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Government’s DEC Haiti Appeal.

Those supplies were successfully offloaded by Largs last month, since when she’s been helping the UN deliver food to outlying communities. Her loading dock and Mexeflote means she can deliver aid to communities where there is no port or where harbour facilities are limited.

First she took food to the city of Gonaïves in the north of the country, 65 miles from the Haitian capital.

Some 400,000 Haitians who live in and around Gonaïves, which has been hit by a succession

of hurricanes in

recent years, as well as the earthquake, will rely on food handouts for the foreseeable future.

With the only road to the city

from the capital in a poor state, and the rainy season imminent, the decision was taken by the UN’s World Food Programme to send one month’s worth of food by ship – Largs Bay.

That food was painstakingly loaded at Varreux Beach near Port-au-Prince. Bags of rice weighing 50kg were loaded into one-ton bags by locals, then moved by troops using forklifts on to Largs’ Mexeflotes for transport to the ship, where

more soldiers from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment offloaded them.

In all, 1,500 tons of rice and

ready meals were transferred to the RFA, enough food to sustain 400,000 people for a month. In Gonaïves, the process

was reversed and the food put in storage for distribution to locals.

“One of the biggest problems the Haitians have is getting food out to the more outlying regions and remote villages that have had their transport networks destroyed by the quake,” said 3/O Dan Tilt. “We may only be here for a short time, but we are going to be as useful as we can and help as many people as possible.” He and his shipmates found plenty of evidence of a ‘can-do’ attitude: nearly every road in Port-au-Prince has been cleared of rubble... which is being used to build a new breakwater and jetty; cranes which collapsed have been removed and the port is working at a greater capacity than it was before disaster struck.

“Despite the destruction,

there is hope,” said LA(Phot) Pete Smith. It’s his imagery which adorns these pages. He’s a man of pictures rather than words

normally, but like everyone on Largs Bay he’s been moved by his experiences on Haiti. Above all, it’s the spirit of

the ordinary Haitian people which has impressed the ship’s company of Largs Bay to a man (and woman). “The Haitians we’ve met have a smile on their faces, a cheery disposition and an eagerness to get on with the job,” photographer Pete added.

“They are also eager to escape the heat and lie under their trucks in between loads – but I don’t blame them for that as it’s hot.

“In general, people are getting on with their lives as best they can.”

Surg Lt Jim Watchorn, Largs Bay’s ship’s doctor, adds: “Haitians are resilient and hardy people. They are damned almost annually with some form of catastrophe or other. “You cannot deny the deprivation of the situation and the conditions people are living in, but perhaps this is only apparent to an outsider looking in. In most cases, a simple but contented life continues regardless – and will continue to do so long after we have gone home.”

Test yourself with the Forces Pension Society quiz and see how you score.

Question 1

What is the minimum number of years you must serve to be entitled to some form of pension and gratuity entitlement on: a. AFPS05? b. AFPS75?


A. Five years for AFPS75; two years for AFPS05 or B. Five years for AFPS75; five years for AFPS05 or C. Two years for AFPS75; two years for AFPS05

Question 2

What Death in Service benefits are payable if you die in service?


A. B. C.

3 Times Salary for AFPS75; 3 Times Salary for AFPS05 or 3 Times Salary for AFPS75; 4 Times Salary for AFPS05 or 4 Times Salary for AFPS75; 4 Times Salary for AFPS05

Question 3

How long does an individual have to apply to transfer a Preserved Pension out of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme into another Defined Benefit pension scheme?


A. AFPS75 12 months; AFPS05 12 months or B. AFPS75 6 months; AFPS05 3 months or C. AFPS75 12 months; AFPS05 6 months

Question 4

At what age is a Preserved Pension payable to an individual who leaves the Armed Forces today on: a. AFPS05?

b. AFPS75?


A. B.

Age 60 for all of it on AFPS75; age 65 for all of it on AFPS05 or

Age 60 for service up to and including 5th April 2006 and age 65 for service from 6th April 2006 to exit date on AFPS75; normally at age 65 but can be drawn as early as 55 with actuarial reductions on AFPS05 or

C. Age 65 for all of it on AFPS75; age 65 for all of it on AFPS05

Question 5

Does ‘dynamising’ apply to the pension of an individual who leaves the Armed Forces under:

a. AFPS05?



b. AFPS75?

It does not apply to AFPS 75 but does apply to AFPS05 or

B. It applies to both schemes or C. It applies to AFPS75 by does not apply to AFPS05

For the answers to these questions and information about how we can help you, visit

JOIN US NOW – and protect your interests

Membership is open to all members of the Armed Forces, serving and retired, and their spouses or partners, parents, children, stepchildren and grandchildren.

Forces Pension Society,

l Troops from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC manoeuvre their Mexeflote laden with food into the Largs Bay’s loading dock off Port-au-Prince


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