NAVY NEWS, MARCH 2010 5
fi nally over
WITH just weeks to go before
AFTER four months in defence
HMS Liverpool sails across the
watches – and with only 11 days
Pond as the guardian of the
rest – the crew of hunter-killer
nation’s fl agship, she’s been given
submarine HMS Torbay are back
a thorough workout off Plymouth.
in home waters.
Six weeks of intensive Basic
For the third time in 18
Operational Sea Training were
months, the Devonport-based
arranged for the veteran Type
T-boat found herself east of Suez,
42 – Britain’s oldest destroyer –
this time conducting exercises in
the last step down a long road as
the Indian Ocean.
Liverpool emerged from refit in
In the past six months alone
the team aboard have trained
her home base of Portsmouth.
the equivalent of one and a half
D92 is earmarked to escort
submarine crews (that’s 172
HMS Ark Royal on the Navy’s
deeps for those whose maths is a
flagship deployment of 2010,
Auriga. The destroyer will provide
Indeed, since coming out of a
long range air defence for Ark,
refi t period in Faslane in 2008,
which only has close-support
Torbay has nurtured more than
weapons to deal with a threat
200 trainee submariners.
from the skies.
Seventy of those were new
Not that there should be any
to the Silent Service and were
real threats: the Auriga task group
welcomed to this close band
deploys to the Eastern Seaboard
of brothers by being awarded
of Canada and the United States
their coveted dolphins when the
to exercise with our closest
nuclear submarine arrived in
Soudha Bay, Crete.
Liverpool arrived at BOST, run
After presenting the latest
by the Flag Offi cer Sea Training
batch of deeps with their
organisation in Devonport, for an
dolphins, Torbay’s CO Cdr Ed
Ahlgren said proudly: “In just six
The FOSTies were impressed
months we have managed to train
(and they don’t impress easily...).
the equivalent of one and a half
CO Cdr Ollie Hutchinson said
crews which is remarkable given
Picture: LA(Phot) Pete Smith, FRPU East
his ship’s company had sailed a
our recent operational tempo.
30-year-old warship in “first-rate”
“We fully recognise the
condition into Devonport.
importance of training ‘one’s
‘Aid is getting out...’
“Liverpool may be a classic
relief’ and I think it is a credit
destroyer but she has what it takes
to the training organisation
to perform any operational task
both at sea and ashore that successfully,” he added.
we have ensured a substantial “From here we must continue
throughput.” to work hard, learn from our
To prepare for their third mistakes and strive to improve
period of operations in the Indian in everything that we do. Only
Ocean, Torbay’s crew completed
LINED up on the jetty at
“We have discussed ‘what ifs’ the Dutch are well supplied with bland – “who really eats cold pop then will we be ready to deploy
a series of training exercises with
Marchwood, a column
and are ready to react to change.” chocolate (good) but also a lot tarts for breakfast?” but better operationally.”
Flag Offi cer Sea Training before
of Land Rovers awaits
The most pressing need for of paté and biscuit browns (bad); than Canadian rations which are, The destroyer’s now back
commencing the long passage Haitians as Largs Bay reached French meals (surprisingly) aren’t apparently, “a blatant US copy” in Portsmouth making fi nal
through the Straits of Gibraltar to loading aboard RFA Largs their waters was shelter. as good as the UK rat packs; US made worse by the fact that the preparations for Auriga, which is
the Suez Canal.
Bay as Britain’s relief
“The wet season is not far away MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) are instructions are in French. due to begin next month.
Despite the best efforts of 50
windsurfers to slow her down as
mission to Haiti prepares
– the priority has to be shelter.
she sailed through the Straits of
to set off.
The question has to be whether it
will be in place in sufficient time,”
Messina, the submarine made it
And as you read this, said
said Maj Steve Melbourne RM,
to Suez on time in preparation for
Land Rovers should be delivering
heading a British Forces team
her fi fth transit of the canal since
millions of pounds worth of aid –
on the ground – dubbed ‘HMS
the submarine’s commissioning
especially makeshift shelters – to
that ill-fated Caribbean nation.
The team was despatched by
Having successfully fulfi lled
The amphibious support ship
Permanent Joint Headquarters
operational requirements east of
headed into ten-metre seas and
in Northwood as part of the
Suez for the time being, Torbay
was knocked about by gusts in
international relief effort.
returned home to the South
excess of 50 knots as she made
As well as offering advice and
Coast for a maintenance period in
her way to Haiti.
aassistance,s the team also laid
preparation for her 2010 tasking.
Despite the heavy weather er
ththe groundwork for Largs
in the eastern Atlantic, Largs s
BBay’s arrival – aided by WO1
Take me to
got there – right as we were
Jamie Secker from 17 Port
going to press (which is
and Maritime Regiment.
why, sadly, we can’t tell
More than a month after
you what she did upon
the quake, the country
was still being shaken by
But we can have a good
aafter-shocks, causing already
stab at it...
unstable structures to collapse
Largs carried a mix of aid,
and infl icting fresh casualties –
donated either by the British
including among rescue teams.
THE RN’s head of personnel government or by Britons through
There was also a particularly
dropped in on Britain’s biggest various charitable appeals in the
poignant reminder of the disaster
warship to observe progress in wake of the January 12 earthquake
when Haitians spent a weekend
leadership training. which devastated an already-
in mourning on the one month
Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral impoverished nation.
anniversary of the earthquake.
Sir Alan Massey arrived aboard The vessel’s loading dock and
“The colour of mourning
HMS Ocean in a landing craft, Mexefl otes – powered rafts –
in Haiti is white – the streets
courtesy of the helicopter means she can offl oad stores and
were fl ooded with immaculately-
carrier’s inherent Royal Marines deposit them on a beach when
turned-out women in dazzling
unit, 9 Assault Squadron. there is no port, or when dock
white outfi ts going about their
CO Capt Simon Kings took facilities have been wrecked, which
daily business,” the Royal Marine
the admiral on a guided tour they were in the country’s capital,
of the 22,500-ton assault ship Port-au-Prince.
offi cer said.
– including a look around the “The plight of Haiti has clearly
Based in tents at Port-au-Prince
Mighty O’s newly-improved caught the sympathy of the entire
airport – now so busy that the
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