42 reasons to be proud
SAILORS past and present are gearing up to bid farewell to the backbone of the Fleet as the trusty Type 42 destroyers prepare to bow out of service after nearly 40 years. A farewell tour, a ceremonial final entry to Portsmouth – the naval base most associated with the workhorse destroyers – and what promises to be a highly-charged decommissioning ceremony are planned by HMS Edinburgh to close the book on the Type 42 story.
Children of the 60s – the first, HMS Sheffield, was ordered in late 1968 – the 16 ships built (two for Argentina) in what are also sometimes known as the ‘Sheffield class’ after their progenitor, have acted as the shield of the Fleet from the mid- 70s until the second decade of the 21st Century. In more recent years, and especially with the arrival of their more potent successors, the Type 45 destroyers, the 42s have evolved to become all-purpose warships, as much at home on patrol in the Gulf, South Atlantic or searching for drug-runners in the Caribbean – hence the ‘workhorse of the Fleet’ tag. But as recently as 2011, they
returned to their original role; HMS Liverpool directed aerial missions over Libya.
The sterling service given by the 42s has not been without the highest price.
HMS Sheffield and HMS Coventry were both lost in the Falklands in 1982 – Shiny Sheff to an Exocet missile, Coventry to Argentine bombs after her Sea Dart missiles had already taken out several enemy aircraft. Twenty men were lost in each.
Given the ships’ lengthy service and large ship’s companies – nearly 290 in the early days, 240-250 more recently – perhaps as many as 40,000 officers and ratings have served in the Type 42 ‘club’ down the years (put another way, that’s more people than the current strength of the RN/ RM).
So given the numbers and the fact that the destroyers are as symbolic of the past four decades of the Royal Navy as the Harrier jump jet and the Invincible-class carriers, their passing will be marked in style. Once Edinburgh returns from the final 42 deployment – see above right – in March, she’s lined up to take part in 70th anniversary of the Battle of Atlantic commemorations in London and Liverpool. She will also visit Leith to end her long, proud association with the Scottish capital and say farewell to her Edinburgh affiliates. Thereafter, a ceremonial final entry to Portsmouth is planned with a fly past and bands on May 31, followed on June 6 by the formal act of decommissioning alongside in the naval base. And as one Type 42 era ends, another begins. The recently- formed Type 42 Association is holding its first reunion at HMS Excellent on July 13 featuring live music, raffles, food, a specially-brewed Type 42 bitter, and above all oppos and four decades of 42 dits.
Entry is £10 for full members of the association or £20 for non-members; details from T42A Reunion, PO Box 4, Havant, PO9 1JN or see www. type42association.co.uk
. n Navy News will also be marking the end of the 42s with a special supplement – probably in our June or July edition. We’re looking for some of your favourite (clean, unclassified!) stories and photographs of experiences aboard. If you’re interested in helping, email words/images to edit@ navynews.co.uk
or snail mail to Navy News, Leviathan Block, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth, PO1 3HH, and mark your submission ‘Farewell to the Type 42s’.
IF THE cap fits... Well, maybe it’s a bit too big,
but this youngster is certainly enjoying wearing it... ...an
d certainly didn’t want to
give it back to HMS Edinburgh’s Officer of the Watch 4, Lt Christopher Barber. The junior officer – pictured
here by LA(Phot) Dan Rosenbaum with medical officer, Surg Lt Katherine Rawlinson – was part of a group from the veteran destroyer who visited the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.
Edinburgh elation in the Rainbow Nation
London’s world-famous Great Ormond Street – was perhaps the most uplifting event during a two- week mid-deployment break for the Fortress of the Sea. The Navy’s last 42 is on her final deployment – six months in the South Atlantic, which are due to end next month, thus bringing the curtain down on the active career of her class. Having called in on Casablanca in Morocco and Nouakchott in Mauritania on the way
and made two crossings of the southern ocean – which is rarely benign, even in the austral summer – the 27-year-old warship needed to steel herself for a third crossing to Britain’s South Atlantic dependencies, hence the fortnight alongside in Simon’s Town, home of the South African Navy. Personal and professional
relationships between the Royal Navy and its South African counterparts were cemented during
HMS Edinburgh’s south
previous visit to South Africa in 2011 and have been reaffirmed through friendly, but hard-fought, sporting competitions. The warship’s Mk8 Lynx helicopter and her crew took the opportunity to fly to Ysterplaat airfield in Cape Town, 20 miles to the north of Edinburgh’s berth. The air base is home to South African Air Force Super Lynx – and their visiting Fleet Air Arm cousins always make use of the airfield and the unique
Rare Red Sea link-up
WITH the Middle East winter sun giving their grey hulls a pale golden sheen, two old friends meet up 5,000 miles from their Plymouth home.
Survey ships HMS Enterprise (left) and HMS Scott (right) met up in the southern Red Sea – the former collecting data on these waters, Scott passing through on her way to the Gulf of Aden to begin three months of work. The very nature of survey operations means the five ships in the Royal Navy’s globally-respected hydrographic squadron – HM Ships Protector (currently in the Antarctic), Enterprise and her sister Echo, Scott and Gleaner (the smallest ship in the Fleet) – spend long periods away, working independently. So this was a rare opportunity to refresh skills which are
required when operating with other warships – Officer of the Watch manoeuvres to test the bridge teams and tactical (radio) and flashing light communications (using traditional lamp signals).
Scott put her sea boat in the water to deliver a spare part for one of Enterprise’s satellite systems and while the transfer was conducted the ships manoeuvred in close company for approximately one hour.
and requires regular training to ensure it is done safely. It has been some time since Enterprise has had this opportunity, so to meet up with Scott – albeit for a short period – was extremely valuable for my bridge team,” said Lt Mark Wilton, Enterprise’s navigator.
“Being in close company with another ship can be challenging
environment of the Cape, not least because there was every chance the choppy South Atlantic seas could limit flying opportunities during the next passage west. “Six
Atlantic will inevitably take its toll, and timely maintenance of the ship and the ship’s company is vital,” said Edinburgh’s Commanding Officer Cdr Nick Borbone. “Simon’s Town provides the resources to ensure Edinburgh is in the right material state for the
months in the South
remainder of the deployment; it also offers fantastic opportunities for the ship’s company to recharge ahead of the next phase of operations.” As Edinburgh struck out into
the Atlantic once more she was joined by Cdre The Honourable Michael Cochrane who is the head of the Portsmouth Flotilla – which supports Solent-based ships at home and at sea. n Teeside
Edinburgh, page 27 teatime aboard
The visit to the hospital – a African equivalent of
Junglies go back to their birthplace
TWENTY members of 845 NAS head to Borneo next month in the footsteps of the men who gave the Junglies their proud nickname. Half a century ago the aircraft of what is today known as
the Commando Helicopter
Force proved indispensible in supporting Royal Marines in the jungles of Borneo during the incursion of Communist forces from Indonesia. The helicopters helped to maintain frontier strongpoints, dropped troops at locations where they could ambush Indonesian forces, and were also used in highly-secretive operations across the border to attack Indonesian bases, sometimes with wire- guided anti-armour missiles. Fifty years on and the group from 845 – one of three present- day front-line Junglie squadrons, all based at Yeovilton – will spend 12 days in Borneo. “We’ll be taking part in a
battlefield tour of Borneo as part of the squadron’s commitment to honouring our heritage and as the finale to 845 NAS’ 50th anniversary celebrations of becoming a commando helicopter squadron,” explained Lt Charlie Peschardt, organising the return to the jungle.
“Sixteen Junglies were killed
during the action, and a memorial at Nanga Gaat was erected to honour these heroes of the jungle. “This will be the focus for
today’s members of 845 NAS – we’ll refurbish it and pay our respects.” Personnel will undergo jungle
survival training in Brunei to prepare them for a river expedition to the Kapit District where the memorial is sited. The group will also be carrying out community work in the area – just as their forebears forged links with the local population in the 1960s.
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Enterprise is nearing the half-way point of a nine-month deployment picking up where her sister left off during 19 months of data-gathering east of Suez and in the Mediterranean. The ‘star ship’ of the hydrographic squadron has already discovered unknown wrecks in one of Dubai’s ports. As for Scott, this is the first time in four years she’s been east of Suez. Her survey routine was typically summers in the North Atlantic and winters in the calmer waters on the other side of the Suez Canal – but that was upset when HMS Endurance flooded back in 2008.
For two Austral summers, Scott filled the gap left by the Red Plum with surveying work around Antarctica. With HMS Protector now active, normal service has resumed for Scott which was the very last Royal Navy ship to deploy in 2012, leaving her home port at 11.15pm on December 21 (fog delayed her departure, hence the ungodly hour). At 13,500 tonnes Scott is the fifth largest ship in the Fleet and
represents the Royal Navy’s only deep-water survey ship. Her size is determined by her hi-tech surveying and sonar suites; the latter can survey the deepest ocean in continuous lines up to 400 miles long (Enterprise, on the other hand, specialises in gathering data closer to shore in shallower waters).
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FEBRUARY 2013 : 13
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