NAVY NEWS, OCTOBER 2008 5
SIX months in Rosyth are up
for the ship’s company of HMS
Pembroke as they begin the long
road to the Gulf.
The Sandown-class mine
countermeasures vessel will be
heading to Bahrain with HMS
Canine nine nine
Grimsby to replace sisters Blyth
and Ramsey as their lengthy spell FOR all their rufty-tuftyness, deep down you know our fl iers are
in the Middle East draws to an just big softies.
end. So when Lt Pete McCormick spotted two doleful eyes looking
Both replacements have longingly at him, he had to help.
received overhauls ahead of their Except he was several score feet in the air at the controls of a
impending deployments. Sea King... and the doleful eyes belonged to a collie stuck half-
Machinery was revamped, way up a Cornish cliff.
a new sonar was installed and The 771 NAS Sea King from Culdrose had been scrambled to
new weapons mounts were fitted rescue two walkers cut off by the Bristol Channel near Watergate
in keeping with her impending Bay, Newquay.
mission. And that’s something the helicopter crew did safely, but in
Pembroke emerged from the middle of the rescue pilot Pete saw two eyes peering back ● Albion dominates the Mersey waterfront as she’s berthed at Liverpool’s cruise liner terminal
Rosyth’s ship shed in July after Picture: LA(Phot) Dan Hooper, HMS Albion at him.
five months’ work and finally “We managed to lower our aircrewman, PO Jason Bibby, on to
returned to Faslane to begin
Chester draws in Albion
the cliff and saw that the eyes belonged to a collie that looked a
work-up. bit like Shep [Ask your parents – Ed],” said Pete.
And although it was a rotten Aircraft commander Lt Cdr Mike Luscombe takes up the
summer, the gods were smiling tale: “Despite the noise from the helicopter, the dog was very
upon Pembroke; the 600-mile pleased to see Jason – but he was obviously in pain because
passage from the Forth to the ASSAULT ship HMS Albion will Important Personages. end, and now Albion’s as much he growled.
Clyde was blessed by stunning be out of action for the next six The gangway was opened building site as she is warship, “Jason managed to calm him down and noticed that he had a
weather, spectacular scenery and or so months as she undergoes to the public, 1,500 of whom
undergoing a £27m upgrade.
a smattering of wildlife. a major overhaul in Devonport. came aboard to see Albion’s
On top of the usual
The injured creature was scooped up in a harness and landed
It took a little over two days to Before the engineers, cavernous loading dock and
maintenance, over the winter
inside the helicopter before being handed over first to the
cover the passage, helped along shipwrights and technicians got other impressive facilities.
the experts at Babcock in
Coastguard, then to a local vets.
by new “super-slippery paint”. to grips with her, the warship And then it was on the bus
Devonport will be improving
As it turned out, the dog – Yossy – had been missing for a
This, of course, was not a time sailed with affiliates aboard (quite a few buses actually)
the ship’s living quarters and
week; now patched up, he’s been reunited with his owner.
for sightseeing; it was a time to to Liverpool – as close as the for the relatively short trip to
weapons and combat systems.
“Yossy was a lovely dog – he was as good as gold while he
practise navigation, run in the 18,000-tonne vessel can get to Chester, where Albion’s sailors
Albion returns to the Fleet
sat in the back of the aircraft, obviously pleased to be taken to
machinery and train new hands her adopted city of Chester. and marines celebrated the
next May and will spend the
safety,” said Mike.
(several of whom had never been Those guests included Freedom of the City by marching
remainder of 2009 working
The ordeal did cost Yossy his leg – the vets were unable to
to sea before). Chester’s Lord Mayor, Cheshire through its historic streets in
That training was just a gentle police officers, Sea Cadets traditional fashion, cheered on
up, taking over from her sister
save it – but he did gain some new friends, who came to see him
taster of what was to come: five and Royal Naval Association by its residents.
Bulwark as the on-call assault
after he recovered from his operation (pictured above).
weeks of intense workout with the veterans. Even more popular, perhaps,
ship at the end of the year.
Flag Officer Sea Training team They were joined by around was the ensuing rig run during
(currently ongoing). 200 dignitaries for an official which the sailors and green
Once she sails through that reception once Albion arrived berets, we’re told, “made the
she’ll head east in tandem with on the Mersey. most of Chester’s hospitality”.
Grimsby. The visit wasn’t all about Very All good things come to an
HOW do you sail through the three principal pal sosoutheru n oceans, why not complete the set?
oceans but not do a global deployment? Yes, after her spell around the Falklands,
The men and women of HMSMS NNororthumberland will navigate the more
Northumberland have the answer, having set set ttreacherous wre aters of Cape Horn before
off on one of the most varied deployments s hhugging the western coast of South
in recent years. America, nipping through the Panama
On a wonderful summer’s day in Canal, calling in on the Caribbean, and
Plymouth (ie overcast skies and coat/ finally crossing the North Atlantic for
jumper weather), families gathered on home...
The Hoe and at Devil’s Point (pcitured ...Which is why some of the ship’s
above) to wish loved ones God Speed. company are calling their deployment a
The deployment begins in earnest east ‘partial global’.
of Suez in support of Operation Calash, “With over six months away from home,
one of the security operations enforced by by IaI and my crew will of course miss the loved
Allied maritime powers. ones that we leave behind,” said Commanding
But why stop in the Indian Ocean? Offi cer Cdr Martin Simpson.
The core of the frigate’s tour of duty comes around “We also know that we are fulfilling duties that
the Falklands, providing reassurance to British are important to the UK and all countries which use
citizens and UK interests in the South Atlantic. the seas.
And that means a trip around the Cape of Good “Our role in providing safe passage to all legal
Hope to move between the Indian and Atlantic vessels – and deterring those that aren’t – remains as
Oceans. important and as relevant today as it was 100 years
And if you’ve passed one of the great capes in the ago.” Picture: LA(Phot) Jenny Lodge, FRPU Drake
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