NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2009 5
many of us...’
IT’S coming of age time for the
good ship HMS Chatham.
The youngest of the last four
Devonport-based Type 22 frigates
still in service with the RN has
marked her 21st birthday with a
‘party’ (plus cake naturally).
A lot’s changed in those 21
years. Swan Hunter no longer
build ships. Chatham’s acquired
a (semi-offi cial) motto, Up and
at ’em, plus a mascot, Mighty
But there are some constants,
not least the ship’s sponsor, Lady
Roni Oswald, who follows the
warship’s progress avidly.
She performed the honours as
’prise for effort
Chatham crashed into the Tyne
one January day in 1988. She
was there too when the ship was
commissioned on a spring day
SURVEY ship HMS Enterprise’s prolonged spell in and around Sierra in 1990. And she took the salute
Leone has allowed her sailors to link up with international advisers in the unusual surroundings
teaching and training the nation’s Armed Forces. of Portsmouth Naval Base
Twice the ship’s company have left the survey vessel behind and for the 21st anniversary
headed to Murray Town Naval Base, home to the Republic of Sierra commemorations.
Leone Armed Forces (Maritime Wing) – the Sierra Leonean Navy. Chatham is working up
That navy is a mere fi ve times larger than Enterprise’s ship’s company. towards a spell of FOST later this
Not only is it small (its forces comprise a handful of patrol boats and year, followed by deployment in
RIBs), but its fi nances are extremely limited (the total budget for the early 2010.
entire armed forces is only around £10m). That work-up took the Type 22
What it lacks in resources, it makes up for in attitude, as the three- to the eastern English Channel.
strong team loaned by Enterprise for a spell of realistic training found. On her way back to Devonport,
The XO of the naval base told the Brits “all of my sailors are bulging the ship diverted to Portsmouth
to feed off every word to further our knowledge”. for the birthday celebrations.
LS Jason ‘Jay’ Flay showed a class of a dozen sailors basic rope work, Lady Oswald was accompanied
rope handling and the art of seamanship. by her husband, former First Sea
His engineering shipmate PO ‘Jim’ Watt assisted the international Lord Admiral of the Fleet Sir
trainer, Canadian WO Bill Cumby, in showing how to maintain an Julian Oswald, for the occasion;
outboard motor. he inspected the ship’s company.
And Surg Lt Fiona Smith shared her experiences of coping with His wife meanwhile presented
casualties at sea, demonstrating new or alternative methods and how to Long Service and Good Conduct
improvise with the fairly rudimentary kit they have (pictured above). medals to PO Joseph Banks and
After a morning in the classroom, the Enterprisers headed on to the LLogs Greg Mold, then enjoyed
water in an 11ft open-top patrol boat to turn theory into practice. a slice of cake, ably cut by the
The naval base sits at the mouth of the Sierra Leone River – and hence CO’s wife Angela Huntington and
can be exposed to the full force of the Atlantic. Luckily for the crew and Chatham’s youngest sailor, AB
their RN guests, the gods were kind. Alexandra Turner.
The Sierra Leonean sailors demonstrated what they had learned at the With proceedings done and
hands of the Enterprise team with a man overboard exercise. cake scoffed, the ship hosted her
“The team witnessed the enthusiasm and professionalism of a team affi liated Sea Cadets of TS Anson
that does so much with so little,” said Surg Lt Smith. in Dartford.
WHAT does it take to send an amphibious fl agship half way
around the world for six months?
Well, let the good folk of HMS Bulwark explain.
As the assault ship made her way home to Devonport
after leading the Taurus 09 deployment to Brunei among
a myriad of nations visited, the ship’s company has
compiled some statistics to sum up their efforts.
Typically the ship’s company numbers around 350, but
for Taurus there were usually 250 Royal Marines aboard.
The commandos took part in seven exercises in four
different combat environments – desert, temperate,
jungle, riverine (Saudi Arabia, Cyprus, Brunei and 40,000 litres
To that end they needed 178 rolls of black masking
tape, 152 tubes of camoufl age cream, 198 tubes of
mosquito repellent, 40,000 litres of bottled water, and
4,000 rolls of toilet paper. They also loosed 15,368
rounds of ammo.
The ship’s supply chain transported 16 tons of
stores to 12 nations to keep Bulwark running…
… while the chefs, sorry, logisticians (catering
services (preparation)) served 83,000 sausages, 89,000
eggs, 99,600 slices of bacon to keep the ship’s
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