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Dauntless maintains Wrens connection

Medical Squadron gathers at Chivenor

THE unit may have been around for 38 years, but 2010 saw the very first Medical Squadron reunion dinner. Commando Logistic Regiment (CLR) was formed in January 1972, with one of the five constituent squadrons providing first and second-line medical support for deployed formations, based in the Longroom at Stonehouse Barracks. This meant support at every

level, from medics embedded with forward patrol units through to the manning and infrastructure of small field hospitals, surgical facilities or dressing stations throughout the medical evacuation chain. The dinner was held at

Chivenor, home of the squadron since 1995.

deployed on operations throughout the world since their implementation, including the Falklands, Iraq and Kuwait, humanitarian work after a hurricane in Montserrat and Antigua, Sierra Leone and Kosovo. Surg Cdre Noel Bevan, the Director of Royal Naval Medical Services, and Col Peter Taylor RM, the CO of CLR, both addressed guests. Cdre Bevan said the excellent

work of squadron medics mean that numerous lives have been saved, while Col Taylor said he was truly humbled by the hard work and compassion of the men and women of the squadron. The medics, along with other elements of CLR, will deploy to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 14 next March – the squadron’s third stint after Operations Herrick 5 and 9.

two medical troops, a support troop and a squadron HQ. Amongst the guest speakers at the dinner was Surg Capt Rick Jolly (Ret’d), a former Officer Commanding Medical Squadron. Surg Capt Jolly established and ran the British field hospital in the Falklands at Ajax Bay, housed in a disused abattoir. Hospital staff dealt with casualties of the attack on RFA Sir Galahad at Fitzroy, as well as wounded from the battles of Goose Green, Mount Harriet and Mount Longdon, also treating wounded Argentinean soldiers. Medical Squadron have

A total of 103 personnel staff

In almost four decades the role of the squadron has not changed a great deal.

HMS DAUNTLESS may be less than five years old but she has picked up a baton which was first carried almost 60

years ago. The Type 45 destroyer has a special affiliation with the Association of Wrens (AOW) through a land-locked post-war training establishment. In 1953 the existing WRNS training establishment at Burghfield, near Reading, was commissioned under the White Ensign as HMS Dauntless. It continued to train Wrens until closure in 1981, when females undertook their basic training alongside male naval ratings at HMS Raleigh.

Groups from the AOW have been taking every opportunity to visit

commissioning date loomed. In April six ex-Wrens from the

‘their’ ship as her

association’s Tyne branch who had trained at Burghfield, together with two wartime ex-Wrens, were given an extensive tour of the new destroyer alongside in Portsmouth. The group was escorted by CPO MEA Wendy Frame – also an AOW member. They were welcomed into the

Warrant Officers’ and Senior Rates’ Mess for refreshments, watched uckers being played in the Junior Rates’ Mess, visited the bridge, the Ops Room and generally explored the ship from stem to stern, taking numerous ladders in their stride.

The only thing they didn’t manage to do was get piped ashore, having to settle instead for a photo on the brow. The association was also represented at the launch of the ship in Glasgow in 2007, when Cdr Giulian Hill, the Senior Naval Officer of the ship, presented the ship’s crest to AOW president Anthea Larken. And representatives of the AOW were again on the invitation

list when the destroyer was commissioned in Portsmouth earlier in the summer. The AOW first appeared at the end of 1920 under the leadership of Dame Katharine Furse. Katharine Furse had led the

first Voluntary Aid Detachments sent to France, groups of civilians – the majority female – who served in roles such as cooks and later as nursing support. Upon her return to London in

1917, she was offered the post of Director WRNS. At the end of World War 1


there was a need to administer a large grant of money to ex-Service women by the Navy and Army Canteen Board, which led to the foundation of the Service Women’s Fund Committee in 1920. Thus the WRNS Friendly first renamed the

Society of Wrens, then, by the end of the year, the Association of Wrens, was formally set up in November 1920 with Dame Katharine Furse as president. The organisation now has more than 7,000 members, and membership is drawn from ex-WRNS/QARNNS personnel, together with those women currently serving in, or retired from the Royal Navy. Members also contribute to The

Wren magazine and the website See next month for more on the Association of Wrens

● (Top) Association of Wrens president

receives the HMS Dauntless crest from Cdr Giulian Hill; (above) members of

Tyne branch of the AOW visit Dauntless in the spring, escorted by CPO Wendy Frame (kneeling); (left) HMS Dauntless at her commissioning in Portsmouth Naval Base in June Picture: LA(Phot) Arron Hoare

A BUSY day and good weather helped City of Ely branch raise more than £600 for Help for Heroes with a stall outside the city’s cathedral. Shipmates were out in force on St Etheldreda Fair day, and as it coincided with an Open University graduation ceremony there were plenty of people milling around happy to support the cause.

the Anthea Larken

Concord ensign is lowered

THE HMS Concord Association held its decommissioning reunion in Portsmouth, the home port of the post-war destroyer. Friday evening saw members

celebrate the launch of the ship on May 14 1945, and the following evening former sailors from as far afield as Spain, Gibraltar, Canada and Australia joined shipmates for a decommissioning banquet in Portsmouth Guildhall, presided over by association chairman S/M Peter Lee-Hale. Also there was Capt Tony the sole surviving


captain of the seven who commanded the destroyer. A memorial service the

following day was held in St Ann’s Church in Portsmouth Naval Base – the same venue as the inaugural service in 1995. During proceedings the roll was called of all those members of the association who had crossed the bar by a representative of each of the six commissions, each assisted by a cadet from TS Hornet, the association’s adopted Sea Cadet unit.

The Last Post and Reveille were sounded by POC Harry Penton of TS Tiger, the Chippenham unit. After the service all moved to

TS Hornet in Gosport for a buffet lunch, followed by a march-past of the association and cadets, the salute being taken by Admiral Sir Jeremy Black, former CINC Portsmouth and a member of the association, having served as a midshipman in Concord. Ceremonial sunset was

performed by the TS Tiger band, during which the Concord ensign was lowered for the last time; it was later handed to the Gosport cadets to be laid up at their HQ, joining the ship’s bell, which was handed over some years ago and is used at all unit parades. Later that evening members

gathered in the Nelson lounge at the Maritime Club for a farewell ‘Noggin and a Natter’. After commissioning, Concord sailed to the Far East to become part of the 8th Destroyer Flotilla, serving in the Korean War (where two sailors were killed by enemy fire) and the Malayan Emergency. The destroyer was also present when HMS Amethyst made her dash to freedom during the ‘Yangtse Incident’, though her precise actions are a matter of heated debate, with supporters claiming the ship sailed upriver to shield Amethyst from the guns of the powerful Woosan Forts, and that official reports of the day deliberately wrote Concord out of the picture by simply stating that the two ships met at the mouth of the Yangtse.

Fair day for fundraising at Ely

Members were back out on the streets to welcome home the 1st Bn the Royal Anglian Regiment – the Vikings – after a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. Ely members and their standard

were joined by shipmates from March branch in showing their appreciation as the troops paraded through the city and attended a service at the cathedral.

Palace party

S/M Tom Robson, of the HMS Bruce Association, and his wife Rita have attended Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his unswerving dedication to the Royal Navy and particularly to ex-Boy Seamen. Tom, from Darlington, was

born into a mining family and spent a short period down the mines before joining the Navy as a Boy Seaman in his mid-teens in 1947 at HMS Bruce in Fife – despite the loss of his brother, who died when HMS Unbeaten was sunk during the war. Tom served 15 years, leaving the

Navy as a petty officer qualified in torpedo and anti-submarine warfare. Part of that service was in the

Far East during the Malayan Emergency.

One of his main aims now is to ensure that the history of Boy Seamen is recorded for posterity. He has also written a book entitled Boy Seamen RN – the True Story, and he lectures on various Naval themes including Boy Cornwell VC, Capt James Cook, Mutiny on the Bounty, Jutland and the Yangtse Incident. Tom said: “Our day at Buckingham Palace was brilliant and we were so proud to enjoy such a nostalgic occasion. “Temperatures were in the 80s.

Several people were affected by the heat but we stuck to naval tradition and remained in the Dress of the Day.”

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