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NAVY NEWS, JULY 2009 17
Severn, fi ve
and VIII
THERE could be no more fi tting
a representative at a promotional
push for the country’s most
famous – and historic – chain
of ports than its oldest naval
squadron.
The Cinque Ports trace their
history back to somewhere
between the 11th and 13th
Centuries. The Royal Navy fi shery
protection squadron can follow its
roots back to 1379.
And so it was that HMS
Severn found herself in Dover
to help the historic ports (fi ve
originally, including Dover, but
they eventually grew in number
to more than a dozen) launch a
tourism campaign.
Key to that campaign is a
IN THE latest instalment of
promotional DVD. But popping
an occasional series on the
into your local DVD store to pick
myriad jobs in the Royal
up the fi rst copy would be far
Navy and Royal Marines,
too easy. No, a little ‘stunt’ was
S/Lt Alex Burn provides
laid on in the Strait of Dover to
an insight into a day in the
launch the programme with HMS ● Not the Falklands – although the weather and stark terrain of north-west Scotland where Gloucester found herself during work-up aren’t
life of a YO (young offi cer)
Severn at the hub. too dissimilar from the South Atlantic
aboard HMS Monmouth.
The River-class warship was
joined by Tudor historian Dr
David Starkey – well known for
his books and TV documentaries
on Henry VIII and Elizabeth
I – who accompanied Severn’s
boarding party as they raced
across the waters to inspect the G force goes south
YOUNG Offi cers are the most
junior offi cers on board – we
have left Britannia Royal Naval
College but are yet to take our
Fleet Boards, our fi nal step before
becoming fully commissioned.
fi shing vessel Roy’s Boys.
This interim period is called
There the boarders found a
Common Fleet Time (CFT);
suspicious stash of DVDs, which IT’S been a busy few
on home turf in Portsmouth by her
four months on board a warship
was brought back to Severn along
weeks for HMS Gloucester
sponsor, the Duchess who bears
working and living with the ship’s
with the ‘smugglers’. the name of destroyer and city and
company. Our aim is to witness,
Instead of being hauled
– a hometown visit, a
who launched the Fighting G 27
understand and partake in as
before magistrates for their
Royal guest and the start
years ago.
many evolutions as possible.
crime (the normal punishment of a six-month tour of duty She spent time chatting with
After a quick breakfast it
facing fi shermen who fall foul of
all squeezed in.
was up to the bridge to assist
the ship’s company about the
Severn), the crew of Roy’s Boys
the Navigating Offi cer, taking
The Fighting G’s hectic spell
commitment they’d put in to bring
‘suffered’ tea and stickies aboard
bearings and maintaining look-
began in the historic city with a
the Type 42 out of refi t ahead
the patrol ship.
out as we entered Plymouth
very public show of support and of the six-month deployment,
All of this gave Dr Starkey a
Sound for a boat transfer.
affection by locals. during which time the destroyer
good – if unusual – insight into
We often help out with
Although the destroyer can’t sail will relieve her sister HMS
the work of the fi shery squadron,
navigation as it is important for
up the Severn as far as Gloucester, Manchester, currently protecting
which is at sea pretty much every
us to understand, and appreciate,
she could at least dispatch half her
day of the year ensuring that
the Falklands. the process behind how the
ship’s company and her Lynx (plus
trawlermen stick to the rules.
“My ship’s company has put in ship manoeuvres and where she
an RN/RM recruitment team).
“‘It was a real privilege to
a huge amount of effort and work actually is. Ultimately Chris
meet a top historian and learn
The sailors spent the morning
for this deployment,” said Cdr Iain (the other YO on board) and I
so much about Henry VIII’s role
rattling tins around the city centre
Lower, Gloucester’s CO.
will be logistics offi cers, but it is
in forming today’s Royal Navy,”
– good Gloucestershire folk gave
“The varied tasks that we’ll
important that we understand
said Lt Chris L’Amie, Severn’s
generously to Help for Heroes
be required to undertake are of
each department as we will need
navigator.
(£777) and the RN Benevolent
vital importance to the safety and
to work closely with everyone,
“The support provided by the
Fund (£110) – or handing over
security of the people in Britain’s
whatever their specialisation.
● Lord Mayor of Gloucester Cllr Chris Witts chats with members of
Cinque Ports to the navy is not
the proceeds of their fundraising
Gloucester’s ship’s company in front of the city’s cathedral
South Atlantic Territories as
After embarking our
forgotten and the ship’s company
efforts.
well as the UK’s wider maritime
guests, the ship prepared for a
always enjoy visiting an area of
The destroyer’s marathon team
nautical music including Hearts of and Royal Naval Association.
interests.”
Replenishment At Sea (RAS). I
such history.”
had collected £3,000 after taking
Oak and the Pirates of the Caribbean After all that rattling, singing and
As well as performing maritime
took this opportunity to assist the
Indeed, the Cinque Ports are
part in various, er, marathons.
theme (no, we don’t know what it praying, the sailors were obviously
Seaman Specialists as they rigged
security duties in the South
often regarded as the progenitors
The benefi ciaries of their sweat
sounds like either…). a little hungry and thirsty, so they
the equipment for this diffi cult
of the Royal Navy – the Crown
and tears were the youngsters of
Events then moved indoors. decamped to the King’s School for
Atlantic, Gloucester is serving as a
and complicated evolution.
afforded the ports special rights
the Spring Centre which helps
The 140 sailors were joined by an offi cial reception and chance to
(rather well armed) freighter.
I was hoping to take part in
and privileges as long as it might
children with disabilities and their
fi ve times as many worshippers chat with locals.
The Falkland Islands Museum
this manoeuvre partly because
use their ships if needed.
families from across the county. in the 900-year-old cathedral “It was a successful and
in Stanley wants to expand its
it’s in the task book we have to
Festivities continued once
Meanwhile in the grounds of for evensong to bless the ship enjoyable day and the ship’s
display on the 1982 confl ict which
complete, but also because I
Severn arrived in Dover. The
Gloucester Cathedral… With and all who sail in her during company can deploy encouraged
defi nes the archipelago in the eyes wanted to see what each piece of
boarding party, plus a guard of
the tin-rattling done, the ship’s their impending South Atlantic by the knowledge that the people
of many. equipment did and why.
honour from Severn, were greeted
company assembled for a formal deployment. of Gloucester wish them well,”
It is being loaned photographs So when the Chief Bosun’s
by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
inspection by the city’s Lord Among those praying for said Lt Gareth Shrubsole, second and artefacts from the war by
Mate asked if I wanted to play an
(or rather locals dressed up as
Mayor (the 529th no less) Cllr Gloucester’s good fortune were Offi cer of the Watch. the Royal Naval Museum in
active role, I was more than happy
them) and former Chief of the
Chris Witts, while the Band of the 50 members of the Fighting G Rather closer to the deployment Portsmouth, with the Fighting G
to take him up on his offer and
Defence Staff, Admiral the Lord
Army Air Corps provided suitable Association, Royal British Legion departure date, the ship was visited acting as courier.
found myself with a spar, making
Boyce. Today the admiral is Lord
sure one of the connecting lines
Warden of the Cinque Ports; he
stayed on the winch drum.
was formally presented with the
DVDs at an offi cial launch in
Dover Castle.
A Gulf in size
On completion of the RAS
the ship went to Action Stations
in preparation for a battle with
“As a member of the Royal
FOST staff simulating battle
Navy’s oldest squadron,
damage to the ship in the form of
it’s particularly fi tting that
SO MUCH in demand is the
output of Iraq’s oil fields. fi res and fl oods.
Severn should be involved in a good ship Kent that she’s
To that end, the good folk of Kent I joined a damage control
commemoration of the historic
taken to the water twice these
have spent the winter carrying out patrol – searching every
liaison between the Cinque Ports
maintenance on the Type 23 frigate, then compartment in my section for
past few weeks.
and the Navy,” said Commanding
conducting training which will ready them damage after sustaining a hit from
Less than six months after a demanding
Offi cer Lt Cdr Steve Moorehouse.
specifically for Gulf operations (such as a missile and reporting it.
deployment east of Suez, the men and
Severn knows Dover quite
running boarding parties) as well as more However, soon after fi nding a
women of HMS Kent are on a demanding
well – she’s paid two visits to the
typical exercises and evolutions (such as simulated fl ood I was drafted into
deployment again… east of Suez.
gateway to the UK in the past
firing Seawolf missiles). helping shore up a hole in the
Meanwhile, in the rather less
four months. She’s now resumed
“My team has worked extremely hard ship’s hull below the waterline.
challenging waters of Mote Park in
more normal fi shery protection
to prepare for what is the RN’s core After hammering several soft
Maidstone (although the ducks do get
duties.
business – deploying warships around the wood wedges into a hole, I made
in the way...) a 36th-scale replica of the world,” said CO Cdr Simon Hopper. it secure by constructing a more
How we won
Type 23 frigate sailed for the first time. “Our role in Operation Telic is crucial substantial timber structure – a
To ‘big Kent’ first. She’s bound for the to supporting the recovery of the Iraqi ‘proud and breast’ – all under the
tip of the Gulf, where she’ll be until the economy as well as promoting greater watchful eye of the FOST staff
the war
tail end of the year. peace and stability in the region. and, with the water still ‘rising’.
After last year’s varied Far East As for ‘mini Kent’, she underwent We were successful in stemming
deployment – Kent visited China, more than five hours of trials in a park the fl ood.
THE Navy’s vital – and often Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, and lake ahead of her inaugural deployment – At the end of the day’s FOST
misunderstood – role in the chased pirates around the Indian Ocean – to navigate the Medway from Tonbridge exercises it was back up to the
Great War comes under the the 2009 tour of duty will largely be fixed to Maidstone (a good dozen miles) on bridge to help with the navigation
spotlight in Portsmouth on in a single location. July 11. for the return to the breakwater
October 10 with a talk hosted It will be Kent’s task to safeguard The scale replica of Kent (12ft long, and another boat transfer.
by the Society for Nautical Iraq’s two oil platforms – a duty currently 1½ft wide and powered by a couple of I had just enough time to run
Research (South). performed by the ship’s Portsmouth 12v electric motors) has been built by an iron over a shirt and put a lick
Eric Grove, Professor of sister HMS Richmond – which account Cygnets Model Boat Club in Maidstone of polish on my shoes before the
Naval History at Salford for most of the country’s wealth. to celebrate their 50th anniversary. evening meal in the wardroom.
University, regular on TV Although the majority of British forces She’s been over a year in the making It is often here that we hear the
documentaries and Navy News’ have pulled out of Iraq, the RN’s mission and her marathon sail will raise money heads of departments’ take on the
expert book reviewer, will in the Gulf remains virtually unchanged – for Demelza Hospice for children – day’s events, how the exercises
outline the RN’s contribution to as does the codename, Operation Telic. which fittingly is also supported by the went, which parts of the ship
victory between 1914 and 1918 It still provides training for Iraq’s Navy full-size Kent. performed particularly well and
in ‘The Shaft of the Spear’. and Marines, courtesy of a dedicated You can learn more about the model which need a bit of work.
The talk at 2pm in the Royal team at Umm Qasr and RFA Cardigan Kent at www.cygnetsmbc.com/hms_ A few ‘dits’ over coffee before
Naval Club and Royal Albert Bay in coastal waters. kent_project/index.html we head down to our cabin to
Yacht Club in Pembroke Road, And it continues to patrol the Khawr write up our experiences and
Old Portsmouth, is open to all Al Amaya and Al Basra oil platforms fi ll in the relevant parts of our
● ‘Mini Kent’ undergoes trials in Mote
although non-society members ensuring no-one threatens the mass of
Park, Maidstone
taskbooks before settling down in
will be asked to pay £2. tankers loading their holds with the Picture: Paul Dengate our racks.
017_NN_July.indd 1 19/6/09 18:05:03
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