NAVY NEWS, AUGUST 2010
Look – we’re on TV...
● Steve Tanner rehearses the Highbury Area Band before his fi nal concert as musical director
Concert is coda for Steve
STEVE Tanner is a busy man, with plenty of calls on his time. So something had to give, and
that something was one of the top youth bands in Hampshire. But the only reason Steve (58) felt he could relinquish control of the Highbury Area Band (HAB) was because he felt it was passing to a safe pair of hands. Steve is a former Royal Marines
bandie, having spent 24 years specialising in flute and saxophone as he worked his way up to the rank of band sergeant. Along the way he spent time with the band on the Royal Yacht on and off between 1977 and 1989. “I really enjoyed that – the places you travelled to were marvellous, and we had a couple of Royal honeymoons as well. But the cruises to the Western Isles were the best ever…” he said. As the end of his military career loomed, so Steve looked into the teaching side of his life’s passion. “In my last three years in the RM Band Service I became an instructor for the volunteer band at HMS Nelson,” he said. He also explored the teaching profession, and by the time he left the Band Service he was ready to make the step to enthusing youngsters with his love of music; he now works as a peripatetic music teacher in Hampshire specialising in woodwind instruments. Another commitment he picked up as he left the Royals in 1989 was that of musical director of HAB, formed at Highbury Junior School in Portsmouth in 1976. Now, 21 years on,
conductor’s baton has been passed to his deputy, long-time band member Richard Horn, with Steve leading the band for the last time at their summer concert. “This is a high-standard band, and lots of members of HAB have also been members of Hampshire county musical ensembles, some getting as far as national ensembles,” said Steve. “It has always had that quality, and I have tried to keep that standard up. They have a terrific reputation for young players.” Steve said he will remain
involved with HAB as far as other commitments allow – he is still a gigging musician at functions, holiday camps,
special events; he is a key member of the Royal Marines Association concert band and Petersfield Orchestra, and directs other bands and school ensembles, including the Solent Symphony Orchestra and HumDrum AmDram. Several former members of HAB have gone on to join military bands or to study music at top universities and conservatoires.
THE BBC’s Countryfile has been down to Dartmouth to find out about the maritime training that is carried out on the river.
On a glorious Saturday morning the production team were working with staff and students from the Navy’s officer training college to put a piece together to commemorate the D-Day landings of 1944 and the tragic story of Operation Tiger at nearby Slapton Sands.
Presenter Matt Baker may be carving out a new career for himself, but to a number of the New Entry cadets on the river that morning he will always be the ‘action man’ presenter from Blue Peter. Matt was interested to hear about all the activities the cadets were doing, and was surprised when he was told about their varied backgrounds before they joined the Royal Navy.
A three-man crew from the Initial Warfare Officer Course took the BBC team out on to the river in a picket boat, which allowed Matt to try his hand at some basic ship handling. They then transferred to a motor whaler in order to perform a ‘man overboard’ drill. Cdr Jeff Short, the Training Commander
at Dartmouth, spoke to Matt on board Hindoustan, the college’s static training ship, explaining the importance of the maritime training environment available at BRNC.
● Countryfi le’s Matt Baker chats to an offi cer cadet at Dartmouth Picture: OC Lee, Vanguard Division
Cdr Short said: “The cadets were so enthusiastic when they spoke to Matt that the whole production team went away with an incredibly positive impression of Britannia
Royal Naval College and the Royal Navy. “We are hoping they might come back to film other facets of our training and its relevance to the wider countryside.”
... on two different BBC shows ...
THE TV spotlight was back on Dartmouth when flagship BBC programme Antiques Roadshow set up at the college. The programme’s experts set up under parasols on the parade ground and surrounding ramps and welcomed more than 1,500 people eager to identify a hidden treasure or answer some nagging questions about an heirloom. After months of technical,
logistical and security planning the large team which makes up the show were delighted when the
Devon sun shone brilliantly on the day of filming allowing everyone to remain outside. Presenter Fiona Bruce (pictured,
left, by Craig Keating of VT Flagship) was pleased to be in Devon: “It is such a beautiful setting, although I know it has been quite complicated getting everyone here.” As Fiona walked around the
parade ground area with a busy filming schedule staff,
cadets and members of the public were delighted to be able to speak with her and get photographs
taken with her. Commodore of Britannia Royal
Naval College Cdre Jake Moores said: “Without doubt BRNC is a beautiful setting for the Antiques Roadshow and we were very happy to have them in the College. “Alongside all the antiques
we were able to demonstrate our modern day purpose too.” Any gems or oddities unearthed
during the day’s filming will not be revealed until the show is broadcast during the autumn series.
... while we’re on ITV (sort of)
FIVE sailors from Clyde Naval Base travelled south for an old-fashioned street party – but it wasn’t just any old street.. This was one of the most famous streets in the
world – Weatherfield’s Coronation Street. The trip was part of The Sun newspaper’s
Armed Forces Day celebrations, where they called on members of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF to head to the TV soap’s set in Manchester for a right old knees-up. Lt Paul Mulroy, WO Robert Wilson, CPO Blue Deacon, LOM Mick Hughes, Logs Tommy Tucker and ET Rocque Fernandes all represented the Naval Base at the event, getting to meet members of the cast. “It was great to be able to brush shoulders with the stars,” said Lt Mulroy, 41, who lives in Helensburgh with his wife Niki. “In addition to a tour of the street, there was a typical street party buffet which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
ONE member of the most recent Space Shuttle flight took time out from his programme of events in Portsmouth to call in at the RN Submarine Museum in Gosport. Stephen Bowen was one of the Atlantis flight crew who spoke of their experiences to schoolchildren and interested groups in Portsmouth (see right-hand column).
“The party was the perfect opportunity to
show our appreciation for all members of the Armed Forces, in particular those in active service across the world,” he continued. “I can think of no finer setting to get our message across than the great British institution that is Coronation Street.” Lt Mulroy and the others got the chance to meet soap stalwarts such as Bev Callard – who plays Liz McDonald – and the soap’s longest running actor, Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow.
The servicemen also took the opportunity to star in front of the cameras during the visit, helping to celebrate Coronation Street’s 50th anniversary, which is due to be screened later this year.
● Lt Mulroy (bottom right) and some of the other Armed Forces participants enjoying the Coronation Street party
Deep space meeting Historical changes
submariner, was greeted by JJ Molloy,
technical services manager at the museum. Stephen, who described the collection as “amazing”, and JJ swapped dolphins – the astronaut’s badge had been below the waves and into space.
And Stephen, a US Navy former deep and now
THE head of the Naval Historical Branch, Capt Christopher Page, has retired after more than a decade at the helm. The branch, established after
World War 1, is the repository of the Navy’s operational history and has many priceless documents and maps among its archives.
Visitors thrilled with days of (ab)seil
VISITORS to one of the major attractions in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard have been treated to an extra spectacle in recent weeks. Maintenance workers from
ABFAD Ltd have been abseiling down the masts and swinging through the rigging of HMS Warrior in their bright orange working clothes (see picture left). The firm has been involved in
the coating of the masts, fighting tops and platforms,
ventilation cowls and hull. Alan Fada, ABFAD company director, said: “We are used to working at power stations, shipyards and industrial sites, so to
come here to Warrior is a pleasure and we truly look forward to it. “Everyone on board, the local people and the visitors to the ship have been so nice, asking the lads lots of questions and are really very interested in what we are doing. “Working on board Warrior is an all-round nice experience. “The new lads, working here for
the first time, have all said it’s the best job they have ever done.” The work will help ensure
Warrior, the RN’s first ironclad warship,
looks her best in
December, when she will celebrate her 150th birthday.
But far from being a museum library,
it exists to provide perspective
current operational matters. Capt
Page said: “The
purpose of the branch is to provide advice drawn from the lessons of history. “Nothing is ever completely
new. Something similar has always been done, or tried.” He added: “Senior officers
coming through the Service now are all very enlightened about the value which this historical perspective provides.” Capt Page, a naval engineer
who served in the Royal Yacht, is a naval historian – he wrote Command in the Royal Naval Division, a biography of Great War hero Brig Gen A M Asquith. The new head of the branch, Portsmouth, is
Stephen Prince, a historian in the department since 2001. Stephen is a former lecturer BRNC
at Dartmouth and
Staff College Shrivenham, specialising in joint operations, and worked as a staff officer in Afghanistan in 2006.
Culdrose stalwarts move on
LONG-serving members of various departments at RNAS Culdrose have decided to call it a day.
One member of Culdrose’s air traffic control team has retired after 38 years of service.
PO Graham Robinson joined
the Andrew in 1972 as a trainee aircraft handler, and is believed to be the last of a generation of handlers who cross-trained in air traffic control, making the switch in 1987.
He has served on the flight decks of such ships as HMS Ark Royal,
Bulwark, Hermes and
Invincible, and did a tour of duty in Bosnia.
Close behind Graham in
terms of service is Geoff King, Operations Officer with 750 NAS, having managed 35 years with the RN – and 28 with the squadron. Geoff joined up as a 16-year- old Radio Electrical Mechanic (Air),
starting with Buccaneers,
and after eight years in he began his flying career in 1973 as a missile aimer on Wasps.
Geoff subsequently flew in Sea
Princes, Sea Devons, Sea Herons, Wessex helicopters and Jetstreams, joining 750 NAS in 1983 as a navigation analyst. After a spell in Ark Royal he
returned to 750, and even leaving the Service didn’t break the link, as he rejoined as a MOD civil servant, finally leaving with over 6,000 flying hours in his log book. Also bowing out at Culdrose is a king-pin of 849 NAS’s engineering department.
Senior maintenance rating WO Richard ‘Taff ’ Thomas leaves the Navy after 32 years, during which time he worked on Wessex helicopters as well as Sea Kings. Taff handed over to WO Nikk
Lovelock-Jeffels just before the squadron embarked in HMS Ark Royal for the Auriga deployment.
Past and future
A NEW exhibition at the Mary Rose Museum looks at how Tudor Portsmouth was represented on maps.
important maps from the British Library, UK Hydrographic Office and Admiralty Library, including what is believed to be the earliest scale map of an English town (from 1545), two Elizabethan maps of the Solent and a chart of Portsmouth Harbour which, according to University of Portsmouth expert Dr Dominic Fontana,
Armada of 1588. The exhibition runs until October 17.
bearing – was presented to the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis when they visited Portsmouth. It will be taken back to Houston
could pre-date the
And looking ahead, there is a chance that a piece of the warship may voyage through space. The parrell – a 3in wooden ball-
in Texas in the hope that it might make it on to a future flight. This is not the first connection
between the revolutionary warship and the space programme. Michael Foale, the first Briton
to walk in space, was a volunteer diver on the Mary Rose project.
CHIEF Scout, TV star and RNR Honorary Commander Bear Grylls celebrated his 36th birthday on board submarine HMS Vengeance. The adventurer was in the area and visited FOSNNI Rear Admiral Martin Alabaster, who offered him a tour of the base – including a visit to the boat and the chance to meet Royal Marines from Fleet Protection Group’s Boat Troop. Bear was impressed by the
adventurous training efforts of the boat’s Port crew; six have qualified as mountain leaders, a dozen skied in the 2010 championships and a team raised charity funds in the Three Peaks Challenge.
The exhibition brings together
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