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10 NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2010 Contraceptive thrills

veteran Vulcan sweeping through Cornish skies. Or we could tell you about the pinpoint accuracy of the RN Raiders parachute display team. We could marvel at the daredevilry of the Aerosuperbatics

Breitling Wing Walkers. We could wax lyrical about the home-grown talent on display at

Culdrose Air Day: the Hawks of FRADU, the Jetstreams, the Merlins, the Bagger Sea Kings.

● Have giant red condom, will perform... The Red Marrows pose after their performance at Culdrose Air Day

infl ated condoms covered in red papier mâché to the William Tell Overture.

And you know the way our minds work... The 24,000 visitors to the Cornish air station’s annual air day may have been forgiven for thinking there was an error in the show’s programme: 1600 Red Marrows.


Obviously, that must be the Red Arrows, the RAF’s world-renowned display team. Er no, it would be a mix of matelots, ex-matelots and civvies performing Red Arrow-esque manoeuvres in the main ar with those giant red condoms (balloons(balloons weren’t big enough...) standing in for the Hawks.

he ms

of matelots, forming Red e main arena

● Crowds mill around the static displays at Culdrose...

ex-charge chief Brian Toney, who decided ge of Gweek

The Red Marrows are the brainchild of w

Word eventually reached senior officers at Culdrose and before you can say ‘Bob’s yoursay ‘Bob s you performing before

nior of ay ‘Bob’s your

uncle’, the Red Marrows were performing befor a 1,500-strong crowd.

“We really hyped it up,” says Brian who provided the commentary (he normally works on the Merlin Mk3 team at Culdrose).

“The public had no idea what they were in for – most thought it was a misprint.”

Now the Red Arrows are famed for their ‘Diamond Nine’ formation and the red, white and blue they trail across the skies. Clearly, nine British eccentrics in white suits can’t do that... “We had red, white and blue ribbons taped to the back of the helmets,” Brian explains. Obviously...

● ... and at Portsmouth Navy Days

After nine minutes and 27 seconds, the Marrows mayhem was over (that was as long as the musical accompaniment lasted). Next up in the arena, more normal fare: a field gun run... Elsewhere, the air base’s 3,000-plus personnel explained their work at home and abroad (the Sea King squadrons are deployed in Afghanistan, the Merlins are in the Middle East, on the back of Type 23 frigates, and with HMS Ark Royal in the USA), and the Search and Rescue teams demonstrated the art of winching. Sea Cadets showed off their drill skills, fi eld gunners ran the

who decided

to spice up an event in his village of Gweek use the Red

a couple of years ago “because the Red Arrows probably wouldn’t come...”...”

g in for the brainchild of

Red Arrows ay

a team. n

ed papier mâché o t nds work...

Or we could tell you about a bunch of landlubbers dressed in white overalls and blue helmets strutting around an arena carrying é to the William T

NOW we could talk about the majesty and might of a

legendary competition, and the Band of HM Royal Marines brought everything to a close with a ceremonial sunset.

In short, a fun time was had by all and, after months of planning, air display organiser Lt Cdr David Lambourne was relieved that this year the weather gods were kind (the 2009 show in particular was a bit of a wash-out).

“I’m very happy with the way air day went – we were blessed with ideal weather and saw some excellent fl ying,” he said. “It was a memorable day for everyone concerned. I’m now looking to next year’s event.” Now the Navy News team didn’t see any teams performing with

giant red condoms at Portsmouth Navy Days. We did, however, see Royal Marines walking around carrying huge inflatable bananas and enormous stuffed toys (they won them at the various stalls apparently...). We also

stalls a

Navy Days – this year spread over three days in Portsmouth Naval Base – saw people travellingin Portsmout fr m tom he West Midl among

milling around the Fleet’s fl agship public event of the year. N y Days – th uth Nav

event Nav

milling around n of the ye


training and casualty tr atment s The latter, fresh from refi t, open

public a rare glimpse of the military’s state-of-the-art fl oating medical facilities. h

Richmond, fishery prote tio Cattistock and land ng cr


public a rare glimpse of the mi medical facilitl ies. Alsoo

Also on show were frigates Westminster, Cumberland, and d, fish

o on show were friga Cattistock and landing craft Aachen. en e

shery protection ship HMS Tyne, minehunter HMS nding craft Aa

rotec on ship achen.

ates W ip

We p

The Royal Marines’ Fleet Protection Group demonstrated how they could take down pirates by rapid roping from a Lynx, a vintage Hawker Sea Hawk jet demonstrated its graceful lines over Portsmouth Harbour, the Black Cats Lynx display demonstrated they could pirouette and dance through the sky, and the Royal Artillery Black Knights parachute display team demonstrated that they could leap into the water… but not walk on it (that’s reserved for Royal...). The whole event was brought to a close on Sunday evening by the Band of HM Royal Marines Beating the Retreat through the dockyard to Victory Gate.

“We were lucky with the weather but we were also pleased that the scale and variety of the whole event proved so popular,” said Robert Bruce, managing director of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which jointly staged the event with the Naval Base.

“We have had many more visitors than is normal, even on a busy summer’s weekend and we are delighted with the result.”

Naval Base Commander Cdre Rob Thompson added: “Navy Days was a huge success. The mainly dry and warm weather played a part but a big draw was seeing the Royal Navy’s ships and personnel at close hand.”

om r t, opened up her hospital to give the eatment ship RFA Argus.

s, t p R ned liita

proved the biggest draws, but despite the substantial size ofproved the biggest draws, b, ut Britain’s two newest des oyers, they were dwarfed by aviation training and casualty treat The latter

s two newest destr yers ship

The £1bn warships HMS Dauntless and Daring estroye

Marines of the past, present and future. The £1

£ bn wa

the past, p warshiip

ps ut

ear his al

among other places to see the Royal Navy and Royal Marines of t

om the West Midlands, Surrey and Bedfordshire g other pla

aces t

lan to


ba s

b c ap e also saw some 25,000 people M

● The Black Cats Lynx display team ‘dance’ over Portsmouth Harbour

● The Aerosuperbatics Breitling Wing Walkers demonstrate their acrobatic skills (and fearlessness) over Culdrose

pictures: la(phots) martin carney and dean nixon

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