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● Saturday superstar... HMS Lancaster fi res a
21-gun salute as she enters Oslo on a Saturday Somerset set
Lynx with
morning Picture: LA(Phot) Nick ‘Whoopi’ Crusham
for last act
the Danes
WHILE HMS Bulwark has just
completed her Operational Sea
Training (see overleaf), HMS
THREE Lynx and 50 men and Somerset is in the latter stages
women to look after them from of that rigamarole, the last act
815 NAS headed to unfamiliar on her reactivation following an
green surroundings for a three- extensive refi t in Rosyth.
week exercise. Unlike previous ships going
Normally found on the back
through OST – which determines
of frigates and destroyers, the
whether a warship is fit for front-
Lynx instead decamped to a field
line duties or not – Somerset’s is
in the Baltic island of Bornholm
charted for public consumption,
for Danex07 – Danish-run war
courtesy of her CO’s diary.
games (hence the name) involving
Cdr Rob Wilson is keeping a
forces from the UK, Germany,
popular internet ‘blog’ (hms-
Poland and Norway.,
Despite being based in a field,
charting the highs and lows of life
the role initially for the 815 fliers
in charge of the Type 23 frigate.
was a typical one – find and hunt
OST began with 65 sailors
down enemy shipping (chiefly
from FOST joining Somerset
Norwegian fast patrol craft).
(that’s one assessor for every
Less typical was the need to
three crew members) to judge the
evacuate 300 civilians stricken by
state of the ship and her sailors’
an ‘earthquake’.
From the fields of Bornholm,
Despite some initial nerves
the force upped sticks and
from the ship’s company, the
relocated to a Danish airbase in
training began promisingly.
Ålborg in northern Jutland as
The engines were purring,
Danex reached its climax.
radar picked up a test aircraft,
This time, the Lynx were at
sonar identified a marker buoy
the beck and call of a Danish
dropped in the Channel, the
task force – who placed heavy
Kryten 4.5in gun boomed
demands on the Brits.
furiously over Plymouth Sound...
“The exercise was as much
and then the rudders failed.
a test for the engineers and
This wasn’t a FOST-induced
logisiticians as it was for the
aircrew,” said Lt Gary Standen,
815’s air engineering officer for Fjord focus for Red Rose
accident, rather a messy hydraulic
leak. That said, within an hour,
the engineers had the problem
the exercise.
fixed and Somerset was under
“It was an excellent
way again.
opportunity for us to hone our
“It was a damn good effort all-
THE Red Rose’s mini autumn (hopefully not too early) with a Lancaster’s CO Cdr Richard There she joined forces with
engineering skills while operating
round,” said Cdr Wilson.
deployment to the Baltic continued 21-gun salute, answered by a local Moss and the ship’s guard headed other Allied warships ahead
in a novel environment.”
The FOSTies too were
with a visit to the Norwegian fort. to the Orlogsgasten (‘Navy sailor’) of Exercise Northern Coasts,
That novel environment saw
apparently impressed.
capital, Oslo. The ship’s potent rugby team memorial which remembers those intended to test the ability of an
some relatively novel experiences
“Of course we were far
HMS Lancaster negotiated the demolished a local side 68-0 (see who served “for king, country and international maritime force to
for the fliers who carried out
from perfect – indeed we were
beautiful, if challenging, waters back page), but the football squad the honour of the fl ag through fi ve uphold a UN Security Council
exercises with Special Forces and
desperately in need of the training
of Oslofjord to arrive at Søndre fared less well (they did, however, centuries”. resolution.
fired their .5 gun on the Danish
we were about to undergo,” says
Akershus berth in the heart of the enjoy the post-match hospitality The ship ended her visit with Northern Coasts was due to end
ranges (something the logistics
Somerset’s CO. “But the trainers’
city. courtesy of the British Embassy). a cocktail party and ceremonial with a visit to the Polish port of
view was that we had brought
officer proved a dab hand at,
The frigate announced her The third day of the stay was sunset for dignitaries, before Gdynia, after which the Red Rose
Somerset as far as was possible
we’re told).
arrival on a Saturday morning devoted to offi cial ceremonies. sailing back down Oslofjord and will be returning to Portsmouth
on our own, that we were ready
Overall, the Lynx detachment
on to Kiel. for Christmas. and fit to train.”
returned to the UK well satisfied
with its achievements.
“The benefit to the crews
– and the Lynx force as a whole Still boldly going...
– from operating with foreign
units in unfamiliar locations and
D-E-V-O-N-P-O-R-T. for improving those maps when
airspace is immeasurable,” said
We thought we’d spell it out for she was out here last year; now it’s
Lt Cdr Mike Ryan, who headed
the good folk of HMS Enterprise Enterprise turn to follow up that
the FAA Lynx input to Danex.
as they’ve probably forgotten how groundbreaking work.
“It was a busy and immensely-
to spell the name of their home Why? Because apart from a
valuable exercise.”
port, let alone what it looks like. heavy Allied warship presence in
For the fourth consecutive the region, the northern Gulf is
And maintaining
year, the survey ship’s sailors will awash with ships and boats – and
be tucking into turkey and all the Iraq needs the trade to support her
Lynx with Ark
trimmings (well, a ‘traditional’ economy.
turkey curry actually) with the sun “Merchant traffi c pays
blazing down on them. whacking insurance premiums
VARIETY in the fi eld of naval
Christmas 2007 will be spent in because of the presence of mine
aviation in 2007 is not merely the
Mumbai (in 2006 it was Ghana, danger areas and because of the
preserve of HMS Illustrious.
the Seychelles in 2005 and Naples relatively poor coverage of modern
No, HMS Ark Royal is equally
the year before). surveys around the oil platforms,”
versatile, as her ship’s company
Christmas Eve 2006 was spent said Lt Ben Barrett, Enterprise’s
have demonstrated off the Iberian
under the stars on a Ghanaian meteorological offi cer.
beach as the sailors ensured It’s work which continues long
While Lusty was hosting RAF
turtle eggs were not snaffl ed by into the new year. It will be April
jump jets in the North Sea, Ark
predators. before Enterprise fi nally catches
(or ‘the other one’ as a certain
Mumbai won’t be quite as sight of Smeaton’s Tower again,
ship’s company know her – see
exotic perhaps... but it will provide by which time she will have been
pages 22 and 23) took herself
welcome relief after a very busy away from home for 19 months.
autumn. “It will be odd,” says Lt Barrett.
Ark spent the early autumn
Twelve months ago Enterprise “We are busy looking at how to
in the Solent and South-
found herself updating – or order the local currency, where
West Approaches hosting Sea
even creating – charts of waters to go in an evening and we’re
Kings and RAF Chinooks for
off Nigeria, chiefl y around oil also trying to fi nd out about local
amphibious exercises.
installations. customs and practices.”
Financial Year 2007/08
Then she headed to Iberian
Twelve months on and
waters to give trainee Lynx
Enterprise is again updating ● A vibrant 3D sonar image Number of beneficiaries helped to date
pilots and observers of 702 NAS
charts around oil installations, in from Enterprise of the wreck of
(through grants and annuities) 4662
a chance to earn vital at-sea
this instance the Iraqi platforms at a merchantman in the Gulf
qualifi cations as they progress
the tip of the Gulf.
Grants and annuities spend to date
through training towards their
Charts of the northern Gulf
front-line careers.
and Iraq’s territorial waters
There were deck landing
are pretty poor.
qualifi cations to pick up initially,
Enterprise’s sister
followed by more challenging
Echo laid the
serials, including search-and-
rescue missions, lifting loads,
ferrying passengers, dropping
boarding parties by rapid roping
and acting as observers for naval
gunfi re support squeezed in
during the intensive package of
Ark’s work climaxed with an
anti-submarine exercise involving
the Lynx and an air defence
exercise with six Portuguese F16s
bearing down on the carrier.
The exercises off Portugal
coincided with Remembrance
Routines aboard Ark came to
a halt at 11am on November 11
as most of the ship’s company
gathered in the hangar for a
service led by the carrier’s
chaplain, the Rev John Hill.
005_NN_Dec.indd 1 19/11/07 17:20:49
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