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● Trafalgar’s crew man her casing as they bring the boat into Devonport for the fi nal time
“IT’S important that
class boats formally passed published. There’s still an air assistant marine engineer
we remember a
into history in Devonport with of mystery about submarines. offi cer.
There’s a lot of things we have “The kit has changed and
decommissioning ship,
a decommissioning ceremony
which brought her career to an done which would really interest because of the age some of the
that their passing is end. people.” equipment breaks down more
marked after a long and
Former crew, previous And there we have to leave frequently. But the ethos of the
proud life.”
commanding offi cers and the it… people, their philosophy has
Cdr Charlie Shepherd, the
person who launched Trafalgar “When you go to Drafty, you stayed the same. Trafalgar has
Commanding Offi cer of HMS
on a summer’s day in 1981– and say you want a ‘jolly boat’, not a always been a good boat.”
Trafalgar, has a good point.
who has followed the boat’s ‘sneaky boat’,” says AB(WS(SM)) WO2(ME(SM)) Sean Boulton
We trumpet the arrival of
progress avidly ever since – James Launce. is another Trafalgar stalwart.
He told Drafty that more than He helped her recommission a
state-of-the-art this, billion
Lady Fieldhouse joined the
six years ago. He’s among the dozen years ago and is serving
pound that. We cheer each ship
current ship’s company for the
longest serving members of the with her once more as she
hurrying down a slipway into the
farewell service.
crew. passes out of service.
water for the fi rst time.
The widow of the popular
“Trafalgar has a reputation He’s had every T-boat with
But the passing of a long-
submariner and Admiral of
as a jolly or ‘sunshine boat’,” the exception of Turbulent. Traf
serving ship or submarine, well,
the Fleet Lord Fieldhouse told
Trafalgar’s ship’s company: he adds. “We’ve been almost stands out. “She’s probably the
that’s something rather more
“You are marvellous and I will everywhere – Singapore, Goa, most enjoyable boat to serve on
miss you.” Rio. We’ve been very lucky.” in the Fleet. Good crew, good
Let’s not mourn the
Throughout Trafalgar’s 26 ‘Lucky’, too, is a relative jollies. She’s the most colourful
decommissioning of HMS
years of service, the boat’s thing in the Senior Service. boat with the most colourful
Trafalgar. Let’s celebrate the
patron has been kept fully
● Lady Fieldhouse chats with Trafalgar’s Guard of Honour during
achievements of the boat which
apprised (as far as possible) of
the decommissioning ceremony
Accommodation aboard the characters.
T-boats is spartan (hot-bunking, “But on top of that, we have
gave her name to a class of
the T-boats deeds. company and they’ll stress Runs ashore in the Silent over 30 guys sleeping in the been asked to do a job – and we
“Some ships can simply peter the bond between this band of Service are a comparative bomb shop if needs be), storing have always done it.
Let’s celebrate the deeds of
out,” says XO Lt Cdr Scott brothers. thing. Compared with a Type ship for sea, loading weapons “The last thing we did was
a boat which has served her
Johnson. “We have been busy “This is the best set of lads 23 on NATO duties in the is about brawn, not pressing Perisher which really pushes
nation for 26 years.
right to the end. I have worked with,” says Med, Trafalgar fares a button. Heads and shower a boat. We came through that
Let’s remember how she dealt
“We’ve achieved everything LCH James Ellison. He badly. Compared with a facilities are rudimentary. But at smiling.”
a blow against the Taleban,
asked of us this year. Everything transferred from skimmer bomber, Trafalgar does least there’s a NAAFI… or rather Which is a nice way to fi nish.
striking their strongholds in
which you can do operationally world to Trafalgar. He’s quite nicely. the nutty bucket. Don’t shed a tear for Trafalgar.
Afghanistan with her Tomahawk
we have done this year. You not an out-and-out Partly it’s down to There’s a fi xed rate for bars “Let’s celebrate everything
cannot ask more of a boat – ‘deep’, so he can draw her design – Trafalgar of chocolate – 50p irrespective she’s achieved,” says Cdr
Let’s remember a warship
particularly one which is 26 comparisons between unlike the rest of the of size or quality. “If you get a Shepherd. “She owes her name
going out not with a whimper
years old.” the two. class has a propeller Yorkie, you dip in, get a Curly to a defi ning battle in Royal Navy
but with a (simulated) bang.
Indeed, while she might show “I love it on board. not a propulsor – and Wurly, you dip out…” points out history and it’s sad there won’t
Active till the very end, just a few
her age externally, internally Of course, there’s still partly it’s down to her marine engineer offi cer Lt Cdr be a Trafalgar in commission.
weeks ago she could be found
Trafalgar is in remarkably good the rank structure, but kit (the class do differ Richard Cragg. “She’s done her duty right
hunting Type 23s off Scotland,
nick. it’s a lot friendlier. It’s in their weapons and The price of Yorkies and Curly to the end – and she’s done it
teaching a new breed of potential
The ‘T-boat vultures’ have like a large family – very sensors outfi t). Wurlys may have risen a bit since well.”
submarine drivers the art of
already raided some of the kit for hard to explain really.” “There’s a romantic notion Trafalgar put to sea a quarter of Well? Some of Cdr Shepherd’s
command. The green fl ares in the rest of the hunter-killer fl eet The leading hand has 130 that we still do the Tom Clancy a century ago, much of the kit ship’s company are even more
the Inner Seas were proof that (more about that next month). shipmates (aka “130 food stuff,” says weapons engineer inside may have changed, the emphatic.
Trafalgar got her quarry. They can gnaw away at the critics”) who are already offi cer Lt Cdr Wayne Stafford. Cold War may have ended, but “There’s a healthy rivalry
But above all, let’s remember boat’s vitals but, as Cdr Shepherd scattering throughout the Silent “And we still do. But there’s so bring some Traf old boys aboard among the other submarines,”
the hundreds of men who have points out, “Trafalgar’s not Service. much more these days: working and they’ll fi nd lots still the same says Lt Cdr Cragg. “The fact is
done business beneath great about the steel tube, the black Most are sad to leave: in the with task groups far more than (particularly aft). we’re on Trafalgar and we’re
waters in a warship whose name hull. She’s about the people. hunter-killer world, Trafalgar has we ever did. Mike Tonge joined Trafalgar a better boat than any of the
resonates throughout naval Their pride, their ability. That’s the reputation as a ‘jolly boat’: “Stealth is our most valuable for the fi rst time in 1988. others.”
history. what makes Trafalgar.” she gets more than her fair share asset – but it also means that Twenty-one years down the So that’s the gauntlet laid
The fi rst of Britain’s Trafalgar- Speak to any of the ship’s of runs ashore. so much of what we do is not line the lieutenant is the boat’s down then…
pictures: la(phots) alex cave and james crawford, frpu west
0003_NN_Jan.indd 103_NN_Jan.indd 1 110/12/09 10:49:050/12/09 10:49:05
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