2 NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2010
HMS Montrose HMS Gloucester
HMS Sabre/Scimitar HMS Ocean HMS Manchester
HMS Talent HMS Tireless
40 Cdo/845 NAS/846 NAS/ 857 NAS/FDG/MASU
FASLANE ROSYTH HMS Gannet HMS Echo DEVONPORT
CULDROSE 771 NAS
HMS Severn YEOVILTON PORTSMOUTH HMS Archer
HMS Westminster HMS Atherstone
800/801 NAS HMS Portland Plus one ballistic missile submarine on patrol somewhere beneath the Seven Seas
HMS Clyde RFA Black Rover
HMS Northumberland HMS Somerset HMS Enterprise HMS Chiddingfold HMS Middleton HMS Pembroke HMS Grimsby RFA Bayleaf RFA Lyme Bay RFA Cardigan Bay
Fleet Focus Fleet Focus
And right about now the men and women of the Royal Navy should be returning to duty after August leave. If they had it, of course: several thousand Senior Service personnel remained deployed over the summer. There was no let-up (nor, sadly, end to sacrifice) for 40 Commando in Afghanistan (see opposite). There was no let-up in the war against pirates (waged by HMS Northumberland – see right – soon to be joined by HMS Montrose – see page 4) or in maritime security operations in the Gulf (carried out by HMS Somerset – see page 6). There was no let-up in work around the Falklands, where HMS
WELL, that’s summer over for another year (cheer up, in 2011 it falls on a Saturday...).
Clyde and HMS Portland took part in an exercise with air and ground forces, before the latter ship made for South Georgia (see pages 22-23 for some stunning imagery); Portland will soon be returning home as HMS Gloucester’s South Atlantic-bound to replace her (see page 4). There was no let-up for HMS Chiddingfold which changed an engine despite 50˚C heat (see page 7). And there was no let-up for the Silent Service; aside from the constant bomber on patrol, HMS Talent remains east of Suez, while HMS Tireless deployed to join her (see page 5). And finally, summer is the busiest time of year for the boats
of the University Royal Naval Units who use the educational recess to immerse their students in the full Senior Service experience (see pages 18-19). That said, there was a flurry of ships returning to the UK for summer leave: HMS Chatham’s anti-piracy patrol is done, as is HMS St Albans’ work in the Gulf, while the bulk of vessels committed to Exercise Auriga – Ark Royal, Liverpool, Sutherland and Albion – are all back in Blighty. Only HMS Ocean is not among them; she’s staying across the Atlantic for the next month or so (see pages 4-5). Also in home waters HMS Echo visited Dublin (see page 6), HMS Atherstone made for Manchester (see page 8) and HMS Turbulent enjoyed some fine dining... for a good cause (see page 8).
While Culdrose is celebrating 24,000 visitors at its air day and senior officers in Portsmouth are chuffed with one thousand more people visiting Navy Days (see page 10), the crew of the Type 23 frigate laugh at such figures. Why? Well, because an estimated half a million people saw the ‘capital ship’ at the seafront air show.
unappreciated (and always smelly) work of the Fishery Protection Squadron (see pages 24-25). All three of the Navy’s major public events this summer have been blessed with good/excellent weather. After Yeovilton Air Day last month, this time it’s the turn of Culdrose Air Day and Portsmouth Navy Days which between them pulled in nearly 50,000 visitors (see page 10). Ten times that figure apparently saw HMS Westminster, which headed to Sunderland to take part in an air-sea display at the town’s waterfront (see right). While the ‘capital ship’ was showing off for the public, HMS Richmond was entertaining new Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox ahead of the looming shake-up of the military (see page 5). Talking of demonstrations, sailors from HMS Diamond visited RAF Coningsby to join in dogfights with their affiliated Air Force squadron (see page 13). Diamond’s main armament will be the Sea Viper missile which is all-but operational after a successful salvo launch against a drone target in the Med (see page 7). Also on the technological front, submariners can now learn the lay-out of a T-boat using a 3D computer simulation, SubSafe2 (see page 9).
HMS Severn offers us an insight into the generally-
This technology lark’s all well and good, but it’s nothing without Jack. And you don’t get more Jack than Britain’s best sea dog, WO1 Nigel Jones (see page 8).
The frigate was lined up to take part in a showcase of combined RN, RM and Fleet Air Arm ‘talent’ with a live-action display off Souter Point.
Just after the gates closed on Navy Days in Portsmouth, Westminster made for the land of Mackems. On her way to Wearside, the frigate hosted two pilots, a senior aircraftsman and a flight sergeant from the RAF for an air defence exercise involving a Typhoon jet. The result (naturally) was: splash one Typhoon as the 23’s Seawolf missile system downed the £45m fi ghter. Theoretically, of course. Before the two-day seafront airshow, there
were various demonstrations, events and functions to host in the Port of Sunderland. Local fi refi ghters came on board the frigate to see how the ship’s company deal with blazes in such a restricted environment; potential junior rates, offi cer candidates and RNA veterans were given tours of the ship; and local media were also welcomed aboard.
Up and Mackem F
Westminster’s crew could enjoy the airshow. “Being only one kilometre from the beach meant that every aircraft passed over the ship,” said Lt Cdr Richie O’Rourke, Westminster’s logistics offi cer.
The ship hosted a cocktail party in the hangar, the guest of honour being Flag Offi cer Scotland Northern England and Northern Ireland Rear Admiral Martin Alabaster. More than 100 guests attended, including
Typhoon made a particular point of ‘buzzing’ very close to their Royal Navy colleagues – much to our delight.” Aside from her offi cial presence in Sunderland, the visit allowed the ship’s company to enjoy their fi rst run ashore in a non-naval port since her year long refi t in Devonport ended in April. The North-East is renowned for its hospitality to visiting sailors; Westminster’s crew, we’ve been told, found Sunderland lived up to expectations.
Picture: Lt Cdr Richie O’Rourke “In fact the Red Arrows, Dutch F16 and
With thousands of people on the waterfront, Westminster placed herself less than a mile offshore, White Ensigns fl ying, ready to launch her Merlin, two Pacifi c 24 seaboats and Royal Marines boarding for the planned demonstration: a pirate interception. Once the fi nal demonstration had concluded
The helicopter, or Navy 502 as she is known on board, was to play a central role at the airshow.
LYING low over HMS Westminster (you’ll have to take our word for it...) at Sunderland International Air Show a vintage Curtiss P40 fighter follows the unmistakeable bulbous shape of a P51 Mustang.
recipients of the Elizabeth Cross – awarded to the next of kin of Service personnel killed since WW2 – the Mayor of Durham and local dignitaries. As well as good food and plenty of cocktails,
the crew organised stances throughout the ship. Proceedings closed with a ceremonial sunset on the fl ight deck next to Westminster’s Merlin.
Hot piping where it’s piping hot
TOOTING stars... AB ‘JJ’ McHale and LS Colman (with beard) sound the bosun’s call with aplomb (you’ll have to take our word for it as we can’t bring you sound...) as a piping contest aboard HMS Northumberland reaches its climax. The reason? Well CPO(AWW)
‘Danny’ Toms reckoned the ceremonial standards of piping the bosun’s call aboard the Type 23 – currently in the middle of a seven-month anti-piracy patrol east of Suez – needed reinvigorating. It’s a tradition that is no longer taught to exam standard in basic training… so the senior rating decided to put the skills of Northumberland’s junior sailors piping Call the Hands, the Still and Carry On and other standard fare to the test. The result: a piping contest for all the ship’s warfare branch junior rates. After some expert training from CPO Toms, the sailors piped away. They were eventually whittled
down until AB McHale was deemed the best (after a ‘pipe off’). For his efforts he received a solid brass bosun’s call from Northumberland’s CO Cdr Paddy Allen. Normal service (and improved pipes) has now resumed aboard the Devonport-based frigate. Picture: LA(Phot) Caroline Davies
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