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21s come of age

THE AMAZON-class frigates were a special bunch to those who served in them – fast, flexible, sleek and very popular. They distinguished themselves

in the Falklands campaign where two of their number, HMS Ardent and HMS Antelope, were lost under heavy air attack. Some 40 years after they were

built, the Type 21class are to have an association of their own and as word spreads places are filling up fast for the inaugural meeting next month.

“Already 650 people have signed up and the excitement and enthusiasm are clearly aflame,” said Mark Brocklehurst, acting chairman of the association. The Type 21 Club, as they became known, were HMS Amazon, Antelope, Active, Ambuscade, Arrow, Alacrity, Ardent and Avenger. By 1978 all eight were in commission and the Type 21s served faithfully until 1993 when the surviving six were sold to the Pakistan Navy, where they have continued to distinguish themselves ever since. As multi-purpose frigates, they

were equipped variously with guns, anti-submarine torpedoes, Seacat AA missiles, with a top speed of more than 30 knots. Their 3,000 tons could accelerate from 0 to 28 knots in a minute. By 1981 they were formed into

their own squadron, the Fourth Frigate Squadron, and in the following year all but one took part in Operation Corporate to retake the Falklands. Here they distinguished themselves in supporting landings, protecting convoys, covert work with special forces, and shore bombardment in support of the Army. Rechristened The Fighting

What’s next for the Navy in the SDSR?

Strategic Defence and Security

RNA NATIONAL PRESIDENT Vice Admiral John McAnally gives his personal point of view about the current Strategic Defence and Security Review in the light of recent media coverage: Shipmates will know that a

Review is in progress. You will probably have seen some recent articles in the press: Royal Marines to be transferred to Army operational control; RAF and Navy in dogfight over whether Harrier or Tornado should be scrapped; A Naval base to be closed. We are all concerned that this

very significant Review should leave our Defence and Security safe and particularly that part of it assured by the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Firstly the SDSR is being

overseen by the newly-formed National Security Council which is chaired by the Prime Minister and the MOD is a prime contributor with both the Defence Secretary and Chief of the Defence Staff in attendance.

Fourth, together they served the Fleet well for many years; and while their hulls were reincarnated under new names like PNS Tippu Sultan (Avenger) and PNS Tariq (Ambuscade) their memory lives on. The new Association will be

formally established on October 8-9 in Plymouth. To find out more details, visit

send your name, address and ship details with a cheque for £20 made payable to HMS Ambuscade Association to Mark Brocklehurst, Sharples Group, Tatton Court, Kingsland Grange, Warrington, WA1 4RR, or ring 01925 839592 or email Mark. Brocklehurst@sharplesgroup. com

Sea Sunday success for Falmouth

FOR the 27th successive year, Falmouth branch organised the annual Sea Sunday Parade with Falmouth Town Council and the Church of King Charles the Martyr.

Led by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, Plymouth, and 17 standards, the parade marched from The Moor to the church for the service, where lessons were read by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Lady Mary Holborow, and the RNA President, Vice Admiral John McAnally. The sermon was given by the Rev Peter Scott, Chaplain of RNAS Culdrose, and Falmouth Branch President Cdre Tony Hogg read Nelson’s Prayer. Following the service, the parade re-formed for the march past, and the salute was taken by Lady Mary, supported by Vice Admiral McAnally. After the parade was dismissed in Events Square, the Royal Marine Band entertained spectators before a reception was held in the nearby National Maritime Museum.

the website on http://type21club. To buy a ticket for the reunion,

As the name suggests, the SDSR is intended to be foreign policy led, ie what sort of role does the UK want to play on the world stage? What sort of Armed Forces

This must be over the next few months since the SDSR is working to an extremely demanding timescale for such hugely significant questions. I believe the aim is for announcement along with the whole Government Comprehensive Spending Review close to Trafalgar Day. The following are some of the areas of debate I judge most crucial to the Naval Service. I don’t argue with any of them being raised but I would hope that the following points get a fair airing and that find them helpful:

Shipmates will

must we maintain to protect and promote our national interests? What are these interests? But it is also resource informed and the resource bit may, perhaps by necessity, be steaming ahead of the policy. We all know what a fiscal mess our country is in. We have been borrowing around

a quarter of what the Government has been spending. All parties agree this has to stop sometime – the current Coalition thinks soon and their argument won most votes in the election. So while the National Security Council debates the policy the Treasury has instructed all Government Departments to state how they would manage with very much less money. The MOD’s targets are not in

fact as demanding as most others. Perhaps this is because so much of the Defence budget is already contractually committed. Little money could be saved in the near term by cancellations. It is clearly in Defence’s best interest as well as its duty to address the Treasury’s remits fully.

Otherwise members of the Cabinet might feel justified in accusing MOD of getting off too lightly.

‘Work Strands’ were instructed to work up radical proposals for detailed costing. These reports were recently submitted and before any policy baseline. Perhaps inevitably some of them

Consequently more than 40

Royal Marines ■ The UK has frequently needed to launch troops ashore from the sea (amphibious operations) eg in the Falklands, Sierra Leone and Gulf War 2. ■ Two things are a must for success. A landing force organised, trained and equipped for amphibious operations and specialist ships able to transport, land, sustain ashore, withdraw and redeploy the landing force without any external aid in a hostile environment. ■ The minimum effective size for a worthwhile landing force able to exert strategic effect is Brigade level – what we have. ■ The UK has also recapitalised its specialist amphibious ships (Ocean, Bulwark, Albion and the four Bay-class RFAs). These will be with us beyond 2030. ■ Army harmony allows more time in UK than does that for the RN which the RM follows. If they were under Army operational control time for amphibious training would wither and with it the capability. ■ Amphibious operations are among the most demanding of all military endeavours.

The landing force and their

naval comrades must be aware from long mutual familiarisation and sympathy of each others’ requirements. With it you get Quebec, the

Falklands and the 2003 Iraq capture of the Al Faw peninsula. Without it Gallipoli. Our history is full of such practical examples of success and failure. This is the prime reason for the Royal Marines’ existence and their place in the Naval Service. ■ The Royal Marines provide

the Royal Navy with many other capabilities which need to be managed along with the primary amphibious role such as: maritime special forces, boarding parties, shore guarding of the nuclear deterrent,

military training and

have leaked or ideas which did not make it into the reports have been floated to the press by those who favoured them. Our serving Shipmates value our commitment to the Naval Service and our national presence. We can fulfil our Royal Charter duty to support them by taking any opportunity to explain, not emotionally but rationally,

Navy’s contributions to national defence.


The time where such help might be most useful is during the decision-making process when the policy and resource angles have to be reconciled.

our beloved bands. ■ In the context of Special

Forces from three per cent of Defence manpower the RM contribute across the board such that more than third of the SBS, SAS, SF Support Group and the Recce Regiment are Royal Marines.

Where else would we find such people if the ethos, training and calibre of recruit were diluted?

Carriers ■ They will be national Defence assets not purely Naval ones. ■ They are the only way the UK can be sure of deploying air power (whether flown by RN,

RAF or Army) anywhere without need to overfly or base in foreign countries. ■ Nearly half the airpower

in Afghanistan has come from carriers. ■ Wider utility was demonstrated in the Haiti earthquake relief. ■ Cancelling them would save about £200 million over the next five years – we’d still have to pay about £5 billion. ■ At a recent Conference on Air

Power the Chief of the Air Staff stated that the RAF unequivocally supported the Carrier Strike concept and its delivery.

Harrier and Tornado ■ Big potential savings in

basing, training and support may dictate the necessity for the UK to remove one of our three fast-jet aircraft types. Typhoon must stay so the choice may lie between Harrier and Tornado. ■ While Tornado is currently deployed in Afghanistan,


Harrier GR9 does the job rather better – it is what it was designed for.

The more advanced reconnaissance pod of the Tornado will soon be replaced by UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) which are cheaper, have greater endurance and are more expendable. ■ If the Harrier is scrapped before the new Joint Combat Aircraft has replaced it then the UK will lose its current ability to deploy fast jet aircraft from our carriers. Interventions like Sierra Leone and air support like that deployed in Bosnia will not be possible. ■ The UK will lose the art of

flying fast jets from carriers. It will be very expensive, difficult and time consuming to recover it. ■ The Navy will have no fixed-

wing, fast-jet pilots where the UK’s maritime expertise lies. There will be no instinctive knowledge of fast jet operations at sea within the Navy. ■ Finally dispensing with

Tornado would save seven times as much money as scrapping Harrier.

Naval Bases ■ I do not know if closing

any of our present Naval Bases (Devonport,

Faslane and

Portsmouth) has been raised in MOD but it has in the media. ■ Each provides some unique capability eg Devonport is the only place where the UK can defuel out of service nuclear submarines- a facility which will be needed for at least the next 30 years. ■ The Naval Bases have been subject to significant rationalisation and cost reduction under the Maritime Change Programme which is still being implemented. ■ All three are needed to

support current Defence Policy. The Fleet would have to be significantly reduced in size before we could manage with two. ■ In the 16 years since I first heard it debated in front of a Defence Minister I have yet to meet a politician who believed it feasible to close one of our three Naval Bases. ■ The results of the SDSR are expected to be announced later this year.

THE mystery ship in our July edition

Pollington, known

(right) was HMS also

various times as HMS Mersey. Mr J Hider of Torquay wins

our £50 prize. This month’s submarine (above) was launched shortly after the war, but was still providing sterling service to the Royal Navy alongside at the home of the Submarine Service in the 1970s.

The only vessel to bear the name, she was built by Scotts at Greenock, completed in June 1946 and spent some time Down Under (geographically, not just Down Under the surface...).

What was her name – and what was the name of the boat which replaced her as ‘display ship’ at HMS Dolphin in the 1970s, which featured in our pages again last month?

Complete the coupon and send it to Mystery Picture, Navy News, HMS Nelson, Portsmouth PO1 3HH. Coupons giving the correct answer will go into a prize draw to establish a winner. Closing date for entries is October 14. More than one entry can be submitted, but photocopies cannot be accepted. Do not include anything else in your envelope: no correspondence can be entered into and no entry returned.

The winner will be announced in our November edition. The competition is not open to Navy News employees or their families.

MYSTERY PICTURE 187 Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Address . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My answers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

timbers, it’s our new president

Shiver me

SHIPMATES at the Spalding branch fi nd their new president cuts a very distinctive fi gure since they invited Terry Carter,

longest-serving member and also their PR offi cer, to take the job. Terry accepted willingly – but as a former stoker he felt that his background of multi-skilled training in the RN should not go to waste, so he acquired a job as a Water Taxi Captain on the River Welland. Day One was excellent, so he

gave himself a Bravo Zulu and a tot.

On Day Two he decided he could do the skipper’s job and


also the buoy jumper’s job but disaster struck and he ended up in the sick bay. Shipmate Frank White in true

naval tradition came to his rescue and, using skills of hand and lathe, soon had the new President back on his feet, or foot, to be more accurate, so that he could continue with his duties at branch meetings.

Rumour has it that proceeds from the next meeting’s raffle will be going towards a parrot.


Thanks to Frank the Spalding President (pictured above) now has a wooden leg, a hook and an eye patch.


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