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Amphibious deployment in Lancaster

Or frogs. One frog in particular, by the name of Fred. We at Navy News have a bit

WHEN HMS Lancaster returned to Portsmouth from east of Suez she was greeted with weather more suited to ducks.

of a weakness for ship’s mascots of the toy variety, so when we heard about the frigate’s ‘Super Exploring Frog’ we thought he deserved a wider audience. Following in the wake of HMS Newcastle’s infamous Salty the Bear et al, Fred joined Lancaster

to help bring lessons to life for schoolchildren, in this case Year One at Woodcot Primary School in Gosport. Teacher Louise Rycroft was seeking ways of showing a lively class of five-year-olds around the world without leaving their home town, and with a little help from husband Mark she was able to achieve that by proxy. The children stayed at school and Fred travelled on their behalf, starting his journey by post – Mrs Rycroft’s charges marched down to the post office with him, taking it in turns to carry the parcel. A few thousand nautical miles

away, HMS Lancaster was making her way to Cyprus, and it was there that Mark picked up Fred, courtesy of the British Forces’ Post Office. Once he’d recovered from his flight, Fred had a busy time learning all about the ship and her sailors and relaying what he found out back to Woodcot School in frequent reports and photos. “I think he enjoyed his time in Lancaster and sent back a good report,” said LS ‘Scouse’ Rycroft, a seaman specialist.

“I think the children are hoping he will deploy again – it depends where I go next.” Lancaster, having helped protect merchant ships from pirates off Somalia, is now on exercises in home waters and due to enter refit next month. Fred, meanwhile, has settled back into life at school, according

● HMS Lancaster arrives home in Portsmouth in the rain

● Fred takes the controls of HMS Lancaster’s sea boat

to Louise.

He goes home every night with a different child, as does his oppo Harriet the Hedgehog (who declined the trip with Lancaster as she is nervous of flying).

Fred is apparently keen to go abroad again; he has been on holiday with a teacher – which is why he recognised Malta when he arrived with the frigate.


● Fred checks the radar for shipping then plays uckers with his shipmates (above), and turns in after a tiring day (top)

● From top: Fred checks the compass and keeps a good lookout for other shipping, then seeks a bit of help with his reading book from the frigate’s Education Offi cer; above, the intrepid amphibian safely back home with the children of Year One at Woodcot Primary School in Gosport

 

 

       

 

 

● Fred the Frog takes a close look at HMS Lancaster’s Lynx (above), watches TV in the junior rates’ mess (right) and writes a postcard to his fans at Woodcot School (above right)

 

 

 

  

 

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