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Eight bells for clock restoration
THE traditional eight-bell chimes
will soon be ringing out again
across Britannia Royal Naval
College after an absence of
IN THE latest of our
almost 18 months.
occasional series on the
The complicated process of
myriad jobs in the Senior
removing the original machinery
Service, 34-year-old Sgt
and the four clock faces for
Marcus ‘Smudge’ Smith RM
complete overhaul began in
(pictured below) gives us an
October 2007 – the first time
insight into the work of a
such a major operation has been
unit armourer with the UK
Landing Force Command Since the installation of the
Support Group in Lashkar clock in 1904 all maintenance
Gah. has been carried out in situ,
but with the floors of both the

I AM responsible for the
clock and bell room in the tower
inspection, maintenance and
needing structural repair the best
upkeep of all the weapons being
solution was a comprehensive
used in this immediate area,
somewhere in the region of 2,000
Architectural and structural
pieces of kit.
engineers formulated a plan, and
This includes standard rifl es
RN partners VT Flagship, who
and pistols, grenade-launchers,
managed the job, consulted with
grenade machine guns, the
all interested parties, including
awesome .50 calibre heavy
local authorities and English
machine guns and sniper rifl es.
I look after night-vision goggles,
With all the boxes ticked,
telescopic sights and other
experts from local and specialist
specialist bits that the lads use on
firms got to grips with the task.
a daily basis.
Interserve delivered the
The kit is great; things like
works through their supply
the SA80 rifl e have had lots of
chain, including Torbay building
modifi cations to improve them company Marks Building
to cope with the conditions, but Services, while the clock
there is always a battle. Here in mechanism and faces travelled to
Afghanistan, you put oil on the expert clock restorers Smith of
working parts and you get dust Derby.
sticking to it, but if you don’t oil The clock tower project is the
it, the temperatures and the dew first of several large maintenance
cause rust. It’s a tough job to keep
● Senior Designer Mike Fitchett, from Smith at Derby, carrying out work on the clock face from Britannia Royal Naval College
projects across the college.
it all working smoothly, but it
never lets them down.
Most of the time, it is simple
fair wear and tear that I will have
to deal with. The going is tough
Chatham hub of
Argus goes green
out here; there’s the dust, then the
high heat and extreme cold which
YOU will not see much of RFA Argus for the next ten or so
can cause metal expansion and
months – unless you happen to live in Falmouth.
contraction. Sometimes weapons
The aviation training and casualty treatment ship is beginning
get hit by enemy fi re and sustain
a £23m upgrade in the hands of A&P Group in the Cornish port.
Its workers will fi t new kit in the ship’s impressive hospital
My job is making sure that
facility as well as overhaul the ship and her living quarters.
everyone has full confi dence in
The latest CT (3D X-Ray) scanning system is being installed
their kit so we know it will work
as well as new sterilising equipment.
in a situation when they need
The hospital facility provides initial, vital care for up to 100
it to work and that it is safe for
battle casualties before they are transferred to hospitals ashore
the user and those around them.
for more prolonged treatment. It was last used for real during
No-one wants a misfi re from a
the 2003 Iraq campaign.
machine gun.
A BUSY year for the
as acknowledged by Vice Admiral Ceremonial Sunset, while August Outside the medical compartments, Argus is going green:
Kit is good and the lads look
Historic Dockyard at
Peter Wilkinson, Deputy Chief of Bank Holiday weekend (August a state-of-the-art ‘bioreactor’ will process sewage in a more
after it, they’re professional and
Chatham just got a whole
Defence Staff (Personnel): “For 30 and 31) brings smugglers to environmentally-friendly manner, while greener air conditioning
this is second nature to them all.
the past three years, the nation and refrigeration plants are also being installed.
This is Smudge’s fi rst tour

the dockyard.
lot busier following the has come together on June 27 to On September 19 and 20 step
Sailors’ messes and accommodation are also being revamped
to Afghanistan, despite having
announcement of the first
celebrate Veterans Day. back in time and join in a ‘salute in the refi t package which will keep A&P workers busy till the
served all over the world,
national Armed Forces
“To build on this success, from to the ’40s’. See year’s end.
including Norway, Greece, Egypt
2009 the day will also celebrate uk for more details.
and even a year in Diego Garcia,
the men and women still serving
The former naval base on the
in a career spanning more than
in our Armed Forces and those
Medway has been planning a
17 years.
who may one day
series of events for

I’ve been in camoufl age since I
come to serve.
the coming months
was three and playing soldiers all
“We are planning a
as 2009 marks the
my life. I was always going to join
whole range of events
25th anniversary
up. I’ve travelled the world and
across the country,
of its closure as
had some experiences. Armoury
and Chatham will
an operational
is a trade for me and one I’ve
have a leading role
been doing for 13 years.
to play.”
But with the
It’s satisfying to get out here
Sir Ian Garnett,
addition of a new
and do the job I’ve trained to do.
Chairman of the
date in the calendar,
I know that what we are doing
Chatham Historic
suddenly Chatham is
here is making a difference and ad
Dockyard Trust,
going to be the focus
I’m playing my part in that.
of national attention.
Smudge’s deployment is due

“We are looking
Veterans minister
to end this month and with just
forward to arranging
Kevan Jones visited
weeks to go, his fi nely-tuned
a great day out which
the attraction in Kent
sights are now fi rmly on getting
will enable the public,
to announce that the
home to his young family; wife
young and old, from
Historic Dockyard
Sarah and three sons, Lewis, fi ve,
many different walks
had been chosen to
Harrison, two, and Bailey, one.
of life, to join the
host the first national

It’s always hard coming away
men and women of
Armed Forces Day on
like thislik . I’m missing my little
our Armed Forces
Saturday June 27.
ones and their early years, so of
and celebrate their
Hundreds of other
course I can’t wait to get back.
achievements both
events are expected
Most families have one child who
now and in the past.”
to be staged across the country
plays up a bit, but mine, they’re
The dockyard closed in 1984,
Replica models hand cast in white metal, black washed and polished to give a pewter effect,
to honour Service personnel past,
all bonkers! Sarah is an incredibly
but many historic buildings,
present and future.
mounted on a wooden plinth 11” x 2” with polished plaque.
strong person, she just gets on
vessels, facilities and artefacts have
According to the MOD, the
with it, being a mother and a
been preserved on an 80-acre site Picture A CLASS all models £40.00 + £3.00 p&p (UK only)
day – which will be held on June
housewife all on her own. My
in a burgeoning heritage area.
27 annually – will “provide the
missus is hoofi n’!
The Trust’s 25th anniversary
nation with a dedicated day where
We’ll go on a bit of a holiday
programme gets under way on
people can come together to show
together when I get back, spend
their appreciation and support of
April 1 when a 25-gun salute will
some good quality time together
the Armed Forces.”
mark the start of party time.
and get back to see my parents in
+ £3.00 P&P
Speaking at the launch of the
The day will also see the official
Burgess Hill.
initiative, Mr Jones said: “Our
opening of an exhibition charting
Until then,

UK Only
there’s the small
Armed Forces and veterans rightly
the progress of the Trust.
matter of continuing to make
deserve the nation’s support and
Easter weekend sees the Medway
sure that the equipment that is
Festival of Steam and Transport;
the backbone of 3 Commando
“They, and their families, have
hundreds of exhibits such as vintage
Brigade’s mission continues to
made and continue to make huge
cars, military vehicles and traction
operate smoothly.
personal sacrifices to ensure
engines, among others, will be on
the interests of our country are
display on April 12 and 13.
defended, and this day is our
May brings a week-long
chance to say ‘thank you’.
celebration of the childhood
“We are encouraging all legends of pirates – story-telling,
Models include A Class, U Class, T Class, P&O Class and Swiftsure Class.
communities to put on some type puppet shows and costumed
of event in recognition of their characters will be in evidence
To order your model send your name, address and daytime telephone number,
Armed Forces, both past, present between May 23 and 29, as well along with your cheque or credit card details (visa/mastercard) to:
and future. as a treasure trail, party games
“They form an integral part and Captain Flint, a “mischievous
Skytrex Ltd, Unit 1 Charnwood Business Park, North Road, Loughborough,
of the community, and this day pilfering pirate parrot”.
Leicestershire LE11 1LE Tel: 01509 213789
enables us to show our appreciation On the evening of Armed
of them.” Forces Day – June 27 – a separate,
The concept of an Armed Forces ticketed event will feature military
Day grew out of the Veterans Days, bands at a Beat Retreat and
019_NN_mar.indd 1 18/2/09 19:20:53
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