4 NAVY NEWS, DECEMBER 2007
Margate, the new boom town
HERE’S a new one.
Sailors plead with their captain
to stay a few more hours in Gib.
And the CO obliges...
aboard HMS Nottingham wanted
to extend the destroyer’s spell
alongside at the Rock – long
enough for them to watch their
beloved team on the telly.
Nottingham’s CO Cdr Andy
Price pondered their request...
What the Pompey fans aboard
didn’t realise was that football
had little or nothing to do with his
decision (they probably do after
THERE’S change at the top of reading this – Ed).
the RN with a submariner, frigate Nottingham needed slightly
and carrier CO stepping into the longer alongside in Gib than
shoes... of a submariner, frigate originally planned anyway for
and carrier CO as Commander- various bits and bats before
in-Chief Fleet. beginning her seven-month South
Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope Atlantic deployment in earnest.
has taken over from Admiral Sir But the Pompey fans were
James Burnell-Nugent as the happy. (The match itself,
nation’s second most senior sailor. however, was a rather drab 0-0
CINC Fleet is responsible draw with West Ham.)
for overseeing the day-to-day Anyway... when not satiating
operations of all Britain’s surface football supporters, Cdr Price
ships, submarines, Royal Fleet has been guiding his Type 42
Auxiliaries, Fleet Air Arm aircraft destroyer ever closer to the
and helicopters, plus the Royal Falklands where she’s due to
Marines. relieve sister HMS Southampton.
If that’s not enough to devour The next port of call after Gib
the admiral’s time – shared was Mindelo in the Cape Verde
between Fleet HQ in Portsmouth
THIS THIS is the moment a German mine exploded, is the moment a German mine exploded, marked marked position they headed into the briny to position they headed into the briny to
and Northwood – he’s also
six six decades after it was drdecades after it was dropped by the opped by the confi rm the identity of the device and attached rm the identity of the device and attached
Off the islands she bumped
NATO’s Maritime Component
Luftwaffe. an explosive counter-mining charge to it.
into French frigate Lieutenant de
It It needed a little encouragement frneeded a little encouragement from Naval om Naval And that wasn’t easy.
In taking the reins, or rather
divers divers fifi rst... rst... but when it went, boy what a but when it went, boy what a There e was little or no visibility in the North was little or no visibility in the North
The two ships swapped sailors
ship’s wheel, of the Fleet,
bang. Sea Sea ofoff Margate, a diffif Margate, a diffi culty compounded by culty compounded by
and then conducted boarding
Admiral Stanhope (pictured
Southern n Diving Unit 2, based on Horsea Diving Unit 2, based on Horsea strong ong tidal variations and the added hazartidal variations and the added hazard
exercises to fi nd (fake) packets
above in Devonport by LA(Phot)
Island Island in Portsmouth, was called out twice to in Portsmouth, was called out twice to that that the mine was wrapped up in a fithe mine was wrapped up in a fi shing shing
of drugs aboard the respective
Shaun Barlow) promises no
the the north Kent coast in thrnorth Kent coast in three weeks – by the ee weeks – by the net net in which the diver could easily become in which the diver could easily become
drastic changes to the way the
same ill-starred fi shing shing vessel.vessel. entangled.
That both boarding teams
RN does things – his style, he
It It was the Millennia’was the Millennia’s s misfortune to haul two misfortune to haul two “Despite “Despite the dangers, these arthe dangers, these are the types of e the types of
did – despite the best efforts of
says, is “evolution rather than
German German WWorld orld WWar ar 2-vintage GC mine into her 2-vintage GC mine into her tasks tasks that clearance divers rthat clearance divers relish,” said PO(D) elish,” said PO(D)
Nottingham’s crew to throw them
nets on two separate occasions. Bhathena.
off the scent.
Concern for the men and
Each Each mine was mormine was more than 10ft long – and was e than 10ft long – and was The The team praised the help of the crteam praised the help of the crew and ew and
The two ships parted with the
women of the RN and RM will be
packed with 697kg (1,500lb) of explosives. support support stafstaff of the RNLI’f of the RNLI’s Margate lifeboat s Margate lifeboat
Type 42 making for the mid-
central to his tenure of the post.
In In both cases the vessel was instructed by both cases the vessel was instructed by who who ensurensured the sea cored the sea cordon ardon around the mine ound the mine
Atlantic and ultimately South
“I appreciate there are
the the CoastguarCoastguard d to lower the mine slowly back to lower the mine slowly back danger zone was maintained.
pressures on you all brought
to the seabed and mark the position. After After moving to a safe distance, the Diving moving to a safe distance, the Diving
She arrived in the Brazilian
about by the high operational
A A safety corsafety cordon was then put ardon was then put around the ound the Team eam carried out a contrcarried out a controlled olled explosion of explosion of
port of Fortaleza in time for
tempo,” the admiral signalled the
position position to keep other shipping safely away to keep other shipping safely away the the mine which was also obsermine which was also observed by a large ved by a large
November 11 ceremonies.
and and the Joint Serthe Joint Service vice EOD Operations CentrEOD Operations Centre crowd of Margate residents.
Sailors paid their respects not
“I am acutely aware of how
at at Didcot dispatched the fourDidcot dispatched the four-man duty watch -man duty watch The The detonation was felt onshordetonation was felt onshore and was e and was
merely to those who have fought
this stretch impacts on families.
from om SDU2, led on both occasions by PO(D) SDU2, led on both occasions by PO(D) recorded ded by the British Geological Surby the British Geological Survey vey as as
and died under the White Ensign
There are no quick wins, but I
Paul Bhathena, to deal with measuring 2.5 on the Richter scale.
but also to Nottingham’s affi liated
will work hard to try to minimise
Once Once the clearance divers rthe clearance divers reached the eached the Pictures: Diver1 John Quinn, SDU2
their effects.” 2nd Battalion The Mercian
Admiral Stanhope takes over Regiment – formerly the
after three years with NATO in Worcestershire and Sherwood
the USA where he says the deeds Foresters – have only been back
of the Senior Service “are held in from Afghanistan a handful of
the very highest regard”. weeks; nine men in the regiment
He has commanded were killed in action there.
conventional and nuclear
submarines, the frigate HMS
London and carrier HMS
His predecessor has retired Noble deeds after Noel
from the Senior Service having
championed the work of Britain’s
and NATO’s navies at the highest
SEVEN tonnes of food
and ground crew spent a week
levels throughout the alliance. were delivered to the
ferrying in supplies, as well as
people of the Dominican
carrying the British and Canadian
Ambassadors around the country
Home at last...
Republic by naval fl iers to inspect the damage.
THE 4.5in barrel of HMS Exeter
after Hurricane Noel
After 33 hours in the air and
has been glowing as hundreds
just for a day
smashed its way through
seven tonnes of food, water
of shells were fi red in the
purifi cation devices, hygiene kits,
ranges off Gibraltar.
the eastern Caribbean.
clothing and bedding all safely
The destroyer played host
Noel was the 15th major storm
to gunbay and principal
HMS Cumberland came
delivered, 214 Flight’s work was
of the season and caused damage
warfare officer students on the
alongside in her home port of
valued at more than $30m to
first stage of a short autumn
Devonport for the fi rst time crops alone.
By then the waters had subsided
deployment to the Med.
in more than a year as she The Dominican Republic bore
suffi ciently for rescue teams to
Both sets of students had
returned from a week of training the brunt of the storm’s force
make temporary repairs to roads
completed the theory side of
and engineering trials. – Noel claimed the lives of 84 of
and bridges and bring aid by
naval gunnery in the classroom.
She wasn’t there long. its citizens.
The next morning she was
Ian Worthington, Britain’s
Now the gun crew of Exeter
815 Naval Air Squadron’s 214
back at sea for another week Flight and its mother ship, RFA
Ambassador to Santo Domingo,
stood aside and let the trainees
of trials following an extensive Wave Knight, arrived on the scene
said there was widespread
run the 4.5in under the watchful
refi t. (Admittedly, that refi t did about four days after the hurricane
admiration “for the professionalism eye of COT – the Captain of
take place a few hundred yards had struck.
and devotion to duty of the air Turret CPO Peters from the
● Locals dash for emergency supplies dropped by 214 Flight in the
away in the naval base so she The Lynx fl ew to Azua, where
Flag Officer Sea Training.
Dominican Republic in the wake of Hurricane Noel
crew and skills and perseverance
hasn’t been too far away from an emergency food distribution
of the support crew on board Wave Meanwhile, in the ops
her usual berth.) centre had been set up. had to release its payload in of the second day the Lynx
Knight.” room, the PWO students were
The engines, steering gear From there, in the the hover, 10ft above the had fl own more than 11
Before departing for perfecting the direction of
and stabilisers received a fi rst two days of the relief ground to prevent it from hours. I cannot speak
deserved R&R in the gunfire support.
thorough workout, as did the mission alone, the team being rushed by Noel’s highly enough of them.
British Virgin Islands, the Four days of shooting was
weapons and sensor systems. fl ew four tonnes of desperate victims. “The terrain in the
Flight received an Order carried out by the destroyer,
The tests coincided with food – 12,000 bags of “The devastation region is challenging:
of Merit in “sincere curtailed on day four by a slight
Remembrance Sunday and emergency rations – to caused by Noel was we were operating
appreciation for a job hiccup – thankfully fixed by the
the ship’s company ceased people in the districts spread over a wide area in valleys at about
well done”. combined efforts of weapons
their usual routines to pay their of Palmar de Ocoa, – bridges and homes 2,000-3,000ft with
Lt Tazewell added: and marine engineering
respects to their forebears with Yayas De Viaiama and were destroyed, mountain tops at
“The feedback we’ve departments.
a memorial service and two San Jose De Ocoa communities cut off. 5,000 or 6,000ft and
received has been With the training complete,
minutes’ silence. which had been cut It left the poorest most of it below was
very positive and Exeter sailed into the Rock to
A wreath was laid over the off from the rest of the people in pretty dire thick forests.
the colonel from the offload its student guests and
wreck of HMS Penylan, a Hunt- country by landslides and straits,” said Lt Matthew “Our pilot, Lt ‘AJ’ US Army in charge of
give her ship’s company some
class destroyer sunk off Start fl ooding. ‘Taz’ Tazewell, the fl ight Thompson, thoroughly forces in the Dominican R&R before sailing into the
Point by German motor torpedo The storm left more than commander. impressed, putting us into Republic has invited us back Med past the volcanic island
boats as she escorted a supply 60,000 people homeless and “The maintenance team worked some tight landing sites with next year to take part in an exercise of Stromboli and through the
convoy up the English Channel they were becoming increasingly very hard to ensure we could keep limited power and a deft touch.” to demonstrate our humanitarian Straits of Messina, for autumn
in World War 2. worried. On occasions, the Lynx up operations ashore – by the end The helicopter and its air role.” exercises with Allied navies.
004_NN_Dec.indd 1 20/11/07 09:50:57
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