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Frigate rolls out red carpet for Imogen

BACK in June we told you about a young lady who spent a day on board HMS St Albans in the Gulf to further her

dream of being a Navy chef. Now we can bring you Imogen

● Trainee ET Graeme McKenzie

Trainee liked what he saw

learned the fundamental skills that he will rely upon throughout his time in the Royal Navy. Graeme, from Plymouth, was one of four over-30s in his entry – recruits can join the Service up to the day before their 37th birthday. He was appointed mess manager

A TRAINEE sailor who swapped his job as a civilian at HMS Raleigh to join the Royal Navy has celebrated his 37th birthday on parade as he completed his basic training. Trainee ET Graeme McKenzie embarked on his Naval career in May, inspired to join the Service after working alongside the Navy as a carpenter at Raleigh, where he was employed by VT Flagship. Over the past nine weeks he has

Tate’s own account of how she fared. Ten-year-old Imogen’s dream

day on board the Type 23 frigate originated in a chance remark on English-language Radio 2, a Gulf News Broadcasting station which covers the United Arab Emirates. Imogen was asked by breakfast

show presenter Rob Duckworth what she wanted to be when she grew up, and Imogen replied that she wanted to be a chef in the senior Service. Rob asked anyone listening from the British Embassy if they could help, and then it was a question of waiting... And while Imogen waited, the

RN, through liaison officer Cdr Mark Stuttard, got in touch with her parents and organised a visit to the Saint when she called in at Dubai. “Several weeks later Radio 2 phoned my parents and told them everything was arranged and they would invite me to cook lunch on board HMS St Albans,” said Imogen.

Imogen herself found out about

during the first week of training, with responsibilities to ensure that the recruits’ living areas were kept up to standard. But he wasn’t just a dab hand

at administration – Graeme also achieved the second-fastest time of his entry during the mile-and- a-half run. He said: “Basic training has taught me to persevere in the face of adversity and to be confident in my own abilities. “I’m looking forward to an exciting career, learning a new trade and being able to travel. “I also hope that being in the

Royal Navy will provide a better quality of life for me and my fiancée, Natalie, and our children Summer and Callan.” Graeme has volunteered for the

the trip at the same time as Radio 2’s listeners. “On my way to school Radio 2 phoned me up in the car,” she said.

“I wondered why they were phoning me, but I always rang them to report any traffic news, so I was very curious by this time. “Cdr Mark was on the other line, and that was when they

● Chef Andrea Denoon discusses the lunch menu with Imogen Tate “I was greeted by Billy, the head

invited me on to HMS St Albans to cook lunch. “It was one of the happiest moments of my whole life. “My mum was expecting me to shriek with happiness and excitement, but I was so gobsmacked I couldn’t speak.” Her schoolmates were amongst those listening in as teacher Mrs Todorova had been tipped off in advance.

Around a month later Imogen

travelled to Port Rashid in Dubai, where she was met by the Visits Officer and other members of the ship’s company, as well as her oppo for the day, chef Andrea Denoon.

chef, who gave me a chef’s hat and showed me round the galley,” said Imogen. “I buttoned up my chef’s coat and got to work. “The galley is very small and

very hot. “First Andrea took me to her minuscule office and showed me the dessert we were going to make – it was summer fruits with a sabayon gratin.”

The recipe had to be amended slightly (the new chef is allergic to walnuts) but with the sabayon sauce made and desserts prepared, it was time to try the captain’s chair for size and then join a VIP

Picture: LA(Phot) Steve Johncock

lunch in the wardroom – a simple affair, crab lasagne with asparagus and mushroom sauce, loin of lamb with dauphinoise potatoes and a red wine jus and last, but not least, Imogen’s dessert. “I left St Albans very tired and

very hot but also very proud of myself,” she said. But that wasn’t quite the finish of Imogen’s big weekend – the following day she was back on Radio 2 to talk about her day with the Navy (and say hello to her friends). “It was an amazing weekend.

Everyone was so kind and helpful and I felt really special”

Trainees remember their divisional roots

TRAINEE sailors from Walker Division at HMS Raleigh marched out on parade to celebrate the successful completion of their basic training on the 66th anniversary of the death of Capt Frederick John Walker, in whose honour the division is named.

The 55 trainees joined the Navy in

Submarine Service, so the next stage of his training will take place at HMS Sultan in Gosport, where he will learn the skills required to keep the submarines of the Royal Navy running at the peak of operational effectiveness. He will then return to HMS Raleigh to learn how to operate beneath the waves at the Royal Navy Submarine School.

Heroes talk about jobs

TWO ‘local heroes’ from the Royal Navy took part in Diversity Week at Deerbolt Young Offenders Institute, a prison for men aged 18-21 in Co Durham. The theme for the week was ‘Heroes’, producing some eye- catching work by prisoners in the education department, which was on display for visitors. A buffet was provided by the

prison’s training kitchen, prepared by prisoners working towards NVQ catering qualifications. Speakers were invited to talk

to groups of prisoners on various subjects, two of them being Cpl John Jackson of the Royal Marines and AB James Waddington, who talked about his training and job in the Gulf with HMS Grimsby. Students were particularly interested in hearing about life at sea, and about Cpl Jackson’s time as a member of the British Winter Olympics bobsleigh team.

May and have now undergone nine weeks of intensive training. The course culminated in their passing- out parade (see picture right), attended by families and friends, when Rear Admiral Mark Anderson, Commander Operations, took the salute. Lt Jon Parker, Walker Division

Atlantic, where submarine attacks on convoys were crippling Britain. He is recognised as being instrumental in freeing the Atlantic of the U-boat menace, sinking more boats than any other Allied commander, once sinking five in just ten days. Capt Walker died on July 9 1944, aged 48, his death being attributed to exhaustion. Walker Division is currently one of five new entry training divisions at Raleigh which, in the main, are named in honour of inspirational figures from the past. However, a re-structuring of the Royal

Training Officer, said: “Learning about the Royal Navy’s rich heritage and the bravery of those who have gone before is key to understanding the Navy’s ethos. “It helps to build the qualities of courage, selfless commitment, loyalty and integrity that we aim to instil in our recruits during basic training.

“Capt ‘Johnny’ Walker, as he was known, is credited with turning the Battle of Atlantic in Britain’s favour during the Second World War. “He is a fine example to the trainees of someone who displayed all of these qualities and much more.” Based in Liverpool, Capt Walker’s 2nd support group, hunted U-boats out in the

Navy Rating Initial Training School will see the number of Divisions decrease to four, and will mean the closure of Walker Division. Lt Parker said: “This will be the penultimate

group of recruits to complete their training within Walker Division.

“Therefore it seems fitting that they completed the course and were on parade on the anniversary of Capt Walker’s death.”

Top prize for French officer

THE OUTGOING French Hydrographer has won the Alexander Dalrymple Award for his outstanding contribution to the science. Awarded by the UK

Hydrographic Office (UKHO), the award is named after the founding father

Office – established in 1795 – and is a prestigious recognition of dedication to the cause.

of the Hydrographic

L’Ingenieur General de l’Armement de 1ére Classe Gilles Bessero has worked tirelessly and successfully over many years in the Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine to deliver improvements for mariners’ navigational safety at sea. Gilles Bessero said: “I am deeply honoured to be invited to join the very distinguished company of the Alexander Dalrymple Award’s recipients.”

According to the UKHO,

Work done so John joins RAF

AFTER a fruitful 34-year career in the Royal Navy, WO1 John Bradbury could be excused for looking for a chance to relax. So he joined the RAF... John – now Flt Lt Bradbury – is a flying instructor at the Central Gliding School RAF Syerton, near Newark in Nottingham. He left the Senior Service in 2005 and took up a full-time RAF appointment to train instructors in gliding and motor-gliding for the Air Training Corps. As well as training, he also visits

the 27 Volunteer Gliding Schools to carry out standardisation checks. And, when required, he also flies the Robin DR400 aero tug. John is still a member of the

John strongly recommends anyone interested in flying to contact any of the three Naval gliding clubs at Portsmouth, Yeovilton and Culdrose to arrange a trial flight. It could even lead to a second career with the RAF...

Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre, where he regularly helps out on gliding courses. Always keen to promote aviation,

Service for Shiner

A FORMER Royal Marine who served almost two decades aboard the Royal Yacht was remembered at a service in his adopted homeland of Spain. John Zopara Leo Wright –

earlier this year from cancer. Maj Glad, of the Salvation Army

Alicante, where he died

known to most as Shiner – spent 40 years in the Corps, but on retirement he moved to Campello, near

in Exeter, flew over to conduct the service, as did Lt Col Nicholas Grace,

Devonport police unit seeking new leads...

A GROUP of the newest recruits to the MOD family are just a few inches long, can only crawl and their eyes remain closed. Fortunately they are not signing up to become sailors – the 12 Belgian Shepherd Dog puppies are the first MOD police dog service ‘recruits’ to be born to the unit at Devonport.

Proud mother Willow has produced only the second such litter for the service as part of the new programme to breed its own dogs. Previously the service bought in new dogs. All the puppies (pictured left) are healthy and predicted to survive the precarious early days. Their progress will be monitored anxiously, especially by Sgt Matt Robertson, of the MOD police dog service in Devonport. Sgt Robertson said: “There have only been

two such litters bred especially by and for the MoD Police. “The first was a success, and was at police headquarters – this is the second, and a coup for Devonport. “Willow produced a large litter and luckily they all look healthy so far.

“Their mother is a little protective, as

you might expect, and so am I – they are a precious new arrival.

“This represents the future of the dog

service and we are very keen for them to be in service and training to work for their living after 14 to 18 weeks.” He said the dog service usually bought in

German Shepherds as new recruits, but they have increasingly become susceptible to health problems which shortened their working life. The best way forward both to guarantee good quality healthy dogs and economically, was to remain in-house and switch breed to Belgian Shepherds of the Malinois variety. “The breeding programme guarantees us a high standard of dog, we know the origins of the dogs and their genetic history and their temperament,” said Sgt Robertson. “This breed is already known for its sociable character and they are easy to train with a high level of fitness. “We are confident we can carry on this

programme and Devonport will become a centre of excellence.”

Music for the Royal Marines, along with a Royal Marines bugler who played the Last Post.

Principal Director of

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