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● Final roll call... A Seawolf missile is wheeled on its transport
● Two RM Band Musicians conduct a patrol during a visit by Defence Secretary Des Browne to Cyprus
frame to the launcher
At ’em, Chatham
THE idea of fi ring a missile at a living, breathing warship is
Instruments of peace
something which will probably cause you a few instances of
brown trousers.
Unless you have Seawolf.
BANDIES turned ‘Bondies’
provided on the ground. The lake is home to richly- be a million miles from the sun-
The cry of ‘Birds away’ echoed around the operations room of
are Royal Marines
Band Sgt Rich Tilley and diverse wildlife... and important soaked beaches you see below
HMS Chatham. On the forecastle the shutters of two launchers
musicians deployed en
seven colleagues deployed to military installations, including you,” explained BC/Sgt Rich
opened and plumes of fi re raced across the deck as two missiles
Alexandra barracks in Dhekelia RAF communications and aerial Harvey.
emerged with a whoosh and headed out to sea.
masse to Cyprus, not to to work alongside 2nd Battalion, kit. Among the visitors the
From the bridge wing, sailors watched the 6ft-long missiles
wow the crowds but to
Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and “Many of our call-outs within musicians have hosted was
accelerate to three times the speed of sound , hugging the waves,
safeguard British lives.
to provide support for the local the Salt Lake area were to Defence Secretary Des Browne
before obliterating the incoming drone missile.
In the largest deployment of the
police station. extremely lost tourists trying to who was being protected on his
So accurate were the two Seawolfs that the second missile
Royal Marines Band Service in
“We were introduced to the fi nd the beach and local Cypriots arrival at Akrotiri by BC/Sgt
hurtled into the largest piece of debris, blowing it to smithereens
its operational role, more than 80
James Bond world of helmet- who have a fascination with Harvey. The politician strode over
before the detritus tumbled into the ocean.
musicians and buglers headed to
mounted night vision goggles and picking the wild asparagus that to the senior NCO and asked if
This was the fi nal salvo fi ring for the fi rst – or Block 1 – version
the Mediterranean isle.
Bowman radio,” said BSgt Tilley. grow around the site,” said BCpl he was “one of the Royal Marines
of Seawolf, the standard anti-air defence system for Britain’s
As Navy News reported back in
“The night vision goggles Zoe O’Gorman. bandies”... which he was.
frigate fl eet.
April, the band service’s function
we liked but, as many fusiliers “Salt Lake attracts many bird “I hear you are doing a cracking
Chatham had intended to fi re single shots at the targets using
in the front line stretches far
will admit, we’re not ‘fully watchers – which proved a problem job over here,” he told the colour
her fore and aft launchers. But the opportunity arose to fi re a
beyond the traditional image of
Bowmanised’ yet.” to us as we were specifi cally told sergeant.
salvo – two Seawolfs at the same target.
first aider.
There was another shock in not to let anyone take photos or “Clearly people are happy with
“That was a rare opportunity and despite the extra preparations,
And so it was that the musicians
store for the marines: 10km cross- use binoculars to look at the site.” the job we are doing in Cyprus.
there was no way we were going to let that pass,” said Lt Cdr
deployed in company strength,
country runs in combat fatigues Fortunately, from the Salt The job has been at times exciting,
Chris Smith, Chatham’s Weapon Engineer Offi cer.
bolstered by a dozen green beret
and boots but, says BSgt Tilley, Lake CCTV control centre exhausting and enlightening and
Having dealt with a simulated missile run successfully,
brethren from the RM commandos
“in true bandy style we made up the musicians could watch the the experience has also been
Chatham’s relatively junior crew, who were still undergoing
to serve as ‘Cyprus reinforcement
for our lack of experience with approach of of birdwatchers along remarkably rewarding,” BC/Sgt
training, prepared for the live test, fi rst using her fore launcher,
an abundance of enthusiasm and ‘Twitchers’ track’, a road which Harvey added.
then from her aft missile battery.
It’s the bandies’ task to guard
willingness to learn.” also proved rather popular with The musicians have not entirely
The later salvo saw one missile smash the target drone’s
main gates, operate CCTV
The musicians at Episkopi naturists... forgotten their roots in Cyprus.
control wire (connecting it to the towplane), sending the target
security systems and provide a
found themselves in the middle of The salt lake, if not the nudists, Maj Grace told his men and
spiralling seawards. It crashed into the water before the second
rapid response force (at five to
a political row; police had recently was clearly identifiable from women to take their instruments
Seawolf could intercept it; the missile bounced off the resulting
30 minutes’ move depending on
arrested a local politician who Mount Olympus, the highest with them.
‘splash’ and self-destructed.
the situation) in an emergency at
had opposed the British military point on the island where you A wise move, as it happens,
“This was a great result,” said the ship’s CO Cdr Martin Connell.
four principal sites on the island:
presence on Cyprus for years will find British military radar and because barely had the bandies
“With a junior crew we successfully completed two salvo fi rings
Episkopi barracks, Salt Lake, RAF
– opposition which had allegedly surveillance installations. touched down on Cypriot soil
at the fi rst attempt.”
Troodos and Mount Olympus.
turned to vandalism of British “From this vantage point both than requests were pouring in for
Seawolf proved itself in the Falklands 25 years ago and has
The musicians went through
property as the Royals arrived, north and south coasts of the island performances.
been upgraded and updated since; the latest version of the
extensive training before heading
hence his arrest. are visible on a clear day, The Army wanted some jazz
missile, Block 2, is being introduced to all Type 22 and Type 23
to Cyprus, but some of the
Previous arrests of the politician although the unbelievably at its charity big curry lunch
instruction and kit had to be
had provoked civilian unrest, and changeable weather and (wonder what was on the menu
so it proved again in 2007 with the coolness of the air at – Ed), a brass quintet and two
alarms regularly triggered, forcing an altitude of nearly buglers attended Anzac Day
the musicians to send out patrols one-and-a- quarter commemorations at Wayne’s Keep
to investigate. miles quickly impresses cemetery, and there was a full
At Salt Lake (a small compound on you the Royal Marines Band Concert at
just north of RAF Akrotiri) fact that the Pissouri Amphitheatre
the main ‘threat’ was posed by you may in aid of the RN, Army
twitchers, tourists and locals. as well and RAF Benevolent
1992 - 2007
+ £3.00 p&p
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● Corporal Buglers Donohue and Piner sound the Last Post at ANZAC Day commemorations
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