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Stolen medals
● Portland is silhouetted against darkening November skies as she leaves Devonport Picture: LA(Phot) Chris Winter, FRPU West
It’s Happy H
returned to
hour again
AFTER six months alongside
undergoing a fairly extensive
ROYAL Marines have been
overhaul, minehunter HMS
reunited with their war medals –
Hurworth is about to return to
stolen by a former comrade.
Commando – now ex-
The ‘Happy H’ spent 17
commando – Craig Firth was
months of the previous two
jailed for three and a half years for
years deployed or on exercise,
a crime described as “despicable”
so she was in need of a little
by a judge at Plymouth Crown
love and care.
She’s also had quite a
Thirty-three Operational
bit of new kit fitted during
Service Medals – earned by men
the revamp in her native
in 42 Commando for tours of
Portsmouth, notably the Seafox
duty in Iraq and Afghanistan
mine disposal system which is
among other theatres – vanished
gradually replacing the ‘yellow
from the Royals’ Bickleigh base
submarines’ in the Royal Navy’s
between 2005 and 2007.
mine countermeasures force.
Some of those medals later Other important additions to
turned up for sale on internet the ship include an advanced
auction site eBay – where they fi re detection system to, er,
were spotted by the green berets. detect fi res and improved
They alerted police and as the upper-deck weaponry.
enquiry progressed, more Service The overhaul has not all
personnel contacted the MDP to been about fi re and brimstone,
complain about the theft of their however.
medals; some of which had been Junior rates – whose
stolen during burglaries of the accommodation is compact
barrack rooms. if not necessarily bijou – have
The medals included
● Something old, something new... HMS Edinburgh makes her way up the Clyde past HMS Daring (D32) and HMS Dauntless (D33)
Picture: LA(Phot) Hamish Burke, FRPU North
a new mess deck complete
Operational Service Medals for
with fridge and widescreen
Afghanistan and Iraq, United
Nations medals, Long Service and
While the ship’s company
Good Conduct medals, Queen’s
have been supervising much
Jubilee medals, a Northern
of this work, there have been
Ireland Campaign Service Medal,
plenty of opportunities to leave
a Kosovo campaign medal and
High-paced Portland the Solent behind for some
a rarely awarded Accumulated
adventurous training, including
Campaign Service Medal.
expeditions to North Wales, the
Thirty-three of the stolen
HEADING ever eastwards are – Ed), they treated sailors to The Type 23 will be serving Assistant Weapon Engineer
Lake District and Croatia.
awards were recovered by MOD
the men and women of the mince pies and cream when with various Allied task forces Officer Lt Craig Sharland is
“We have enjoyed the last
police, who have returned them
good ship Portland beginning they visited the home. east of Suez conducting gearing up for what he expects
six months alongside, spending
to their proper owners now the
an eight-month tour of duty In return, the sailors the Fleet’s No.1 mission will be a “high-paced yet
time with our families for the
court case is over.
beyond Suez. presented Castle at present: safety and rewarding experience” on his
fi rst extended period in over
The court heard that Firth
And – like several RN vessels Barbican with a framed security on the high first deployment.
two years,” said Commanding
stole them over a two-year period
scattered around the globe – photograph of their seas. “It will be hard missing
and his uncle, Geoffrey Jenkin,
Offi cer Lt Cdr Andy Woolhead.
the frigate will be away over ship. “Our training Christmas with my family
sold them; Jenkin was jailed for
“We are all itching to get
Christmas. Those who and material and friends, but we have a
two and a half years for his role
back to sea, however, to use
So good job she stocked weren’t treated to preparations mean supportive crew and I’m very
in the scam.
our new equipment – especially
up with pressies and pudding Christmas fare at that Portland is in proud to serve my country
“We’re delighted that we’ve
Seafox – and do the job we all
before departing Devonport. Castle Barbican the best possible through the Royal Navy,” he
been able to recover these medals
The good folk of the Castle will have to wait for condition to added.
and ensure that they’ve been
Barbican retirement flats in the big day itself; undertake any task The deployment is the
The ‘Happy H’ sails next
returned to their rightful owners,”
Plympton St Maurice near luckily puddings, asked of her,” said culmination of ten months
month on trials around the UK
said DS Giles Hook, who headed
Plymouth donated gifts to every pies, turkeys, Commanding Officer of intensive training and
before heading to Scotland
the police investigation.
junior rating on board. presents have all been Cdr Tim Henry. “I know exercises for the frigate which
to complete the fi nal stage of
“We wanted to recover as
And if that wasn’t enough stored aboard Portland as that every single one of us peaked during eight weeks of
training ahead of deploying.
many medals as possible and our
kindness shown by the well as the usual supplies and is ready for all the challenges Operational Sea Training with
enquiries led us to a dealer in
Barbicaners (made-up word ammunition. that lie ahead.” FOST.
Perth, Western Australia, who had
Austin powers
paid, in good faith, in the region
of £8,400 for a variety of different
campaign medals.”
Judge Paul Darlow said the
stolen medals could have fetched
Kent grapples pirates and hakas
into Douglas
THE residents of the Isle of
upwards of £25,000 on the
Man’s capital were treated to the
collectors’ circuit.
FRIGATE HMS Kent led Britain’s input in annual Far East war There was just time for LA(Phot) Owen King to gather all the
rare sight of one of the ships of
games – the last act before the ship began slowly making her way ship’s company to pose for a photograph on Kent’s forecastle
the Fleet.
westwards. before Bersama Lima began in earnest.
RFA Fort Austin dropped
Kent joined warships, aircraft and troops from New Zealand, With the ship in defence watches (half the ship’s company on
anchor in Douglas Bay for a
Australia, Singapore and Malaysia for Bersama Lima, a long-
duty at any one time for six-hour stints), Kent fought off attacks by
weekend visit to the Irish Sea
standing exercise designed to test the fi ve nations’ commitment to
air and sea and conducted night-time boarding operations of other
defend the Malay peninsula.
vessels on the exercise.
The last time a major ship was
Bersama Lima began with a ‘getting to know you’ session: a
It culminated with the Type 23 frigate replenishing her fuel supply
in the island’s waters, it didn’t
mini-Olympiad and social evening on Tioman Island, the setting
WHITEHALL must make
from a tanker while fending off air raids and tackling (artifi cial) fi res
stop; Ark Royal sailed close
for the musical South Pacifi c (even though it’s not in the South
important decisions in the
and fl oods in her compartments.
enough to the shores of Man for
Pacifi c).
coming year to ensure the
With the exercise done, the ship paid her third and fi nal visit of
locals to see her, but that was
The Kiwis took the ‘Olympic’ honours ahead of Kent (who
next-generation nuclear
the Volans 08 deployment to Singapore – a visit which coincided
about it.
triumphed on the football pitch and came second in handball).
Fort Austin, a 23,000-tonne
deterrent is in service on time,
with Trafalgar Night.
Thoroughly exhausted by the sporting exertions in the heat,
one-stop warehouse holding
a government watchdog has
the international force settled down to an evening of food and
The offi cers celebrated in style, as they traditionally do, with a
many of the supplies the Fleet
entertainment from their native lands.
formal dinner… except that this one took place in the legendary
requires to conduct its global
Although it will be 15 years
For the latter, the Kiwis performed the haka, Singaporeans
Raffl es Hotel, beginning with a Singapore Sling and ending with a
business, was bound for Scotland
before the successors to the
danced the lion dance in honour of the ‘lion city’ and the Brits, well,
lively speech from Commanding Offi cer Cdr Simon Hopper.
to undergo some maintenance.
Vanguard class of submarines
a spot of morris dancing was the order of the day.
The frigate is now in the Indian Ocean attached to Operation
She spent three days anchored
are due to join the Fleet, the
Only kidding. Nope, clubz had fi ve days to drill some of his
Calash, the anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, anti-terrorism patrol by
off Douglas, enough time to allow
National Audit Office says
shipmates in the art of the hornpipe. Encouraged by the rest of the
international warships.
the sailors ashore, including Capt
that meeting that deadline is
ship’s company, the rookie hornpipers performed fl awlessly.
Martyn Bunker RFA who called
marina Singapore Swing, pages 23-25
“challenging” – and the MOD on the Lieutenant Governor Vice
must set a provisional budget Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks and
for the replacement programme the town’s mayor Dot Pitts.
by next September.
Initial estimates of replacing
Vanguard (based on 2006-07
From sausage
prices) suggest it will cost the
taxpayer between £15bn and
£20bn, while the running costs to pasty
of the submarines are likely
to be similar to outlay for the WE ALREADY have the Mighty
current quartet. Sausage.
The audit office says And joining it on the RN
Whitehall has laid down ‘plate’ now is the Potent Pasty.
substantial groundwork for the For just as HMS Cumberland
successor boats, but it cannot hoists a flag adorned with her
afford to delay the project. namesake sausage when she’s
Apart from the limited replenishing at sea, her sister has
lifespan of the Vanguards, there her very own RAS banner.
is a shortage of nuclear experts Traditionally, HMS Cornwall
both in industry and in the has been known affectionately as
MOD, plus only a few suppliers the ‘ice cream frigate’ (thanks to
who can provide the highly- her ‘99’ pennant number).
specialised equipment for the But it’s pasties not ice cream
submarines. for which the county is renowned
The NAO believes Whitehall
● A New Zealand Sea Squirrel (nearest
should be looking now
the camera) and a Sea Hawk from
in culinary circles.
at possibly extending the
HMAS Anzac approach HMS Kent and
And so it was that one of
lifespans of the V boats; the
Malaysia’s KD Laksamana Hang Nadim
Cornwall’s most famous pasty
oldest, Vanguard, is currently
(furthest from the camera) during Exercise
firms, Ginsters, presented the
due to leave service in the early
Bersama Lima
frigate’s CO Cdr Johnny Ley with
Picture: LA(Phot) Owen King, FRPU East
a rather large company flag to
2020s. raise while filling up.
004_NN_Dec.indd 1 20/11/08 08:47:54
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