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8 NAVY NEWS, DECEMBER 2007
Scrabble and
scramble
We have mist you
WHILE HMS Superb and the
Dutch Navy were locking horns
(see below right), HMS York was
shaking hands with Croatia.
VETERAN hunter-
The destroyer hosted killer submarine HMS
Porucink Horvete Stipe Skelin
Sceptre has not
and Desetnik Niksa Svilick
at the end of Exercise Noble
featured in the good
Midas.
pages of Navy News
Apart from being good
for quite some time
scores at Scrabble, Porucink (I would say about
Horvete and Desetnik are
nine months – Ed).
Croatian for ‘lieutenant’ and
The Fleet submarine
‘ensign’ respectively.
has completed the longest
Anyway, the duo spent 11
unsupported deployment by a
days aboard the Type 42 as she
boat in the Silent Service’s 106-
ended her escort duties with
year history, finally returning to
HMS Illustrious, sailing home to
Faslane on a suitably murky Clyde
Portsmouth from the Adriatic at
morning.
the end of NATO’s three-week
Much of what the 29-year-old
Exercise Noble Midas.
Swiftsure-class boat did while she
Apart from embracing all
was away remains classified. But
aspects of life aboard a Royal we can tell you that she clocked
Navy warship, the Croatian up 54,000 miles in a wide-ranging
pair sampled traditional Senior deployment which took her
Service hospitality courtesy of to the Gulf, South Africa and
runs ashore in Gib and Lisbon Australia and exercises with the
as York made her way back to US, Australian and South African
the Solent. navies.
Lt Skelin and Ens Svilick And she did all that by converting
are the first Croatian sailors the equivalent of roughly a sugar
to enjoy an exchange with the cube of matter into energy in her
Royal Navy. nuclear reactor.
It is hoped the link-up will “It’s an awfully long time –
help their country towards
one of the longest voyages in the
joining the NATO alliance.
history of the Submarine Service,
“It’s been an extremely
but there’s been a great feeling of
rewarding visit,” said Lt Skelin.
camaraderie on board” said Cdr
“I learned a lot about Royal
Jim Perks, Sceptre’s Commanding
Navy operations in a short time.
Officer.
Some things are the same,
“My men performed to an
some things are not.”
exemplary standard.”
Once back in Pompey, the
Although the boat herself
Navy’s specialists in air defence
has been away since the turn of
(it is York’s raison d’être)
the year, most of her crew were
spent a day with the Army’s
rotated, generally spending six
specialists in air defence, 47
months on board. But that in itself
Regiment Royal Artillery, based
is no mean feat.
at Thorney Island between
The S-boats are ‘old school’.
Portsmouth and Chichester.
Unlike their successor Astute-
Thoroughly acquainted
class, no man has his own pit: he
with the regiment’s kit and
hot bunks.
activities, the 11 Yorkies moved
Luckily, the hunter-killers do
up the road to Longmoor
at least pay visits to foreign ports
camp – alongside the Special
(unlike the bombers) where the
● Still waving the fl ag... (Above) Families greet Sceptre as she glides
Air Service (yes, you read
deeps are accommodated in hotels
through the Rhu Narrows and (right) two youngsters anxiously await
correctly).
and let their hair down.
the return of dad
The SAS put the matelots
This deployment has seen some
Pictures: WO1(Phot) Ian Arthur and LA(Phot) Kelly McAlinden, FRPU Clyde
through their paces at a village
familiar ports of call – Gibraltar,
Bahrain, Singapore – and some
as the submariners and loved ones engineering which has responded
designed to prepare soldiers
less common ones – Fremantle
moved to Neptune sailing club for to every demand asked of her,” said
for urban combat (aka ‘fighting
and Cape Town.
a homecoming reception before Capt Baum.
in someone’s house’).
In between the fun, there’s been
heading off on leave. “She might look a bit tired and
S/Lt Lee Bodkin led the first
a lot of work to do – especially
Sceptre is enjoying the twilight weary, but then she’s travelled
squad through a damp tunnel,
with the navies of Australia and
days of her career; she will be the equivalent distance of
past burning cars and through
South Africa where Sceptre’s team
replaced by HMS Ambush which circumnavigating the globe.”
a haze from smoke grenades
felt both sides had benefitted
enters service in around 2010. After a spell of TLC alongside,
to enter the edge of the village
enormously from working
“Praise must go to HMS Sceptre the boat returns to sea next month
and secure several houses.
together.
herself – she’s a remarkable piece of for work-up.
Then it fell to S/Lt Paul
Caddy and his team to ferry
“A nine-month deployment
ammo to the attackers and
is something that probably
bolster their attack.
only another submariner could
Large ammunition boxes and
appreciate,” said Capt Richard
assault equipment had to be
Baum, Captain of Submarines
hauled across the ‘battlefield’.
at HM Naval Base Clyde, who
Superb goes Dutch
Unfortunately, one of the
welcomed the boat and her 116
reinforcements set off a trip
submariners home.
wire moving across open
“Living conditions on these In the wonderful world of naval euphemisms, certain words Chatham, York, Northumberland and RFA Fort George. We
ground, alerting the enemy to
boats are tight to say the least crop up repeatedly. didn’t tell you about Superb (for operational reasons).
their presence. The SAS, not
– tolerable but not comfortable.” Lively, for example. Lively means ‘hair raising’ or ‘scary’. Now she’s back in Faslane, we can tell you about her.
Around 200 family and friends Challenging. Or bloody hard work. Actually, we can’t tell you that much about her, being the
surprisingly, showed no mercy.
were on hand to wave Sceptre And interesting. Interesting = pass me a clean pair of secretive world of the deeps, but when not being fired at
Despite their mauling, the
home, first from the Rhu Narrows, trousers. by the Dutch (admittedly they were dummy torpedoes),
sailors (heavily camouflaged),
then after a quick bus ride, from For, we are told, the launching of several torpedoes Superb did send some of her ship’s company with
returned to the ship with tales
the jetty at Faslane. at hunter-killer boat HMS Superb was ‘of particular HMS Chatham and Northumberland, and the skimmers
of epic bravery in the heat of
The party atmosphere continued interest’ to the submarine... went in the opposite direction.
cross-fire.
The offenders were the Dutch, who loosed numerous The submariners probably enjoyed their change of
‘fish’ in the Adriatic during NATO exercises – with the environment rather more, not least because their time
Super Bee as their intended victims. in the frigates allowed them to enjoy a ‘Hollywood
You will, of course, be pleased to know that the dhoby’ (which is, according to the chaps at Rum Ration
Cloggies were thwarted by the superb (pun intended) skill ‘spending as long as you like in the shower without
of the Silent Servicemen. worrying about water consumption’).
The Super Bee spent seven weeks on deployment, rather Thoroughly clean and relaxed, the deeps returned to their
shorter than Sceptre’s, but jam-packed with incident. boat for a series of sonar trials before a cracking run ashore in Gib
The boat left Faslane initially for some FOST top-up training and then it was back to the Clyde.
ahead of the main event, Exercise Noble Midas.
We reported the deeds of the surface ships – Illustrious, ● Superb on the surface in the Adriatic
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