celebration
A Dutch fi shing vessel lost three creew w
of all things fishy which dates back half a of a
back in 2005 when it hauled some
millennium (although hopefully the fish m
unexploded ordnance aboard which
on sale don’t...).
then detonated.
Anyway, the smell of herring
A sweep of Channel waters was
should have subsided by the time
the last act for the Hunt-class ship
Roebuck and Ledbury returned to
during her spell attached to a NATO
their respective ports (Devonport
mine countermeasures task group,
and Portsmouth), their time with
headed by HMS Roebuck.
the NATO group – Standing Mine
The French asked the force to focus
Countermeasures Group 1 – done.
its efforts on the approaches to the ferry ry
Ledbury’s attachment was relatively
short (she joined the force in the
SSevern go to Newcastleevern go to Newcastle
port – which they did, with Ledbury on a
‘war footing’.
That meant six hours on, six hours off, for the
Not so Roebuck, which was the flagship of
ship’s company so they could hunt mines around
the group since January (and with no rotation of TYPICALLY it’s been HMS Tyne which has visited Trust Youth Week. Six youngsters (plus two
the clock.
crew unlike other survey ships, her sailors were her namesake river during breaks from fi shery supervisors) fi led aboard for a day and night at
And it paid off: a 500kg mine and 200kg
– we think – deployed longer than any others in protection patrols. sea, sailing with Severn out of the Tyne (witnessed
bomb were picked up by the ship’s sonar nar
the RN last year).the She doesn’t own the North-East’s great artery, from the bridge), before watching a series of drills
and identifi ed either the old-fashioned ed
“Everyone has been an excellent“ and anything Tyne can do, so can her sisters. and exercises aboard, including a mock fi re.
way (by man) or the modern way (by (by
ambassador for the UK – and the RN in am And so it was that HMS Severn headed into The young visitors enjoyed the hospitality of
particularpart ,” said Cdr Chris Davies, task Newcastle to take a break from a spell ensuring the junior rates’ mess, yet more fi ne food from
Likewise, one was destroyed the e
grgroup commander. fi shermen follow the rules. the galley (described as a “hearty sailor’s meal”),
old-fashioned way (AB(D) Toby
“Roebuck and her ship’s company Now we say ‘break’, but there really wasn’t that before enjoying fi lm night and various games.
Jones laid a plastic explosive charge
have worked extremely hard to much time to relax with a fairly busy programme They departed Severn in Hartlepool. Well,
next to the mine), the other bit
ensure that operations were carried lined up for the River-class vessel. actually, off Hartlepool. The ship’s sea boats
the dust thanks to a 70kg charge
out to the highest standards.” The crux of Severn’s stay on the Tyne was carried the eight visitors safely ashore.
dropped from a remote-controlled
An 11-month deployment is pretty devoted to the Prince’s Trust and the charity’s The ship has had a fairly hectic few weeks,
submersible driven by PO(MW)
rare in modern-day RN annals, and various offi cials and supporters in the region. patrolling the Channel, visiting Newport in
‘Ginge’ Wilcockson.
though it might pale with the two- They were treated to a thorough tour of the South Wales, her affi liated city, to take part in
Whether destroyed by man or
year-plus tours of duty the inter-war 1,600-ton patrol ship, and a rather nice lunch Remembrance Day ceremonies, and Weymouth
machine, both devices sent huge plumes es
and post-war generation ra emember, courtesy of Severn’s chefs (sorry, logisticians (for a crew change, which happened to coincide
of water rising above the Channel.
Roebuck’Roe s CO Lt Cdr Matt Syrett said the (catering services (delivery))). with fi rework night).
“It was great for Ledbury and her people to people to
sight of home (sight of pictured below) had raised the The tour was the curtain-raiser to the Prince’s Picture: LA(Phot) Gary Weatherston, FRPU Clyde
carry out the ship’s ultimate purpose: a mine e: amine
hhearts of all his 60 sailors.earts of a
hunter,” said CO Lt Cdr Chris Nelson.
“We worked hard, but knowing that our friends
“We proved that Ledbury is more than capable
and families were waiting for us on the jetty
of mounting round-the-clock mine warfare
made our day,” he added.
operations in testing conditions – and coming up
“It is good to know that people in Plymouth
with the goods.
are aware of the continuing work that the Royal
“Going all the way and blowing up real mines
Navy does around the world.”
Picture: LA(Phot) Chris Winter, FRPU West
Sea King recognition
NINETY naval aviators and ground crew were games which have now arrived in Afghanistan as
recognised for their deeds large and small in the Christmas gifts from home.
dust of Afghanistan. Besides the operational medals for all, there
Yeovilton hosted an official reception for was a special distinction for 846’s Lt Ben Daniel.
men and women from 845 and 846 Naval Air He earned a Joint Commander’s Commendation
Squadrons who spent six months supporting certificate for coolness and skill under fire.
Allied ground troops in Kandahar and Helmand. His Jungly came under fire from Taleban
The 90 personnel were joined by three times positions during a mission, but the decisions he
as many friends and family and the head of the made and the ability he demonstrated ensured
Fleet Air Arm, Rear Admiral Simon Charlier, for men and machine accomplished their task
champagne, canapés and the formal presentation safely.
of Operational Service Medals (Afghanistan) to Lt Daniel wasn’t the only aviator singled out on
all who served in theatre. the day: his 846 comrade Lt Rich Sturman was
“We don’t get many opportunities to recognise praised for nursing his badly-damaged Sea King
our people’s efforts – and equally important the to base at Camp Bastion.
efforts of those left behind when we go away,” The aircraft lost half its undercarriage – and
said Cdr Niall Griffin, 846’s CO. portions of its rotor blades – during an abortive
“This was one of those rare chances and I night landing in the desert.
was delighted so many friends and family could He brought the Sea King back to base –
join us.” where engineers had constructed a sandbag
Friends included six members of the Royal ‘undercarriage’ so Lt Sturman could set the
British Legion from just up the A303 in Wincanton. helicopter down safely without it toppling over
They donated cakes, sweets and games to the (you might remember the picture of it we featured
Sea King men and women – cakes, sweets and in our October 2008 edition).
NNEW 005_NN_Jan.indd 1EW 005_NN_Jan.indd 1 110/12/08 22:14:030/12/08 22:14:03
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