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Helicopter links the generations

THE Navy’s versatile Lynx helicopter


● Cdr Neil Parsonage RNR

Ukrainian medal for reservist specialist

PROOF that the Royal Navy’s work is appreciated beyond our shores came when a reservist officer had the unusual honour of being decorated by Ukraine’s government ceremony

at a high-profile in the United Arab

Emirates. Cdr Neil Parsonage, who works with the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) anti-piracy staff in the Middle East, received an honorary medal from Ukraine’s Charge d’Affaires to the UAE, Oleksandr Khom’iak, for his assistance in the release of the MV Ariana, which had been captured by Somali pirates with Ukrainian crew aboard. Cdr Parsonage, from Preston,

said: “Only joint efforts from navies of all countries will help to reach success in counter-piracy activities.

“It is an extreme honour to be

awarded the Medal of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. “The award was for military co-operation with the Ukrainian military and for my part in assisting with the negotiations that led finally to the release of the MV Ariana and her largely Ukrainian crew from pirate captivity. “The award is only the 61st ever

awarded and I am the only British recipient to have received it.” In civilian life Neil is a solicitor/

advocate and Notary Public. Cdr Parsonage joined the RNR

in May 1987 and specialises in Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS). Last June he volunteered for mobilisation as Officer-in-Charge of UKMTO, taking command for an 18-month tour. The UKMTO provides data to coalition forces on merchant vessel movements and traffic flows, receiving between 800 and 1,000 ship position reports daily. Although set up as part of the response to the September 11 attacks by providing reassurance for the merchant shipping industry, by 2007 UKMTO had moved its focus towards anti-piracy and maritime security operations. UKMTO has been the pivotal point of contact between owners, negotiators and coalition military forces, and has successfully assisted in the resolution of a number of recent pirate hijackings, regardless of flag registry or nationality.

bridged the

generations at Yeovilton – and helped clock up a significant

milestone for an instructor.

Lt Keith ‘Chalky’ Bayliss used to fly the nippy machines more than 20 years ago while training pilots at the Somerset air base. Chalky, one of the earliest Lynx pilot instructors,

world in 1989 to become a pilot with British Airways. But 702 Naval Air Squadron

welcomed him back to see what has changed – and what hasn’t. Because Chalky’s son,


James Bayliss, recently joined the squadron for pilot training, and has been flying in the same aircraft type in which his father taught. The senior Bayliss, in his time a Qualified Helicopter Pilot Instructor, also instructed Lt Cdr Rob Dowdell, who had arranged to take his former mentor flying in a return to the Lynx cockpit. Rob, now himself one of the most experienced Lynx pilots, clocked up his 6,000th hour during the short flight – a significant achievement in military aviation. After the flight Lt Cdr Dowdell said: “It was impressive to


how well Keith can remember his checks and procedures after so long. “His handling

ability hasn’t

diminished even after so long outside the Lynx cockpit.” Having clearly impressed his former pupil, Mr Bayliss – who

● Cdr Jason Phillips at work

left the Lynx

Squadron tidies up view site

MEMBERS of 820 Naval

down paintwork, sanding walls and generally getting things tidy. The public viewing area, on the

the 2010 season,

Squadron gave up their own time to help prepare the public viewing area at RN Air Station Culdrose for

Air rubbing

eastern perimeter of the airfield, is a popular site from which the general public can watch the flying activity, and it includes a small café and a shop which sells naval and aviation souvenirs. Squadron CO Cdr

● Left to right: Lt James Bayliss, Lt Keith Bayliss RN (Rtd) and Lt Cdr Rob Dowdell

later admitted to “doing a little revision” – thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to fly in the Lynx. On their return they were met by Cdr Chris Mahony, the CO of 702 NAS, who presented Lt Cdr Dowdell with a little something to celebrate his massive achievement in Naval flying.

Rob Dowdell is one of only a handful of serving helicopter pilots

hours, which in his case includes the Wasp, Sea King, Merlin and Lynx.

to have achieved 6,000

Lt Cdr Dowdell is currently the CO of the Fleet Air Arm’s newest squadron, 700W Squadron, a unit

formed to support the introduction of the new Wildcat helicopter. The Wildcat will enter service in 2012, and replace the Lynx as the RN’s maritime attack helicopter – an aircraft that James will no doubt learn to fly under the tuition of Lt Cdr Dowdell and the Wildcat project team.

Here’s to success for Iain

A NAVY officer was vying for a place in a public speaking competition in the USA as Navy News went to press. Cdr Iain Upton won through three stages of the UK and Republic of Ireland Toastmasters national competition and now faces seven others in Sligo for a crack at the international contest.

Phillips decided that as part of his squadron was back home having been on operations in the Middle East, they could use some of their time to improve the facilities. He said: “820 Squadron is the longest serving squadron in the Royal Navy with a long history and a great heritage. “It participated in the sinking of Bismarck in 1941, provided cover for the Sicily landings in 1943, was involved in the attacks on Japan in 1945, and in 1982 was part of the Falklands Task Force. “Nowadays the squadron is as

busy as ever, with most of our aircraft and people on operations abroad with only short periods back here at Culdrose – an ideal time to help our neighbours!”

Breathing new life into training

A SENIOR rate at HMS Raleigh has won a commendation for his role in providing training to new recruits. PO Darren Swift (right) teaches firefighting techniques at the Torpoint establishment, and is also qualified to fit, test and train new recruits to use their respirators as a safeguard against chemical attack.

● Back row,

POET(WE) Paul Cassidy, AB(SEA) Ryan Partington; front row, WO2 Jef Webster (left) and CPO Ian ‘Tex’ Teixeira

Richmond’s Wigan peers

WIGAN is not a big town, so to find six pie-eaters in the same frigate is somewhat unusual. To find all six in the same department

is even more so – particularly as they had never met before they teamed up in HMS Richmond’s warfare department. Ranging in age from 20 to 38, the six are proud of their roots, and do their best to confuse their Southern colleagues with local slang and traditions.

Weapon Engineer Officer Lt Cdr Daniel D’Silva, in charge of the warfare department, said there is always good banter on the ship. “To have six sailors from the same town

working together on the same ship and same department is definitely unusual, especially given that Wigan is not exactly a famous seafaring town,” he said. “They’re all good fun though and great at their jobs so we all get on really well.”

from left: AB(CIS) Louise Essex, POET(WE) Wayne Bache,

Picture: LA(Phot) Keith Morgan

Since joining Raleigh in 2008 he has

developed and updated the chemical training package to make it more relevant and informative. And to help build the recruits’

determination and provide a competitive element to the training, PO Swift has introduced the

‘Golden Respirator

Award’ for the team of recruits who give the best performance.

PO Swift is one of just three RN

personnel trained in the use of a new generation of respirator. The commendation was presented by the CO of Raleigh, Capt Steve Murdoch. As Navy News went to press, PO

Swift was due to be settling in at his next job, on board Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall.

Back together, ten years on

TWO members of HMS Chatham’s ship’s company marked their tenth anniversary of joining the Navy together. LPT Joe Thornton and LET ‘Whiskey’ Walker, who joined HMS Raleigh in 2000 as Operator Mechanics, have once again found themselves serving together. And until recently they were accompanied by a third member of their original entry, LS Dan

● LET ‘Whiskey’ Walker

and LPT Joe Thornton of HMS Chatham

Picture: PO(Phot) Owen King


Honey, who left the Type 22 frigate a few weeks ago after his wife gave birth.

The three are all from Plymouth and their paths have crossed a number of times over the years. LS Honey and LPT Thornton

lived in the same area of Plymouth and knew each other before joining the Service, while LET Walker and LPT Thornton met at the RN Careers Office in Plymouth. As well

HMS Raleigh, their


Collingwood. From there, LPT Thornton and LET Walker served together for

training together at HMS

their they

continued time at

five years in HMS Cumberland; it was from there that they made the transition from OM to PTI and ET respectively. LPT Thornton said: “As we reach the ten-year milestone in our careers we are all back on the same ship and myself and Whiskey are in the same mess. “I would never have guessed

Joe Thornton and Dan Honey. “Now here I am, ten years done and back with my old shipmates again on the mighty ‘Up and At ’Em.’ Small world!” The frigate is currently on a

that I’d be back serving with Dan and Whiskey ten years on. “We are all looking to gain promotion soon and have enjoyed some fantastic experiences and ‘runs ashore’ around the world.” LET Walker said: “I remember joining the RN on the same day as

seven-month deployment around the Gulf of Aden, the Horn of Africa and the Somali Basin. She is the UK Flagship to the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and to Commander SNMG2, Cdre Steve Chick, who is a former CO of the ship. HMS Chatham is the lead vessel for Operation Ocean Shield, the NATO contribution to counter- piracy operations off Somalia.

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