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The noble
● Ship’s companies, Naval Transition Team personnel
and Iraqi sailors and marines muster on HM Ships 18 sailors
Blyth (foreground) and Atherstone in Umm Qasr
sacked after
IT’S been two years since HMS
Cumberland was last on the front drugs shame
line – but wait no longer, for she’s
EIGHTEEN sailors were
The Devonport-based
dismissed from their ship – and
frigate has undergone a major
from the Service – after testing
overhaul in her home port and,
positive for cocaine use on
after successfully completing
Operational Sea Training, has
The Compulsory Drugs Test
fi nally deployed once more.
team arrived unannounced
The Mighty Sausage – she
on HMS Liverpool after the
fl ies a large banger when she’s
destroyer had visited Santos in
refuelling – is joining a NATO
task force, Standing Maritime
Their tests revealed that 18
Group 2, for the autumn.
of the ship’s company – from
The cosmopolitan task group
different messes and of different
– it currently comprises warships
ranks – had taken cocaine.
from Germany, Greece, Turkey
The sailors were immediately
and the US, with an Italian vessel
removed from the ship and
as command ship under Rear
flown home. They have now
Admiral Giovanni Gumiero –
been discharged from the Senior
gathered in the Spanish port of
Service in line with the RN’s
Rota before patrolling the Med.
‘zero tolerance’ policy on the use
Aside from the usual briefings
of illegal substances.
and presentations, there were
Official figures show that fewer
some more personal ‘getting to
than one in every 250 sailors and
know yous’.
Various sporting activities
Royal Marines tested for drug use
were organised between the
give a positive result. The figure
international sailors, including
for comparative tests in civvy
football and volleyball.
street is seven in every 100.
Once at sea, the bonding
continued as the force conducted
a series of anti-aircraft and anti- We’ve seen
smuggling exercises to welcome
Cumberland to the fold and
help the frigate and her ship’s you before...
company get used to the NATO
way of working. OH HOW the good folk of HMS
A Navy News went to press, Illustrious must love Plymouth.
the task group could be found in
Back to Iraq
For the second time this
the Adriatic and eastern Med for year, the Harrier carrier is back
NATO war games, Noble Midas, in the bosom of Flag Officer
which will cement the ships’ Sea Training.
position as NATO Reaction AFTER a fi ve-year
and marines so they can one day path,” he added. month. Ramadan, the holiest
Lusty didn’t especially enjoy
hiatus, British warships
take charge of all security patrols Blyth has new masters in the month in the Islamic calendar, ran
her first trip at the beginning
From there the force slips
latest roulement of minehunting throughout September, shutting
of the year when all her trials
through the Suez Canal, into
returned to the Iraqi port
in their own waters – hence the
return of RN vessels to Umm crews in the Gulf as part of Bahrain’s bars and restaurants.
and tribulations were captured
the Red Sea and on ultimately
they helped re-open as Qasr. the Aintree deployment (HMS Also closed, though for
on camera by the Channel 5
into the Gulf to exercise with the co-operation between the
Fittingly, it was two mine Ramsey is the other half of the refurbishment rather than
documentary Warship.
navies of Qatar and Kuwait.
two navies is stepped up.
countermeasure vessels which duo) to keep the ships east of Suez for religious reasons, was the
That training was meant to
The force has a twofold
In the spring of 2003, an RN-
made that return journey – HM for a sustained period. state’s only golf course... which
(and did) whip her into shape
mission: to safeguard the seas
Ships Blyth and Atherstone – just The current custodians of Blyth
led minehunting force cleared the
was particularly galling for one
for her deployment east of
by keeping tabs on all shipping
as minehunters had cleared the are – or rather were – the ship’s
way into Umm Qasr, allowing the
Blyth sailor, especially after he’d
movements and to spread the
way in March 2003. company of sister ship HMS convinced airline staff at Heathrow
Since returning from the
NATO and maritime security
fi rst shipment of humanitarian aid
“Britain’s commitment to the Walney, although for some there’s to allow his set of clubs on the
Indian Ocean, the ship’s
word among friendly nations.
to sail up the Khawr Abd Allah in
development of Iraq is progressing a distinct feeling of déjà vu.
RFA Sir Galahad.
flight out to the Middle East.
undergone some much-
well and was evident during our CO Lt Cdr John Craig is on
Five years down the line, the
This is the last changeover
needed TLC in Portsmouth
stay,” enthused Lt Cdr Steve his third spell in charge of the
port – a stone’s throw from the
of Sandown crews for this (interspersed with Meet your
Holloway, Atherstone’s CO. Sandown-class ship. His XO Lt
Kuwaiti border – is the gateway for
deployment; the current ships’ Navy).
“The visit has shown there’s Adrian Rowberry was ops officer
companies will bring the vessels
80 per cent of Iraq’s imports and
A new ‘term’ has brought
increased stability in the region of HMS Ramsey whose coxswain
home – but two more mine
home to the re-born Iraqi Navy.
new sailors aboard and new
and bodes well for the future of was PO(D) Dickson... who’s come
countermeasures vessels will be
The latter are being taught
challenges, hence the need for
Iraq and its armed forces.” across to Blyth, as have fellow
heading in the opposite direction the full FOST package – ahead
and trained by Allied sailors and
And after a fi ve-year absence ‘Ramseyers’ LS ‘Cooky’ Cooke
from Faslane to keep the British of exercises around the UK for
marines of the Naval Transition
from the port, the RN’s outgoing and AB(MW) ‘Flash’ Gordon.
end up in Bahrain. the remainder of 2008.
Team, headed by the Royal Navy.
commander in the Gulf theatre, Other things stay the same in
The Iraqi Navy will double in
Cdre Keith Winstanley, said more the Gulf, too. It’s still ‘redders’ –
terms of personnel and quadruple
British vessels would be calling in. 45˚C – for example.
in terms of number of ships in
“The Iraqi Navy continues to “It’s hard to believe that we
the coming months – the fi rst of make steady progress towards would ever look back on Faslane
North West
a new batch of patrol boats will be the time when we will see them weather fondly, but we do,” said
delivered next year. in command of operations in the Lt Cdr Craig.
With that in mind, working northern Gulf. The visit of Blyth The Aintree force is based in
passage for
hand-in-hand with Allied warships and Atherstone to Umm Qasr Bahrain, which offers plenty for
is key to nurturing the Iraqi sailors is an important step along that the sailors to do – except last
Every year the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society pays
over £1m in grants to the dependants of those lost at
Busy Bee
sea, as well as sick, disabled
A warm welcome for Exeter
and retired seafarers
struggling to make
LIVERPOOL’S new cruise liner ends meet.
hosted yet another warship, this
time HMS Manchester.
THERE was a hearty welcome such a greeting. “for once lost for words”).
Ark Royal, Portland and
home for veteran destroyer But this was, perhaps, the LET(WE) Shaun Graham was
Mersey among others have
HMS Exeter at the end of her destroyer’s final homecoming. equally dumbfounded when he
already berthed at the
whistle-stop summer tour of She’s going into extended received the same recognition
impressive facility... and HMS
the North Atlantic. readiness ahead of paying off from the admiral.
Albion (see page 5) had barely
Tugs fired up their water next year. The VIP departed before
left when the Type 42 destroyer
cannon and two Hawk jets raced So if this was to be the final Exeter’s historic entry into
overhead, a bugler, er, bugled welcome for a loyal servant, Portsmouth – but not before
Help Us To
Liverpool is as close as
on Round Tower, surrounded best make it a memorable one. CO Cdr Paul Brown had
the destroyer can get to
by friends and family of the Joining Exeter for the presented a cheque for Help
Support Those
Manchester; she can fit
ship’s company and Exeter occasion was Deputy for Heroes on behalf of the
down the ship canal to the
82 Association veterans who Commander-in-Chief Fleet, ship’s company.
Who Need It Most....
Lancastrian metropolis...
took the ship through the Vice Admiral Paul Boissier, “Regardless of the length
but the bridges spanning it
Falklands conflict (pictured who thanked the ship’s of time away, it’s always an
below). company for their efforts and emotional time returning to our
We offer a range of quality hand picked Christmas Cards and associated
wouldn’t do her masts a lot of
Deployments to Iceland, rewarded Lt ‘Shakey’ Stevens home port – and the prospect items, the proceeds of which enable us to support those who need it most.
Once in Liverpool, the Busy
Norway and Russia for his long service and good of being reunited with families
lasting a few weeks do conduct with the appropriate and friends,” Cdr Brown
Please help us to continue this important work.
Bee invited cadets and reserve
forces aboard for a reception,
not ordinarily receive medal (leaving ‘Shakey’ added.

Quality Christmas Cards

Bargain Christmas Card Packs
plus members of the public for
the obligatory ‘ship open to

Correspondence Cards

Nautical Heritage Calendar
visitors’ afternoon. • Birthday Cards • Gift Items
Then it was a short trip along
the M62 to Manchester for a
To receive a copy of our new 2008 brochure and order form please contact:
service of thanksgiving in the
city’s cathedral, followed by a Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society
civic reception hosted by the
Dept NN, 1 North Pallant, Chichester PO19 1TL
city council. Tel: 01243 789329 Fax: 01243 530853
This was the first visit to the e-mail:
North West by the destroyer website:
in 18 months; a large chunk of
Reg Charity No 212034
2007 and 2008 was devoted to
escorting the US carrier Harry S
Inst. 1839
Truman in the Gulf.
The ship spends the rest
of the year on work-up and
Mariners’ Society
exercises before deploying to
the South Atlantic in 2009.
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