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● POPT Ken Rutherford

Ken bows out after 49 years

A MULTI-talented sportsman has retired after almost half a century of service with the RN and RNR. Ken Rutherford joined up

at HMS Ganges in 1961 as a 15-year-old, and was soon making his mark as he represented the training establishment in shooting competitions. Over the following 25 years

he saw service in Aden and the Malacca Strait (HMS Centaur) and the Gulf (Puncheston), and represented various ships and establishments at football, rugby, rowing,

TWO ‘customers’ of the Search and Rescue service at HMS Gannet have been reflecting

Gannet customers well on the mend

on their experiences. Both Jacqueline Oliver and Sandy Brownlie had cause to celebrate the arrival of the distinctive red-and-grey RN Sea Kings when they found themselves in difficulties. In Jacqueline’s case, the Gannet team were lifesavers.

As the Icelandic ash cloud rolled cycling and athletics,

amongst other sports. He also bumped into John Lennon and Yoko Ono on their wedding day in Gibraltar, and hosted Peter Sellers at a cocktail party in Mauritius. By now re-trained as a PTI, Ken left the Navy in 1986, but he never slackened his pace, throwing himself into a new career with the RNR, both in uniform and as a civilian. During this time, as a British

cycling coach, he coached Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton, and he organised the Maritime Reserve field gun crew for the Brickwoods competition. Ken bowed out in June at the age of 63 years and 11 months, and rounded off a distinguished career by attending a royal garden party at Holyrood House last month.

in, grounding flights in UK air space, her life was in the balance as she suffered a ruptured aortic aneurysm in her chest. The 46-year-old mother-of-two from Cupar in Fife needed to be flown to the Heart Hospital, part of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for emergency medical care. She was one of the few people to take to the skies that day as the helicopter dashed south. “When she came to us she was extremely sick – dying basically,” said John Yap, consultant cardiac surgeon at the Heart Hospital. “If she hadn’t been able to fly here she would not have survived.” “We just flew as fast as we could and hoped that we would get her there safely,” said Lt Al Hinchcliffe, pilot and duty aircraft captain, adding that air traffic controllers cleared air space for the Sea King as it made its way to a landing site in Regents Park. With the patient delivered, exceptional permission to fly was expired and the crew landed at RAF Northolt then returned to Scotland by road – their aircraft was back a week later. Sandy Brownlie’s plight was not quite as desperate, but a year after the incident the 63-year-old travelled to Gannet to deliver his thanks – and a gift of a bottle of

● AET Colleen Campbell Picture: LA(Phot) Darby Allen

Colleen engineers medal win

A ROYAL Naval engineering school hosted the national finals of the UK Skills Aeronautical Engineering competition which saw military personnel and civilians go head-to-head in a series of challenges. Two sailors took part in the competition, hosted by HMS Sultan in Gosport, which trains air and marine engineers for the Royal Navy.

● Above: Sandy Brownlie (right) with CPO Daz Craig and Sandy’s walking partner David Sievewright in front of the helicopter which rescued Sandy; (right) Obi Agu, consultant vascular surgeon, John Yap, consultant cardiac surgeon, and Jacqueline Oliver at Heart Hospital in London


Deerstalker whisky – in person. Sandy had fallen 30ft while

walking with a friend in the Trossachs, breaking his leg. In particular, Sandy was keen to thank CPO Daz Craig, the duty team’s paramedic and winchman on the day. Sandy said: “Boy was I glad to see the big red helicopter coming towards me. I was so glad that the crew was quickly with me. “I was in quite a lot of pain

and was glad to receive some morphine from the Darth Vader- like figure who came to my aid.

Emergency serviceman

BREAKDOWNS, pirates – it’s all in a day’s work for Alan Van Gorph.

And the RN Reservist took part in the third annual Uniform to Work Day to help draw attention to the role played by Reserve Forces in daily life as well as on the front line.

When he is not saving motorists in distress on the road AA patrolman Alan Van Gorph is a petty officer Royal Navy Reservist with overseas experience on counter-piracy operations. His main day job takes him throughout the South West in his distinctive yellow van, while his second sees him based in Plymouth at HMS Vivid. While both jobs offer him variety and challenge, it is the naval role which took him overseas. Alan has been compulsorily mobilised abroad for 12 months to give advice to merchant shipping in distress due to piracy He said: “I joined the RNR

17 years ago because I wanted something else to do, something useful and challenging. “The Navy has certainly given

me everything I expected. “I was mobilised in 2007-08 to

serve in the Far East. “My specialism is maritime trade operations, so I advised and helped out merchant shipping when they got into trouble with pirates off Somalia and in the Red Sea. “It was a bit like being in the AA in that respect – helping out those on the move.’’ Alan said his employer is very

understanding about allowing him time to undertake RNR work: “I must thank my AA managers for their flexibility in allowing me

● RN Reservist Alan Van Gorph in his AA van

to fit in RNR duties when it is needed. “I would certainly recommend RNR membership which had benefited my work for the AA – I have learned leadership and first aid and firefighting skills which are all relevant.’’ Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox said: “On Uniform to Work Day

we should recognise the sacrifices our Reserve Forces make on our behalf.”

There are more than 45,000

reservists in the Forces, serving across the UK and overseas, including Afghanistan – 600 in the latter country alone, working in a variety of roles from chaplains to combat infantry soldiers.

● Trainee warfare specialist Conor Lovett (centre) with brothers ET Chris Lovett (left) and AET Kieran Lovett

Picture: Dave Sherfield

“This turned out to be Daz, but when I first saw him he still had his helmet on and it looked like a bit of a Star Wars moment. “I have nothing but praise for him and the crew and the way they helped me.”

The helicopter had been training in the area, but the rescue was far from straightforward – Sandy had fallen in a heavily wooded area, which meant the helicopter had to hover much higher than normal and Daz and the stretcher had to be threaded out of the trees and winched up around 150ft.

Sharks gather for reunion dinner

MEMBERS of the Sharks, the former RN helicopter display team, are due to gather at the Wardroom in Yeovilton next month to mark the 35th anniversary of the team’s formation. Flying the Westland Gazelle, the Sharks operated between 1975 and 1996, bowing out the year before the aircraft was withdrawn from the basic flying training role in the Navy.

The team was drawn from the RN’s helicopter basic flying training squadron, 705 NAS, based at RNAS Culdrose, and all the display pilots were helicopter flying instructors. Training and performances at

national and international air shows was done mainly in members’ own

time, raising the Fleet Air Arm’s profile and promoting sponsoring companies.

The Sharks Breitling Reunion Dinner has been organised by former Shark Trevor Rieck, RAN (Ret’d), and guest of honour will be Rear Admiral Simon Charlier who, although not a Shark, carried out flying training with 705. The event is being held by kind

permission of the Wardroom Mess President at HMS Heron, Cdr Ric Fox – a member of the 1986 display team.

Around 100 people are expected to attend,


Gazelle aircrew who were not part of the Sharks team, such as the Pusser’s pair display teams and competition squads.

AETs Colleen Campbell and Mike Purcell serve at RNAS Yeovilton, and 23-year-old AET Campbell, from Glasgow, returned to Somerset with a gold medal after competing in six tasks. “It was quite challenging in some respects, and I was up against five other people so there was a lot of pressure to beat them,” she said. The event sees the winners entered into a selection pool for a place to represent the UK at the World Skills competition in London in October. Budding engineers from schools in Scotland gathered at Clyde Naval Base’s Off-Site Centre for the Young Engineers’ RN Challenge. Organised by Captain Naval

Recruiting, the event gave pupils from 13 schools the chance to learn about engineering and the opportunities offered by the Navy. Almost 90 children aged from 14 to 16 took part in a challenge centred around realistic disaster- relief scenarios, such as restoring power to a hospital hit by an earthquake or clearing rubble from a vital supply route. Offices were used for planning, then skills were demonstrated on two giant models using materials such as string,

wire, straws and cardboard.

Award for Brad A CANADIAN officer has

received an award from the Mayor of Fareham in recognition of his contribution to his adopted town. Lt Cdr Brad MacEachern

was presented with the HMS Collingwood Award by outgoing mayor Cllr Ruth Godrich at the mayoral inauguration ceremony. Brad is on a three-year exchange

at Collingwood’s Warfare Training Group, and he and his family take an active role in the community, particularly through the Locks Heath Free Church.

And then there were three...

WHEN 18-year-old trainee sailor Conor Lovett marched out on parade to celebrate the completion of his training, his two brothers knew exactly how he felt. Because Chris,

20, did the

same thing three years ago, while 23-year-old Kieran followed his brother through HMS Raleigh last year.

Chris is now at HMS Nelson

in Portsmouth while Kieran is serving in aviation training ship RFA Argus.

Also there at the Torpoint basic training establishment were parents Gina and Mark. Conor,

Southminster, in Essex, said he enjoyed the training, and will miss the mates he made over the nine- week course.

who comes from drinking

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