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26 NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2009
“It’s not a question of losing a warship.
We offer a lot more – albeit very different.

Continued from page 25marina kit aboard. fl ight commander even has a bath.” necessarily share that ‘exhilarating directing them to the fl ight deck and me
Largs’ very own blue fork lift.
It’s the fi rst time the latest variant of Such luxuries could mean there’s a fear feeling’, they did at least enjoy a novel loading dock (and, if they’re really ba
All that takes up barely half the loading
the Mk8 Lynx has deployed. It is, says of ‘going native’. Luckily (or unluckily, feeling. Several novel feelings actually. struggling, there are pictures of a blue
bay; the rest of the space was free for
senior maintenance rating CPO(AET) Baz depending upon your perspective), the Good accommodation. Good food boat and green helicopter). ho
the Falklands forces to use. Which they
Firth, “a very Gucci bit of kit”. tempo on Largs guillotines that. (better than at Mount Pleasant, they And there are helpful members of de
did.
And it’s a very Gucci bit of kit which “It has been hard work – 16 to 18- pointed out). And the odd touch of sea the ship’s company, too. Try standing Ar
The landing support ship was the crux
is heavily in demand (q.v. tonight’s hour days,” sickness. outside a door with a mug in your hand tw
of Cape Bayonet, a week-long exercise
unscheduled trips). Baz points out. “I’m not quite the water and see how long it takes for a long line tre
designed to test the ability of all three
219 Flight – aka the ‘Pillage idiots’ “A 14-hour day
Services to safeguard the islands.
in homage to Largs’ Viking mascot – is a bonus.

Working on an RFA
enthusiast to want to of troops to grow behind you.
do this full time,” says Joking aside, the ship’s senior warrant us
Bayonet has been staged for the past
are airborne 30-40 hours every month But it’s been
after RN ships is a great
platoon signaller Pte offi cer, WO2 John Kelly of 17 Port
quarter century in various guises and
deployed on the back of a Type 42. operational.
change. You see things
Gaz Pritchard. and Maritime Regiment, is delighted are
under various codenames (many readers
They’re clocking up around 60 hours in This is what “Not many of the that soldiers have had the ‘Largs Ha
might remember Purple Strike).
the Falklands. we want to
from another point of
lads have done experience’.
In all that time, range offi cer Marvin
That they can do so is thanks, in part, do. None of us
view. It’s been a dream
beach landings. It’s “Nine times out of ten, it’s Royal he
Clarke cannot recall working with a ship
to the TAS or ‘temporary air shelter’ – has been on been an absolutely Marines aboard – and for marines, this is did
“It’s not a hangar,” Baz stresses – a large an amphibious
either of Largs’ size or potential.
deployment for us –
great experience – bread and butter,” he says. Fa
barn-like structure bolted on to the fl ight ship before.
“If you have a destroyer or frigate,
deck behind the superstructure. There’s just so
there’s been a bit of
defi nitely the sort of “For the soldiers, this is something ge
thing we want to do totally new – and they’ve enjoyed it.
the accommodation’s not as good, the
It looks rather fl imsy – the sides fl ap much variety.”
kit we can use is much more basic, and
everything.
more of.” There were a few pale faces when they La
furiously in the wind – but it’s withstood The aircrew
moving people by aircraft is very, very
gusts of more than 80kts. And, crucially, agree.
– Lt Vince Owen
time consuming,” he says.

His platoon fi rst came on, but otherwise they’ve for
commander, Lt enjoyed the food, the accommodation do
it shields the Lynx and its maintainers “Working on Philip Dyson, and not having to march for miles.”
As the evening of Tuesday January
from the elements. an RFA after RN ships is a great change,” agrees. “We’re not marines, we don’t he
20 demonstrates. Thirty or so troops are
815 NAS fl ights typically embark in says Lt Owen. “You see things from have anything to do with the sea, so it’s It’s not entirely surprising that the so
due to be returned from shore to Largs
destroyers and frigates. Not only is the another point of view. It’s been a dream been a fantastic experience. soldiers enjoyed their short spell Bo
by landing craft so they can take part in a
fl ight deck huge but the ‘not hangar’ gives deployment for us – there’s been a bit of “We have been very warmly welcomed aboard Largs Bay. She’s not your ca
beach assault the following morning. the engineers three times more space to everything. – the lads have been chuffed. It’s typical warship (ok, she’s actually an fl a
Except the Falklands weather work on the Lynx during downtime. “The Falklands are a great training area certainly better than our normal form of auxiliary…).
intervenes. There’s no way of getting the Extra space isn’t just confi ned, so to – it’s a lot easier to do low-level fl ying, transport: the back of a four-tonne truck She’s almost brand new. She’s spic ca
men back by boat. speak, to the fl ight deck. Accommodation we can work with the RAF Tornados, and or on foot.” and span. The passageways are broad, oth
Good job there’s Plan B: Largs’ Lynx. isn’t bad. fl ying along the ridges at night wearing As sailing doesn’t come naturally to the dining and rest areas relatively fi s
It takes a good half dozen trips by pilot “On a Type 22 you’ll be living in a six- night vision goggles is an exhilarating soldiers, they needed a little help to get spacious. There’s a fi rst-rate gym.
Lt Cdr Lee Davies and his observer Lt man mess,” Baz says. “Here I have my feeling.” used to life at sea. Satellite TV. E-mail. Internet. (En
Vince Owen to bring the troops with their own cabin, en-suite, colour TV, Sky. The If the men of the Cheshires didn’t
Luckily, Largs has handy signs There’s even a fi rst-rate hospital (yes, I lik
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