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PEOPLE Blue Light shows the way

THEY may not sound like a team at the cutting edge of community relations, but the Blue Light Disco group have scooped an award for their efforts. The joint initiative between the Ministry of Defence Police, Royal Navy Police and Strathclyde Police has built a rapport with Helensburgh youngsters by holding regular discos in Churchill Square’s Drumfork Centre. And the team’s hard work and dedication

was recognised at the highest level within the Ministry of Defence with the presentation of a MOD People Award. The awards celebrate and reward the

contributions of members of the MOD who, often selflessly, improve and inspire others – simply put, those that make a difference. The Blue Light Team received their award in

the “Community Involvement” category. The team was represented by MDP’s Sgt George Smart and Constable Russell White at an awards ceremony at MOD Main Building in London. Sgt Smart, who was the originator of the

team has been recognised by the MOD. “The disco regularly attracts around 240

young people from the local area. “It has broken down barriers and provides a safe environment for our youngsters to enjoy themselves.” Beginning in 2008, the Blue Light initiative

initiative, said: “The MOD Police, our partner agencies and dedicated volunteers have strived to make the Blue Light Discos a great success. “It is really great that the hard work of the

has been a huge success – figures show that it has helped significantly decrease instances of anti-social behaviour in the local area. Secondary school age youngsters are

breathalysed and searched on entry and get to meet community police officers and others who can provide them with support and advice.

l Press officer Melissa Gerbaldi lays a white rose at the Scott statue in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Tribute is paid to explorer

their lives in the pursuit of discovery and science, and despite the waxing and waning of his reputation over the decades the Naval officer is seen by many to embody the best of the human spirit. At midday on January 17 the

A CENTURY to the day that Capt Robert Scott’s party reached the South Pole a ceremony was held to mark the occasion in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Scott and his team sacrificed

Friends of Porter’s Garden laid a remembrance wreath at the Scott statue, close to the Porter’s Lodge. A prayer was read by Peter Goodship, Chief Executive of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust.

And the ceremony concluded with the laying of a single white rose by Melissa Gerbaldi, press officer for Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the British Services Antarctic Expedition, on whose behalf the rose was placed. Expedition latest – p10

h Measuring up

A NAVAL technician has been awarded a Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) Commendation in recognition for his outstanding support to the Intelligence Exploitation Force during an operational tour in the Nahr-e Saraj area of the country. AET Wyn Russell Byers Davies

worked as a biometric support advisor, responsible for providing support and advice on all aspects of biometrics collection operations in the fight against insurgents.

Royal guests call in on Bahrain operation

THE Earl and Countess of Wessex visited Royal Navy and RFA personnel in Bahrain during a festive tour of British personnel deployed on active

duties in the Middle East. The couple toured a submarine and support ship and dropped in on the senior Royal Navy headquarters in the region, the UKMCC, during their stay in the small Gulf kingdom.

They had already visited UK

personnel in Afghanistan when they flew into Bahrain, hub of the

east of Suez – it’s home to the UK

Royal Navy’s operations Maritime Component

Commander, his staff, and four minehunters, and is also a regular port of call for RN and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels operating in the region. As well as being received by the king and prime minister of Bahrain,

the Wessexes toured

repair and support ship RFA Diligence and Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Triumph, taking a break from patrols.

The couple also received an update on the work of the UKMCC and Triumph’s recent contribution to Operation Ellamy off the coast of Libya. The T-boat fired the opening

salvo of Tomahawk cruise missiles during the

campaign, and

conducted two patrols off Libya, during which she continued to target Colonel Gaddafi’s military machine in support of the NATO mission to protect the Libyan population. Having been served lunch

literally ‘fit for royalty’, a tour of the Diligence gave the Earl – who enjoys the honorary title of Commodore-in-Chief of the RFA – and Countess the opportunity to

l Lt Cdr David ‘Bing’ Crosby gives the Earl and Countess of Wessex a guided tour of HMS Triumph in Bahrain

Picture: Lt Gary Turner

meet some of the crew and to see first hand how an auxiliary differs from a Royal Navy vessel. Chief Officer Chris Mackenzie “To have our aboard

RFA said: Commodore-in-Chief

Diligence is a rare privilege. “The ship’s company has

worked very hard preparing for the visit and I know that they have all been looking forward to the day since it was confirmed.” Whilst touring Triumph the Countess managed to get some ‘hands-on’ tuition in the use of the submarine’s periscope and also

Back to square one

l The intrepid group of climbers with the flag which they flew at the top of A’Chailleach in Scotland

New Year challenge

A GROUP of serving and ex-RN personnel

spent the New Year

at a little-known hidden gem in the Highlands of Scotland – Pine Cottage at Newtonmore, a CAF facility provided by HMS Neptune. WO1 MEM(SM) Gary Nicolson

and WO1 MASM Hugh Welsh, of COMFASFLOT,


by an ex-RN contingent of WO1 Glen Bridgeman, CPO Wiggy Bennett, CPO Windy Gale, CPO Barney Barmby and RO Barbra James, climbed A’Chailleach (930 metres), which is just north of

28 FEBRUARY 2012 :

Newtonmore on December 30. And as they were there they decided to fly the flag for the RN (which they just happened to have with them) in the spirit of ‘Once Navy, always Navy.’ Could it also be the first time

three holders of the Meritorious Service Medal have climbed this mountain on the same day as well? The three MSM holders were

Gary Nicolson, Glen Bridgeman and Martin Barmby, now Lt (CCF) Barmby RNR, the OiC of the RN section at Bridlington School CCF.

A NAVAL officer is back in new recruits’ training – but this time he is in charge. Lt Cdr David Cunningham began his own career when he walked through the gates of HMS Raleigh in 1983. His new appointment sees him

at the head of the school which turns raw recruits into Royal Navy ratings during an intensive ten-week course known as Initial Naval Training.

artificer three years later. He volunteered for the

Submarine Service in 1986 and served in three boats and ashore at Devonport before joining the Officer Corps, eventually serving as MEO in HMS Tireless on her recent marathon deployment east of Suez.

serving in the Royal Navy to have qualified to operate four generations reactors.

of Naval nuclear He is one of two men still engineer

took great interest in the welfare of the families of those deployed away from home over Christmas. Families of some of Triumph’s

personnel had joined their loved ones for the festive period and during a tour of the missile compartment, Lt Cdr David ‘Bing’ Crosby,


Executive Officer, explained how his children were worried that their Christmas presents wouldn’t get delivered to Bahrain. He said: “I’ve told them to leave a note for Santa with their address here; I’m sure he’ll find a way to

deliver them.” The British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain,


Lindsay, hosted a reception for the royal couple, attended by Bahraini officials, Servicemen and women based in Bahrain and local expatriates. The Ambassador spoke of his

admiration of the work the Armed Forces do in the Middle East and took the opportunity to present awards to Naval and RAF staff from UKMCC in recognition of their security and force protection duties.

Bowing out after 50 years

A ROYAL Naval officer has finally retired after almost 50 years of service. Lt Peter Durrant (pictured

above), of Plymouth, joined the Senior Service in March 1962 as

a 15-year-old sonar rating

and served in numerous ships throughout the world. He served the Royal Navy for

35 years before leaving in 1996 to take up a position as a Retired Officer (RO), working for the recovery cell, where he served for a further 14 years.

Devonport Naval Base after setting

He ended his career at up

which is now recognised as the official recovery cell for sailors needing extra care and attention. Peter left HMS Drake on December 9 – the day before his 65th birthday and after more than 49 years in a naval uniform. Professional opportunities were

almost boundless – in his case a boy from a country background was guided from being a junior seaman (torpedo and anti- submarine),

Seymour Division,

through electrician

and on to radio/radar/sonar and computers. As a rating, Peter held ten substantive rates between Junior Seaman and CPO before taking up a commission. His worldwide service included HM ships Ajax, Eagle, Plymouth, Galatea,


Opportune, Beagle, Bulldog, Fox and Fawn, and shore bases in Gibraltar and Mauritius, as well as HM ships Orion, Collingwood and Dolphin, and Greenwich, in the UK. He was involved in the conflicts

in Borneo/Indonesia from 1964 to 1965, and was one of the last full Foreign Service Commissions by RN personnel while serving in HMS Ajax.

RN Police in key roles

THE major Naval Service input into operations in Afghanistan may have receded for now with 3 Commando Brigade having handed over the reins to Army units with the end of Herrick XIV last autumn. But RN personnel


to play important roles in the campaign, including members of the Royal Navy Police HQ (West). LReg Murphy has been

deployed on attachment as a shift commander within the UKTHF (Temporary Holding


Lt Cdr Cunningham joined up as an artificer apprentice and qualified as a marine

l Portsmouth Naval Base Commander Cdre Tony Radakin appropriately wields a pair of scissors at the Mop Docs barber shop to officially open the Pankhurst Paintings gallery. Barber Julia (holding ribbon) started taking commissions for pet and people portraits at the end of 2010, and as she was working in a naval base, ships past and present seemed an obvious development, starting with Ark Royal a year ago. Her shop walls gradually filled with paintings and prints for sale – see for more details. Various prints of the Ark, signed by her last serving Captain, Capt Jerry Kyd, are available on Julia’s eBay shop Pankhurst Paintings, where she will also be auctioning off some of her originals on April 1 – contact her through the website. Also pictured at the opening is Capt Mike Beardall (centre), who heads the Royal Navy’s Fleet media operation

at Camp Bastion, having been handed the responsibility of ensuring the safety, welfare and treatment of all Taleban detainees awaiting transfer to the Afghan security forces.

The force recently welcomed RPO Boxall back home from theatre following a successful and eventful six-month deployment in Kandahar, playing a crucial role as the team manager within a four man Evidence Management Team, consisting of a forensic practitioner, an evidence manager and a weapons intelligence specialist. His role in theatre, both as team manager and as an ambassador for the RNP, was taken over by LReg Scott Cantillon.


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