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Items from The News, Navy News and Warship World are reproduced by kind permission of David Brown, Sarah Fletcher and Steve Bush respectively.  Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.


15 May 20 -  Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.  

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

8 May 2020 - A message from MCM1 Crew 2 currently deployed on Operation Kipion in HMS Blyth.

 

8 May 2020 - Crew 2 successfully completed our Lift The Ship Challenge!  After lifting HMS Blyth we decided that we’d keep on going until we’d lifted HMS Ledbury.  So far we’ve raised £2185!  There’s still time to donate to Kilbryde Hospice, RNRMC and St Oswalds UK.

 

8 May 2020 - Here are our top three lifters!  BZ to AB(MW) Kirkman who lifted an incredible 83,070Kg!  Many thanks to LET(ME) McGill for organising the event.  Links to our JustGiving pages can be found in our pinned tweet.

 

6 May 2020 - We’ve broken £1,250!  Thank you for all of the donations so far!  Tomorrow is the big day!  Crew 2 are ready for Lift The Ship.  Tere is still time to donate.  Links in our pinned tweet.

 

6 May 2020 - So far we’ve raised £1,045!  Can we break £1200?  ET(ME) Dunster gets in some last minute reps in preparation for Lift The Ship.  Links to our JustGiving in our pinned tweet.

 

5 May 2020 - 40 Crew vs 570,000 kg!  Our Senior AB Diver is ready for Lift The Ship!  Crew 2 goes for it on the 7th of May.  This is all in aid of some great causes.  To donate, please find the links in our pinned tweet.

 

4 May 2020 - Training continues for Lift The Ship.  Please continue to make donations to our JustGiving pages!  Links in our pinned tweet.

 

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/crew-2-kilbryde-hospice

 

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/crew-2-rnrmc

 

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/crew-2-st-oswalds

 

HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

14 May 2020 - BOOM!!  And just like that OST is complete.  Sort out the Gingerian force.  Sort out the Mustardian force.  Blow stuff up!

 

14 May 2020 - Admittedly didn't look like much, but honestly, it was like this...

 

14 May 2020 - The sun has risen, time for our Final Inspection!  Hosting the Command Task Group as we 'dispose' of the last mines.

 

13 May 2020 - Find some mines..?!  Nailed it.  Looking proud he’s found them or just keeping warm?  It is pretty chilly out I suppose.

 

11 May 2020 - After a quick stand-down we're back out to finish the job.  Last time we found the mines, now we've been told to clear them up.

 

9 May 2020 - New tasking.  Clear the harbour from 'Mustardian' Mines.  Air threat increasing.  Credible surface threat.  Everyone on edge (well almost... some are distracted by the STUNNING Scottish Landscape!

 

8 May 2020 - Still finding mines and protecting Brownia whilst we also mark VE 75 at sea.  Counting down to Shine A Light (hopefully it won't give our position away to the Mustardians.

 

8 May 2020 - Shine A Light.  VE 75.  Morse Code.

 

8 May 2020 - Shine A Light.

 

Navy Lookout

 

9 May 2020 - Royal Navy vessels Shine A Light for VE Day 75 last night.  HMS Severn, HMS Cattistock, HMS Forth.

 

7 May 2020 - If you're wondering what we’ve been up to in phase 2?  Mine Warfare!  Clearing routes, Finding Mines, Diving and using Autonomous Vehicles all at the blistering pace of 3.37 feet per second!!! (2kts).

 

5 May 2020 - The calm before the storm.

 

4 May 2020 - Final preps getting ready for phase 2.  Getting the divers deep.  Unfortunately for them they miss all the sunshine - it starts getting dark beyond around 30m down.

 

3 May 2020 - “Freeport” coastal defence consists of many things - Warships, a harbour master and Sharks.  Yes you heard me right, Sharks.

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 1/3)

 

14 May 2020 - Hello from Crew 3!  Our handover is now complete.  Keep following as we deploy in our fine ship this summer.

 

13 May 2020 - Folks that's it from Crew 1 in Chiddingfold for the time being, but we'll be back.  We leave you in the capable hands of Crew 3, most recently of HMS Hurworth fame.  To keep up with us, follow HMS Cattistock.  Stay safe xoxo.

 

HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 1)

 

12 May 2020 - We are delighted to announce that we will be entering a team for Ben’s challenge to walk/run/row/cycle from Loughborough to Istanbul to raise both money and awareness for suicide prevention in young people, a story very close to our hearts.  Click the link below to find out more.

 

www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/loughborough2istanbul

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 7)

 

6 May 2020 - After some pretty uncomfortable weather over the last few days, we now have sunshine and calm seas.  The storm always passes in the end.

 

4 May 2020 - A simply stunning evening...

 

HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 2)

 

11 May 2020 - The Royal Navy and British Army working together on Ex Grenadier Hunt practicing mutual Force Protection and Battle Damage Repair to enhance inter-service operability whilst deployed on OP KIPION.

 

8 May 2020 - 75 years ago today, the nation came together to celebrate as peace returned to Europe.  We remember the courage, service and sacrifice of those who fought so hard.  The technology may have changed, the pride and capability hasn’t.

 

6 May 2020 - After a short maintenance period, HMS Ledbury ensures her crew and weapons systems are on target by conducting a routine 30MM shoot with AB(MW) Lamb in the seat.

 

HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 8)

 

12 May 2020 - Congratulations to our Bosun PO(MW) Matthew Staunton on receiving the Herbert Lott Efficiency Award for his outstanding efforts in supporting not only Crew 8 but the wider MCM2 community.

 

HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

14 May 2020 - There’s nothing like your first promotion!  BZ to ET(ME)1 Daz Hill who picked up his first at today’s, social distanced and al fresco Captain’s Requestmen.  Not a bad backdrop, either.

 

9 May 2020 - Shine A Light for VE Day 75.

 

8 May 2020 - Proud to join in along with HMS Grimsby, HMS Ramsey, 43 Commando, HMS Raider and the MOD Police. This is what it looked like from our stern. This evening we will continue to commemorate VE Day 75 as we Shine A Light.

 

7 May 2020 - BZ NHS.  Clap For Carers.

 

HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 6)

 

12 May 2020 - Up early to catch the tide, good morning Isle of Skye.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 4)

 

8 May 2020 - Ships currently alongside the United Kingdom Naval Support Facility in Bahrain joining vessels around the world in celebrating VE Day 75.  We all thank the greatest generation for their resilience, determination and sacrifice.

 

Fleet Diving Squadron

 

14 May 2020 - Earlier this week EOD experts from SDU1 safely removed ordnance from a location in South Zeal  The ordnance was safely disposed of by controlled explosion.  FDS remain ready to support our Emergency Services 24/7/365

 

13 May 2020 - RN EOD experts from SDG have responded to several tasks this week.  Assisting Emergency Services in Penarwyn, Exeter, Saltash, Brighton and Lancing.  FDS remain ready to support our Emergency services 24/7/365.

 

11 May 2020 - On this Day: PO(D) Toby Jones was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Bravery.  Awarded for displaying true bravery onboard HMS CLYDE on 17 May 17.  He rescued a fellow crew member by providing him with his own air supply in a selfless act.

 

8 May 2020 - Today marks the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.  We remember all those who gave their tomorrow for our today, particularly the RN Clearance Divers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

7 May 2020 - RN EOD experts from Southern Diving Unit 2 assisted Emergency Services in Bracklesham yesterday.  Ordnance was safely disposed of by controlled explosion.  FDS remain ready to support our Emergency Services 24/7/365.

 

6 May 2020 - RN EOD experts from Northern Diving Group supported Emergency Services yesterday in Portpatrick.  The ordnance was disposed of by controlled explosion.  We remain ready to support our Emergency Services 24/7/365.

 

2 May 2020 - Bomb Disposal experts from Northern Diving Group assisted Police Scotland this week in Lockerbie.  The ordnance was safely disposed of by controlled explosion.

 

HM Naval Base Portsmouth

 

12 May 2020 - A mortar bomb found on a construction site in Brighton yesterday was destroyed where it lay by a 4-man EOD team from Southern Diving Unit 2, based here in Portsmouth.  Follow the work of the Royal Navy's Fleet Diving Squadron, they're fairly new to Twitter but having a blast.

 


14 May 20 - Soapy Watson earns his brass hat

 

 

Hearty congratulations to MCDOA member Richard Watson (aka 'Soapy') on being selected for promotion to A/Cdr RNR with effect from 5 Sep 2020 when he is due to take charge of all Maritime Reserves diving. 

 

Soapy, who left the RN as a Lt Cdr before joining the RNR, has single-handedly raised hundreds of pounds for Project Vernon in sponsored events including a 24-hour kayak marathon on Horsea Lake, competing in the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race on the Thames (twice), swimming around Portsea Island and swimming the length of Windermere. 

 

I am sure everyone in our community will join me in wishing him well in his new appointment.  I daresay Soapy's son Ben, a capped RN rugby player, is a touch proud too.

 

 


7 May 20 - Latest promotions

 

Hearty congratulations to MCDOA members Kevin Stockton, Sean 'Central' Heaton, David 'Stretch' Armstrong and Damian 'Slatts' Slattery on being selected for promotion to Cdr RN on today's signal.

 

Kev Stockton in January 2015 receiving Fleet Commendation from Vice Admiral

Sir Philip Jones, Fleet Commander, in recognition of his exceptional leadership

as Commanding Officer of the Fleet Diving Group (FDG)

 

Sean 'Central' Heaton when deployed as EOD Cdr, along with IEDD teams from FDU2,

during Exercise NORTHERN CHALLENGE in Iceland in October 2016

 


31 Apr 20 - Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.  

 

COMUKMCMFOR (Commander UK MCM Force in the Gulf)

 

24 Apr 2020 - Cat by name, cat by nature.  The Wildcat crew embarked on HMS MONTROSE is ready to pounce night or day, to protect our national interests.  They are currently supporting our US/UK Mine Counter Measures Exercise in the Gulf.

 

23 Apr 2020 - It takes all kinds of vessels to make a successful harbour departure happen.  The Royal Navy is always grateful to work with our friends in the US 5th Fleet who accompanied HMS Soreham and HMS Brocklesby in preparation for our Joint Mine Counter Measures Exercise.

 

22 Apr 2020 - And we’re off!  HMS Brocklesby set sail this morning to join other ships already deployed for this month’s US/UK Joint Mine Counter Measures Exercise in the Gulf.

 

22 Apr 2020 - This week, HMS Shoreham conducted whole ship training in preparation for our exciting upcoming US/UK Joint Mine Counter Measures Exercise in the Gulf.  “Fire Fighter, fight the fire!”

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

30 Apr 2020 - Crew 2 will attempt to lift HMS Blyth on 7 May!  Each Crew member will lift their share of 570,000kg to raise money for three charities important to Crew 2 & HMS Blyth.  We’ll update you on our training via Twitter.  Please donate! Links in the thread below.

 

30 Apr 2020 - HMS Blyth would like to thank RNRMC for providing Crew 2 with the funds to treat ourselves to a Pizza Night onboard!  Thank you for your continued support!

 

28 Apr 2020 - HMS Blyth remembers all of the key workers who have died during the Coronavirus outbreak. Lieutenant Black leads the tribute while his fiancé continues the fight against COVID-19 on the frontline with the NHS.

 

24 Apr 2020 - Hello to everyone at home!  Diver Baker gives the camera a wave as he conducts a routine hull swim of HMS Blyth.  Let’s see your waves HMS Brocklesby, HMS Ledbury and HMS Shoreham.  What about your swimmers of the watch HMS Montrose and HMS Argyll?

 

22 Apr 2020 - Yesterday, HMS Blyth wished Her Majesty the Queen a Happy Birthday by dressing ship!

 

17 Apr 2020 - HMS Blyth's Operations Officer completes his pre-dive checks before proceeding on a routine training deep dive!  HMS Blyth is currently deployed to the Gulf.

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 5)

 

29 Apr 2020 - Congratulations to our shipmate ET Calter and his girlfriend Lauren on the birth of their new baby boy!  Sending best wishes from all on board HMS Brocklesby.

 

29 Apr 2020 - Despite the COVID pandemic, Royal Navy minehunters remain ready for anything.  HMS Brocklesby has been exercising with the US 5th Fleet in the Gulf, practising detection and disposal of dummy sea mines to keep vital trade routes open.

 

HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

30 Apr 22 - Thursdays only mean one thing - ‘War’ (MCM style of course) Action Stations, Fires, Floods and some ‘friendly’ Fighting...

 

29 Apr 2020 - If you’ve been wondering what we’ve been up to - I’ll just leave this here...

 

27 Apr 2020 - Back to it today, with defence against chemical attack, into some seamanship in the form of towing!  In light of HMS Tyne's life saving efforts this weekend, it’s crucial we are trained to deal with any form of MAYDAY.

 

26 Apr 2020 - Short logistics stop in Freeport (no chance of shore leave), so XO is trying his hand as a barber!  Navs is nervous, not as much as X though, the CO is up next!

 

25 Apr 2020 - How has your Saturday been?  We’re just over here protecting “Freeport” from an enemy “Ginger” vessel  Our Force Protection teams are always on alert.

 

23 Apr 2020 - In HMS Cattistock we’re not just mine hunters and bomb frogs, we do all kinds of Warfighting on Ship... just over here doing some winching, no biggie.

 

23 Apr 2020 - Don’t mind us... just off being the duty hero and providing assistance to a stricken “Brownian” vessel just outside “Freeport”.  Now where is the helo?

 

23 Apr 2020 - Rule of the Road exam for Warfare Officers including the CO and practicing securing to a buoy.  Now we are off to do some flying MCM style.  Happy St George’s Day - See you in a bit!

 

21 Apr 2020 - Sailing from "Freeport" to begin our Sea Phase of Operational Sea Training.  First up Navigation and Force Protection Training.  THE SAFEGUARD RULE IS NOW IN FORCE!!

  

21 Apr 2020 - Happy Birthday Ma'am!!  21st April is a special day.  Not only Her Majesty's Birthday but also the CO's Daughter's 4th Birthday today.  Happy Birthday to her and to all celebrating whilst a loved one is away.

 

20 Apr 2020 - MASC complete - We are SAFE TO TRAIN!!  Breakfast seems like a long time ago!  Now the hard work begins, sailing from Freeport tomorrow!

 

20 Apr 2020 - The time has come for our Material and Safety Check - going through the entire Ship with a fine tooth comb.  Everything from weapons, machinery, documents and cleanliness.  Here we go!!  Pop back later to find out how we get on.

 

19 Apr 2020 - We’ve fought the War against dust and we’ve prepared all of our documentation.  Time for bed.  T-9 hours till MASC.

 

19 Apr 2020 - Nearly there.. Galley sports next (cleaning the kitchen) so only one thing for it.. takeaway pizza.  T-14 hours to go.

 

19 Apr 2020 - So who doesn’t enjoy a Sunday morning spring clean?  HMS Cattistock is fighting the war against dust in preparation for our Material and Safety Check tomorrow.  T-16 hours to go.

 

18 Apr 2020 - First entry into ‘Freeport’ (Plymouth) ready to make final preparations for our first Operational Sea Training assessment next week.

 

17 Apr 2020 - Makes McMuffins this morning, rescues Ruth this afternoon.  Not just a Diver in the Royal Navy.

 

17 Apr 2020 -  Prepping for OST the right way - Diver by day, chef and medic by night. Train Hard Fight Easy literally made easy with these Sausage and Egg "McMuffins" to fuel the day HMS Cattistock style.  Tune in later to see what else he gets up to today

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

23 Apr 2020 - We've been doing everything we can the last few weeks to isolate our crew and minimise the chance of exposing ourselves to disease. That hasn't stopped the Coxswain from going out and catching crabs though.

 

19 Apr 2020 - Twitters followers I have let you down.  Tweeto lost the black spot.  This was his punishment:

 

19 Apr 2020 - If you don't hear from us for a couple of days it is because I am still sulking.

 

17 Apr 2020 - Driving this 11m wide ship through this 26m wide gap is just about as dicey as it looks.  Luckily we are all highly talented maritime professionals and, failing that, we have a pilot and tugs from QHM Portsmouth to do the heavy lifting.

 

HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 1)

 

30 Apr 2020 - Happy Birthday to Captain (now honorary Colonel) Tom Moore who has been an inspiration to the country and has truely represented the Best of British spirit, thank you for your fundraising efforts in support of the NHS.

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 3/7)

 

30 Apr 2020 - A very happy 100th birthday to Capt Tom Moore.

 

29 Apr 2020 - It’s business as usual for our Mine Clearance Dive Team as they get back into the water for some training.  Here they are practicing an emergency recovery to Hurworth (a chance for the Ops Officer to have a lay down on the job!).

 

27 Apr 2020 - A great day of training in the sunshine, although don’t be fooled by the calm seas... water temperature of 9 degrees will still take your breath away!

 

27 Apr 2020 - Crew 7 have taken HMS Hurworth to sea for the first time since the handover, and will be putting her through some basic drills and skills.  Absolutely perfect conditions out there!

 

21 Apr 2020 - Dress Ship to celebrate the birthday of Her Majesty, The Queen.  Happy Birthday Ma’am!

 

16 Apr 2020 - Handover complete!  Crew 7 now have the weight.  It’s been an incredibly productive and successful 6 months for Crew 3.  You can catch up with Crew 3 in our new home of HMS Chiddingfold soon.  Thanks to our followers for your support!

 

HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 2)

 

28 Apr 2020 - HMS Ledbury held a one minute silence today to commemorate and honour the key workers lost in the fight against coronavirus.

 

24 Apr 2020 - HMS Ledbury's Mine Clearance Divers washing their hands and clapping at the same time!

 

21 Apr 2020 - Even as HMS Ledbury looks her best for Her Majesty’s Birthday on the outside, the dirty work continues inside with the ship’s Marine Engineers (‘stokers’) carrying out upgrades to Ledbury’s mechanical systems.

 

HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

23 Apr 2020 - Despite the near-total global lockdown, Royal Navy minehunters continue to patrol the Gulf to keep trade flowing.

 

23 Apr 2020 - Some video of one of Divers engaging a “Killer Kiwi” target with the .50 cal HMG.  The noise is much more impressive for real!

 

21 Apr 2020 - Perks of the job.

 

21 Apr 2020 - Great weather.  Stunning scenery.  Spot of impromptu training with a passing Merlin from RNAS Culdrose.  Another good Navy Day as we continue to train hard for operations.

 

17 Apr 2020 - Always great to be able to recognise our sailors.  Today the CO was able to present Herbert Lott efficiency awards to the WEO and DWEO, rewarding them for going above and beyond as we get ready for operations.  The certificate comes with a generous cash gift courtesy of the RNRMC.

 

16 Apr 2020 - Not a bad way to start the day.

 

HMS Penzance (MCM1 Crew 3)

 

30 Apr 2020 - Thank you NHS for all you’re doing in the battle against Coronavirus from all of us in HMS PENZANCE.  We’re humbled by your sense of duty and sacrifice.

 

HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 6)

 

30 Apr 2020 - Happy Birthday Colonel Tom from all in Crew 6.

 

Fleet Diving Squadron

 

30 Apr 2020 - A special underwater Dive Navy Clap For Our Carers, Clap For The NHS and celebration of Captain Tom Moore's 100th Birthday from everyone in the Royal Navy Fleet Diving Squadron.

 

29 Apr 2020 - RN Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts from SDU1 assisted Devon & Cornwall Police yesterday in Yettington.  Ordnance was removed and will be safely disposed of.  We remain ready to support our Emergency Services 24/7/365.

 

29 Apr 2020 - On this day: Chief Petty Officer (Diver) A Carss was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal on 29 Apr 03.  Awarded for his brave conduct when rendering safe a WW2 250kg bomb that was unearthed in HM Naval Base Portsmouth.  It took 20 hours to expose and make safe the fuses.

 

27 Apr 2020 - On 27 Apr 2004, Petty Officer (Diver) J Ravenhall was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service Awarded for his actions during the recovery of personnel killed in a collison involving two Sea Kings from HMS ARK ROYAL over the Arabian Gulf on 22 Mar 2003.

 

22 Apr 2020 - Explosive Ordnance Disposal Experts from Southern Diving Unit 2 assisted HM Coastguard Selsey today at Bracklesham Bay.  Munitions were safely disposed off by using a controlled explosion.

 

18 Apr 2020 - RN Bomb Disposal experts from Southern Diving Unit 2 supporting Surrey Police in Steyning.  The team safely disposed of Historic explosive ordnance, ensuring public safety FDS are ready to support our Emergency Services 24/7/365.

 

17 Apr 2020 - This afternoon Southern Diving Unit 2 supported Hampshire Police in Kingley Vale.  The item was safely disposed of by controlled explosive demolition.

 

Navy Lookout

 

22 Apr 2020 - HMS Chiddingfold arrives in Portsmouth this morning.

 


15 Apr 20 - Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.

 

COMUKMCMFOR (Commander UK MCM Force in the Gulf)

 

6 Apr 2020 - Saturday was International Mine Awareness Day. Mines have potential to close waterways. Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels HMS Blyth, HMS Brocklesby, HMS Ledbury & HMS Shoreham conduct maritime security operations in the Gulf so commercial shipping can operate freely.

 

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

13 Apr 2020 - Business as usual for MCM1 Crew 2.  HMS Blyth remains ready for routine operations in the Gulf.

 

 

HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

15 Apr 2020 - And we’re off - Operational Sea Training we are coming for you!  Stay tuned with our Crew 6 Mavericks to see how we get on!

 

9 Apr 2020 - Admitedly not at 2000, but HMS Cattistock's Dive Team still wanted to show appreciation for our key workers and carers.

 

8 Apr 2020 - Love the smell of cordite in the morning!

 

4 Apr 2020 - Back at sea for HMS CATTISTOCK, busy day with serials like this MOBEX all performed to a high standard.  All in preparation for delivering on global operations.

 

4 Apr 2020 - Busy days at sea like today require the crew to remain well fed.  Thank you to CH Turner and CH Williams for Steak and Chicken Kievs tonight.

 

3 Apr 2020 - Imagine passing your driving test, getting in the car for the first time and having to reverse all the way out of the busy car park.  That is what our new Commanding Officer did today!

 

2 Apr 2020 - HMS CATTISTOCK showing our appreciation to all the NHS staff and key workers.

 

2 Apr 2020 - Welcome to Lt Cdr D Lee who takes over Command of HMS CATTISTOCK and MCM2 Crew 6 from Lt Cdr [Claire] Thompson: as the ship continues to prepare for global operations.

 

 

2 Apr 2020 - It was a pleasure to host you for the morning Sir (Adm Tony Radakin).

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

15 Apr 2020 - Instruction came down from above that we were to go to sea and test the 30mm cannon.  We (not so!) reluctantly obliged.

 

13 Apr 2020 - It's moments like these make you proud to be British.  Fancy popping over for tea HMS Tyne?

 

3 Apr 2020 - Our MEO returned from isolation yesterday and presented his latest arts and craft project (our Ship's crest) to the Captain, literally gleaming!  If any of our followers have created anything in the last few weeks, we'd love to see it!

 

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

6 Apr 2020 - Here are the ‘Sailors of the Month’ for March.  These three outstanding sailors were instrumental in our success at OST and were recognised for their strong teamwork, professionalism and resilience in the face of persistent challenges.

 

3 Apr 2020 - Sometimes traditional methods are the best!  Communication by visual means - flashing light.  Here we are exchanging identities with HMS Severn.

 

3 Apr 2020 - Our Swimmer of the Watch has that Friday Feeling.

 

 

2 Apr 2020 - Here is one of our divers getting wet, practising his drills down to 42m.

 

2 Apr 2020 - Another day, another Seafox run.  Here is our Local Control Operator (LCO) guiding the Seafox mine disposal system into the recovery net.

 

1 Apr 2020 - Always loved the morning watch... 0400-0800: an overwhelming sense of moral superiority because everyone else is asleep; you get to wake the whole ship with “call the hands”; and you get to watch the sunrise.

 

HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 2)

 

14 Apr 2020 - Business as usual over Easter weekend for HMS Ledbury’s Mine Clearance Divers.  From one frontline unit to another, thank you NHS!

 

 

HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

14 Apr 2020 - Great morning for a swim, although RN Ruth and Fred got a little carried away and leapt overboard (again).  Never fear, our swimmer-of-the-watch brought her back onboard safe and well.

 

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 4)

 

9 Apr 2020 - Members of HMS Shoreham Ship's Company recently spent a hot afternoon topping up our First Aid Sea Survival and Damage Control routine training, making sure we're ready for anything at sea.

 

 

Fleet Diving Squadron

 

15 Apr 2020 - Incredibly proud to be a Felix Fund Trustee... have a look at Felix Fund tips for getting through the challenges of lockdown.

 

15 Apr 2020 - Today Southern Diving Unit 1 provided EOD support to Devon & Cornwall Police in Torquay.  FDS Units remain at immediate notice to support our emergency services 24/7/365.

 

14 Apr 2020 - FDS remain at immediate notice 24/7/365 to support our Emergency Services on land and at sea.  Today Southern Diving Unit 1 provided diving support to the MOD Police in Plymouth Sound.

 

 

14 Apr 2020 - What does it take to be a Royal Navy Clearance Diver?  A real pleasure to work with Bremont on this video; and a great insight into the Royal Navy Clearance Diver specialisation.

 

9 Apr 2020 - Brand new to the twittersphere: FDS provides dedicated and motivated Clearance Divers, to defeat complex Explosive Ordnance threats and deliver highly specialist diving capabilities to UK Defence; in peace and war.

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

10 Apr 2020 - Grateful to DESIDER Magazine for their published article on the RN Sweep Demonstrator Cold Wx Trials in Canada, successfully completed by MASTT, earlier this year.

 

 


4 Apr 20 - Latest EOD Tasks

 

The Devon Live website contains this article reporting the disposal of an unexploded projectile unearthed in a garden in Belstone, near Okehampton in Devon on 30 March.

 

 

The same website contains this article reporting yesterday's disposal of a smoke marker found on the ridge at Westward Ho! in Cornwall. 

 

 

Both tasks were undertaken by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1).

 

     

 


3 Apr 20 - Death of former CD Roy Peter 'Ginger/Dinah' Shore

 

I am grateful to CD branch legend Eamon 'Ginge' Fullen QGM for this sad notification:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Hope all is well in isolation.  

 

One of the old boys that I met has just died.  He was mentioned in Yorky Wilkinson's chronicles [see entry for 13 Jun 18 in News Archive 62].  He wasn't in the branch too long and did not go into diving but had fond memories.  I was only chatting to him last week as I'm writing chronicles of the big EOD clearances.

 

Please find attached a dit and a few photos.  His family is happy to share the info on the CD websites etc.  His death was not to do with the virus.

 

Cheers Rob.

 

Stay safe,

 

Ginge"

 

This is the information Ginge Fullen attached to his email:

 

Roy Peter 'Ginger/Dinah' Shore MBE

 

Peter Shore's recollections:

 

"I had joined as a Boy Seaman October 1949 at HMS St Vincent, the Portsmouth boy seamen's training establishment.

 

After passing out there I was sent Devonport to await allocation to a ship.  Hundreds of us would muster every morning in the Drill Shed and await allocation to a daily duty ranging from dockyard street cleaning, spud peeling and window cleaning.  The Drill Officer giving the jobs out on nearing me shouted “can anyone swim?”.  My hand shot up and, being virtually under his walking stick, he noticed me and shouted that I was to report to the Chief up at the Dockyard swimming pool.

 

Once there I was detailed off to clean the toilets!  There was a SWD [Shallow Water Diver] course going on and as one of the candidates did not like being underwater, lo and behold I was called over and given a length of rope to hold.  I quickly found out there was a diver on the other end.  After some time the chief in charge shouted “haul them up and change round”.  You can imagine my horror, so panicking I shot my hand up and so was questioned by the chief as to my concern.  After hesitantly explaining I was only there by accident/chance I was told “not to matter, you have got knickers on haven’t you?”  Bewildered, I nodded.  I was on course now apparently.  Thus, after some weeks or so I became a qualified ship’s diver!  We used, if my memory is correct a slightly modified piece of Submarine Escape Equipment which had a small limited time oxygen tube and a cartridge of CO2 absorbent powder.  The name DSEA always rings a bell."

  

Peter qualified as Clearance Diver in 1955 on course number 14 and served in Malta which also saw service in the Suez crisis in 1956.  He was awarded one of the few Mine and Bomb Disposal medals for EOD work on the Malta team. 

 

FCDT 35 km away from Port Said at El Cap - The British and French front lines

 

He played rugby for the Navy and that’s when we had a big Navy and it was all officers in the team.  In the early days the first eight weeks of CD course was done in the home ports of Devonport, Portsmouth and Chatham.  Portsmouth and Chatham were running alongside us with a dozen people and more starting from each location.  A total of 57 started course number 14 from all three units.

 

From Peter Shore's diaries:

 

"Toward the end of the eight weeks we were given an interesting challenge which was to attack the local Esso petroleum storage tanks and blow them up.  For this exercise, the complex right on the river would be guarded by Royal Marines and the TA and we had a window of 24 hours in which to attack it and place our so-called bombs.  Observers would be on site to keep the rough stuff to a minimum and comment on the outcome.  We divers were divided into pairs and allowed to make our own plans.

 

Well I played rugby with some of the Marines and didn’t think they would understand anything about keeping the rough stuff to a minimum so devised a strategy for myself and my partner Yorky Wilkinson to do it our way.  I knew a girl in Torpoint whose father was a painter and decorator and persuaded him to lend us his work van and two sets of white overalls and a long ladder.  Suitably dressed we screeched to a halt dead on 12 pm the start time of the exercise and in panic mode begged the Marines to be let in for a paint job that needed to be finished.  After vaguely flashing our home-made work passes we were shooed in with cusses and threats to get the job done quickly.  Oh, we did that alright and went straight around to the unwatched fuel tanks and liberally painted ‘BOMB’ in secluded but very pertinent and vulnerable spots.  Some 15 minutes later we drove out with our equipment and shouting grateful thanks to the sentries.

 

Returning to the Diving School not one hour later we reported that we had completed our mission and placed our bombs.  In fact, our other course members were still getting their suits and dummy limpet mines ready.  Our Boss rather smugly rang the RM observer and explained that one of his teams had already successfully completed its task and was it really worth sending in the others just to rub it in.  Naturally there was an argument but we won the day as the task had been to blow up the target, not how, where, why or what, just blow it up, and we did.  Of course, they were expecting a night time attack from the sea.  Clearance Divers 1 – Royal Marines 0.

 

By Webmaster: According to information received from Les Maynard, this course photo, taken at the Joint Services Bomb Disposal School at Broadbridge Heath near Horsham in West Sussex in June 1955, comprised: Back row: Les Maynard, Derek 'Del' Rowe, Yorky Wilkinson, Bob 'Jock' Adam and Peter 'Dinah' Shore.  Front Row: Bernard Edward 'Donkey' Bray, Bill Bailey, Philip Le Cornu and Dutchy Vanderson.  See entry for 11 Jul 16 in News Archive 55.

 

1955 CD Course on Bomb Disposal Course

 

Several of my course were drafted to Malta at the same time at the start of 1956 where we would be working hard but playing even harder.  Jock Adams, Donkey, Yorky and myself.  Much of our day to day work was of course salvaging and indentify numerous items on land and in water, survey, checking out virtually every suspicious reported object.  The dockyard cranes, fishermen would dredge up dozens of items that would of course need to be examined, for many ships had been sunk or bombed in the many harbours. Then there were an new influx of holidaymakers with snorkels who would also be exploring lesser-known rocky inlets and would come across projectiles any weird object would be reported to the local police who would then alert us. Readers must remember the size of our area was throughout the Med.  Measuring some 2000 miles long and over 500 miles wide with some 20 countries with ports and coastline to worry about and we were always wanted NOW (even sometimes yesterday! especially if money was involved!).

 

AB(CD) Peter 'Dinah' Shore

 

One notable trip was to survey the seabed off a bay at Benghazi, Libya prior to laying an oil pipeline out to a moored buoy.  It turned out to be a German Type ‘C’ Magnetic/Acoustic Influence mine with a type 34A fuze.  It weighed 1 Ton and was 10ft long.  So it was a case of all change, big rethink and signals to Head Office.  Action was instigated with the police to secure not only the immediate site but to half evacuate the dock area being 90% an oil distribution complex!  My job was comparatively easy for I had to man the phone to ensure all moves and steps, tools and tea-breaks taken by Boss II, the submerged MDO (Mine Disposal Officer) were recorded for posterity/training and research.  This was a wise precaution in case the thing blew up; if so, at least someone (the UK boffins) would know where we went wrong!  One small drawback was that I was manning the phone at the pointed end as I was only a few feet above the mine handing tools al la medical operating surgeon!  Sometimes it felt awfully lonely!  All ended well."

 

Peter Shore left the Navy in the late 1950s.  Whilst travelling through Nepal with his wife set up a charity over there which he continued to support throughout his life.

 

Roy Peter Shore was gazetted for his appointment as an MBE in the 2006 New Year Honours "for services to Scouting in Bristol and to the Friendship Medical Clinic in Nepal".

 

Also see Beryl & Peter Shore MBE.

 


2 Apr 20 - Promotions to Warrant Officer

 

Hearty congratulations to CPO(MW) Ricky Nelson, CPO(MW) Sean Slee and CPO(D) Eddie Waring on being selected for promotion to WO1 (Warrant Officer 1st Class) on today's signal.

 

Ricky Nelson kneeling centre

 

Sean Slee second right

 

Eddie Waring

 


1 Apr 20 - Latest LS&GC Awards

 

Hearty congratulations to MCDOA member Bob Hawkins MBE on being gazetted for the award of the 8th clasp to his Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.  This is a new record where the RN officer corps is concerned.

 

    

 

Bob's diving qualification was rescinded following injuries he sustained during an encounter with an unusually aggressive shrimp while based in Penang (see entry for 13 Dec 12 in News Archive 40).  Although he is still serving in a much extended capacity, he is currently on a 12-week lockdown at home owing to his 'shielded' status (age-related vulnerability) during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Bob gallantly abandoned his walking frame especially for this photo

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in wishing Bob and his delightful carer Trudy continued good fortune in the years to come.

 


31 Mar 20 - Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.

 

Royal Navy

 

27 Mar 2020 - HMS Grimsby has cleared D-Day leftovers off Seine Bay, Northern France, in a NATO minehunting mission.

 

26 Mar 2020 - Nine Royal Navy ships have shadowed seven Russian ships in UK waters. "As the Armed Forces are helping the NHS save lives in the UK, it’s essential the Navy continues to deliver the tasks we have always performed to help keep Britain safe."

 

HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

26 Mar 2020 - Don’t forget us!  CATTISTOCK involved 3 weeks ago!

 

24 Mar 2020 - Exercise JOINT WARRIOR will take place in a significantly reduced form off the coast of Scotland from March 28 to April 10.  Alongside allies from USA, Denmark, Germany & Norway, the UK will conduct vital Submarine & Mine Warfare training.

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 2) in the Gulf

 

24 Mar 2020 - Our Senior AB(MW) Jack “Jetski” Rzepecki has been spending his downtime on deployment learning to play the ukulele!

 

 

22 Mar 2020 - Sometimes the old ways are best!  Below, Crew 2’s Captain teaches one of our Young Officers about celestial navigation at twilight.

 

22 Mar 2020 - From gauges to Glocks!  One of our Marine Engineering technicians gains an insight into the world of Force Protection as he fires one of HMS Blyth's 9mm pistols in a routine training serial under the supervision of our Bosun.

 

HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

26 Mar 2020 - Who’s that on the horizon?  Fantastic day at sea - exchanging ID’s, CONAV, boat drills and a man overboard exercise.  All in a day's work for MCM2 Crew 6.  Who could ask for better weather?

 

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

28 Mar 2020 - Ears on the upper deck! Today we took part in the Pompey Chimes in recognition of the spirit of the people of Portsmouth, here and throughout the country.

 

26 Mar 2020 - As the sun rose over HM Naval Base Portsmouth this morning, so did the water around the Ship's hull.  All hands to the pump (literally!) to achieve this.

 

25 Mar 2020 - Despite the challenges of lockdown for much of the nation, it's Chiddingfold's last day in her lockdown as we flood up tomorrow and re-enter the water.  We're fighting through and on track to deploy this summer.

 

 

HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 1)

 

30 Mar 2020 - HMS Grimsby transiting through the Kiel Canal a few weeks ago.

 

29 Mar 2020 - A little late, but here’s HMS Grimsby with SNMCMG1 clapping for those on the front line at home fighting against COVID-19.  Thank you.

 

27 Mar 2020 - Boom!  We’ve been busy this week clearing mines left over from D-day in Seine Bay with our friends from NATO.

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

31 Mar 2020 - Nope, it’s not a yellow submarine.  It’s our Emergency [sic] Mine Lifting Bag (EMLB).  Our divers use the EMLB to lift ordnance from the seabed and move it to a safe location for disposal.

 

(EMLB = Enclosed Mine Lifting Bag)

 

31 Mar 2020 - Here we are returning back to Portsmouth after completing our Operational Sea Training.  We had a very successful training period.  The team were praised for their “professionalism and resilience... robust fighting spirit and unit cohesion.”

 

27 Mar 2020 - It’s the Captain’s 10 year wedding anniversary today.  Without the support of our nearest and dearest, we couldn’t do what we do.  Thank you to the families and friends of all the crew!

 

27 Mar 2020 - Here’s the team raising the jackstaff.  It requires a safety harness and nerves of steel.  It also requires a deal of trust in your oppo at the ‘Titanic moment’!

 

27 Mar 2020 - Excellent day for navigation training.  Here’s one of our ‘Young Officers’ (Officer under training) navigating the ship in the Solent.

 

26 Mar 2020 - Another productive day at sea done.  Well, almost done.  After the sun sets, our watchkeepers stay up throughout the night, keeping the ship on task and safe.

 

26 Mar 2020 - Who doesn’t like a slo-mo?  Here’s our 30mm gun in action today.

 

19 Mar 2020 - ‘Hands to Action Stations!’  As an external threat builds we get in the best position to respond by being ‘at action’; with manpower and weapons ready.  We’ve been training at action this week.

 

 

17 Mar 2020 - More of this for us today.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 4) in the Gulf

 

29 Mar 2020 - HMS Shoreham continues to keep her teeth sharp!  We enjoyed some fantastic weather to keep up our routine gunnery practice at sea this week.  Here you can see the Ship's Company training with Mark 44, Heavy Machine Gun and 30mm cannon.

 

 

NATO Maritime Command

 

26 Mar 2020 - Two of our naval groups (SNMG2 & SNMCMG2) trained together last week in waters just off Crete including performing a mine 'lead through' and signal communication.

 

22 Mar 2020 - Maritime interdiction training with Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group One (SNMCMG1).  An officer from SNMCMG1-Flagship FGS Donau roleplays as a civilian captain.

 

Amy Savage

 

31 Mar 2020 - HMS Grimsby departing HM Naval Base Portsmouth this morning.

 

 

25 Mar 2020 - HMS Cattistock outbound from HM Naval Base Portsmouth.

 

Mark Smith

 

31 Mar 2020 - Safe travels.  HMS Hurworth leaving Portsmouth.

 

HMS Hurworth

 

 31 Mar 2020 - Thanks Mark!  We continue to be at very high readiness for operations.  This week we’ll be conducting more damage control, gunnery, navigation, diving, and mine warfare training.

 


28 Mar 20 - SDU2 deals with ordnance on Southsea beach

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article, including video, reporting yesterday's detonation of a piece of ordnance on Southsea beach by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2).

 


27 Mar 20 - HMS Grimsby clears D-Day leftovers in Seine Bay

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting the clearance by HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 1) of wartime ordnance in Seine Bay.  The ship is currently assigned to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) alongside flagship FGS Donau, BNS Bellis, HNLMS Willemstad and HNoMS Otra.

 

 

(RN website images)

 

 

This is a chart of mines swept in Seine Bay between 6 June and 31 July 1944.

 


Mines swept in Seine Bay 6 June to 31 July 1944 courtesy of Michael Friend

 

More background in the article titled Operation Neptune: The Minesweeping Operation 5-6 June 1944 by David Verghese in the website's 'Dit Box'.

 


23 Mar 20 - News from COMUKMCMFOR in the Gulf

 

I am grateful to Lt Matt Trounson RN for this update on behalf of COMUKMCMFOR (Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force) in Bahrain:

 

Mine Warfare is a Complicated Profession…

Lieutenant Matthew Trounson Royal Navy

Battle Watch Captain

Mine Warfare Battle Staff – Red Watch

 

Commander United Kingdom Mine Counter Measures Force (COMUKMCMFOR) forms part of OPERATION KIPION, previously known as the Armilla Patrol in the 1980s and 1990s.  This is the UK’s long-standing commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the Gulf.  One of the key reasons for this is ensuring the safe flow of trade, with 21% of global petroleum liquid consumption[1] transiting through the Strait of Hormuz every day.

 

COMUKMCMFOR, Commander Neil Griffiths RN, holds Tactical Command of the Afloat Forward Support Base (AFSB) RFA CARDIGAN BAY and four UK Mine Counter Measures Vessels (MCMVs), HMS BROCKLESBY, HMS BLYTH, HMS LEDBURY and HMS SHOREHAM, all of which are forward deployed to the region.  The MCMV hulls are maintained in theatre for significant periods by the Fleet Support Unit, while the crews rotate with their UK counterparts.

 

Commander Griffiths and his Mine Warfare Battle Staff, embarked in AFSB, ensure effective command, control and support to the MCMVs.  All a+pects are catered for from logistical and engineering expertise, intelligence and meteorological outputs to the MCMVs, to the Medical Officer providing cover for the entire force.  CARDIGAN BAY herself holds and supplies essntial fuel, stores and provisions which greatly extend the endurance of Mine Countermeasures (MCM) operations.

 

When on task the Battle Staff maintain 24hr operational coverage with its two current operations teams consisting of a Communications Rating, Ops Room Supervisor and Battle Watch Captain. They co-ordinate the MCM effort as directed by the Operations Officer and Operations Room Manager, both holding extensive Mine Warfare experience. 

 

The wealth of capability within the Battle Staff is not limited to UK forces alone.  In the recent annual EXERCISE KHUNJAR HADD (Sharp Dagger) COMUKMCMFOR acted as the Operational Authority for an international Mine Warfare Task Unit comprising UK, US and Omani forces.  The central point of control provided by the Battle Staff allowed for effective co-ordination of assets across a multi-national range of communication systems.  The US Mine Hunting Unit embarked on CARDIGAN BAY utilised remotely operated boats to detect contacts with their advanced sonar before interrogation and counter-mining by the two UK MCMVs.

 

 

 

 

Mine Warfare Battle Staff - Red Watch will remain in theatre for several more months. They will be relieved by White Watch thus maintaining continuous support to the MCMVs and to UK overseas interests.

 

[1] Justine Barden, The Strait of Hormuz is the world's most important oil transit chokepoint, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2019, (Accessed 12/02/2020)

 


21 Mar 20 - Call-out for SDU2

 

The Dorset Echo website contains this article reporting that members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) were called to deal with a suspected piece of ordnance found on Purbeck Beach near Swanage today. The military item was declared safe and removed.

 

Swanage Coastguard image

 

Who else identifies it as a respirator (gas mask) filter cartridge?

 


20 Mar 20 - Vernon Monument installed and unveiled

 

 

On 14 March, it was reluctantly decided to cancel the more elaborate unveiling ceremony for the MCDOA-sponsored Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument, long planned for Wednesday 25 March and deftly organised with much effort by former WO(MW) Dixie Dean MBE and MCDOA member Grenville Johnson MBE.  As readers will be aware, the risk to health from Coronavirus has increased dramatically and the Project, like GWQ, are risk averse.  In short there was no point in risking the life of even one of our supporters or our management team or those in GWQ in the face of the undoubtedly increasing threat of COVID-19.  It was also taken into account that a high percentage of the 800 invited to attend the ceremony fell into the definition of "Vulnerable" where the virus is concerned.  Events since this decision have only served to confirm its wisdom.

 

In the meantime, it was still possible to install the monument on Tuesday 17 March (but probably not for much longer) and it is intended to organise a "Dedication Ceremony" at some time in the future when the risk to health has subsided and circumstances are much more favourable.  It might even be next year before it is safe to celebrate together in a more appropriate manner.

 

At 0715 on a bright sunny morning, the monument created by eminent sculptor Mark Richards FRSS, arrived on a low loader trailer at Gunwharf Quays, the former site of HMS VERNON in Portsmouth.  Owing to the light traffic, the journey from the Morris Singer Foundry at Lasham had taken nearly two hours less than expected.

 

 

Much of the rest of the day was spent anchoring the monument's supporting framework to the bottom of Pool B, mounting the sculpture on top and then waiting for the newly cleaned pool to fill with sea water.  Many thanks to sculptor Mark Richards, the team from the Morris Singer Foundry and the hauliers ably assisted by Project supporter Cdr John Ling and Gunwharf Quays operations manager Mike Coulter and his team which included the late CPO(D) Colin 'Icy' Coldwell’s grandson, Lee Davey, plus their helpers, for ensuring things went smoothly.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to project supporter James Dougill of Arc Sound, live video streams of the day's events, including interviews with some of the key players, were provided via the Project Vernon Facebook group and watched around the world.  They can still be accessed and seen by anyone who missed them:

 

Project Vernon - The Mine Warfare and Diving Monument

 

 

After being introduced by the monument's Project Manager, MCDOA co-founding Chairman David Sandiford, Cdre Jeremy Bailey, Commander of Portsmouth Naval Base, cut the ribbon to unveil the monument in a deliberately low-key ceremony. 

 

 

 

The physical unveiling was performed by members of the Portsmouth-based Fleet Diving Squadron comprising CPO(D) Alex Newnes, LS(D) Michael ‘Dolly’ Parton, AB(D)s Adam Leonard, Connor Whiting, Daniel Mulholland, Thomas Waterhouse and AB(MW) Charles Wood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebratory drinks were then enjoyed in the Old Customs House pub, formerly the Captain's offices in HMS VERNON.

 

 

The following day, information boards were mounted each side of Pool B in which the monument 'floats'.  Many thanks to MCDOA member Geoff Goodwin and the staff of Southsea-based Starfish Creative Design for their production.

 

 

 

 

The information boards provide access to the new Vernon Link website, specially created to describe and illustrate what the Vernon Monument symbolises.  Many thanks to MCDOA member Geoff Goodwin, the University of Portsmouth and a host of other contributors involved in its production.  There is lots to see and read so have a good look around it.  Click on the drop-down menus at the top of the page for lists of sections:

 

Vernon Link -  Linking Gunwharf Quays with HMS Vernon, the Royal Navy, Mine Warfare and Diving

 

Public reaction to the monument has been overwhelmingly positive in social media.  Press coverage includes the following articles but please note that contrary to some reports, the sculpture is a monument, not a memorial:

 

Portsmouth News: Amazing new statue honouring Royal Navy sailors unveiled at Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays

 

Royal Navy: Divers and Mine Warfare Memorial Unveiled in Portsmouth

 

UK Defence Journal: Vernon Mine Warfare and Diving Monument Unveiled

 

Gunwharf Quays: Vernon Monument

 

A big thank you to all our supporters to date.  As previously stated, it is still intended to hold a formal dedication service when circumstances permit but it is also intended to install lighting to bathe the statue in artificial light at night, which is why fundraising isn’t quite complete yet.  The latest moneyspinner devised by the team is selling bronze statuettes of the monument.  These can be pre-ordered via the Project Vernon website's shop although delivery is presently delayed as they come from China: 

 

www.vernon-monument.org.uk/shop

 


18 Mar 20 - Latest LS&GC Awards

 

Congratulations to LS(D) (now PO(D)) Joe Broadhead on being gazetted for the award of the Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

 


16 Mar 20 -  Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

13 Mar 2020 - HMS BLYTH and HMS SHOREHAM recently visited Kuwait on Commonwealth Day.  British Ambassador to Kuwait Michael Davenport MBE and Major General Khaled Abdullah Commander of the Kuwait Naval Force embarked to discuss ongoing relations between the Royal Navy and Kuwait Naval Force. 

 

13 Mar 2020 - HMS BLYTH and HMS SHOREHAM got down to business with KNS Istiqlal!  A morning of Officer of the Watch Manoevres exercised both nations’ Navies in their tactical manoeuvring in close proximity to one another.

 

8 Mar 2020 - HMS BLYTH Crew 2 has recently been conducting routine Seafox runs in challenging conditions to maintain operational readiness and to prove just how effective our combat systems are.

 

8 Mar 2020 - The HMS BLYTH Team for Operation Kipion 2020.

 

 

8 Mar 2020 - We must always be ready to deal with an emergency on board so the training never stops, even when deployed on operations!  This week, HMS BLYTH conducted a galley fire exercise to hone our skills.

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 5)

 

12 Mar 2020 - Today I had the pleasure of meeting the Master of a merchant vessel from Foreland Shipping Ltd.  HMS Brocklesby's mine hunting and disposal capability helps keep the sea lines of communication open for such vital shipping.

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

13 Mar 2020 - When we’re conducting mine hunting operations in defence watches, the morning watchkeepers are up from 0200-0800.  Watching today’s sunrise was a nice reward!

 

11 Mar 2020 - We use the Seafox system to investigate mine like contacts on the seabed.  Here we are recovering the Seafox remotely operated vehicle, by driving it into the net.

 

10 Mar 2020 - Today, we used our dummy mine to test the effectiveness of our sonar.  Once all checks were complete, we lifted the half tonne mine back out of the water and secured it on board.

 

9 Mar 2020 - Started the new week with a bit of buoy work - this is where we moor the ship to a buoy.  Big metal rings, slippery buoy, ship close in, and ropes under tension.  Seamanship at it’s best!

 

7 Mar 2020 - ‘How do you get all your food on board?’ I hear you ask...  Here’s how.

 

6 Mar 2020 - A little later than usual, but here are the ‘Sailors of the Month’ for February.  These two outstanding sailors have been instrumental to our success in the first few weeks of OST.

 

4 Mar 2020 - Apparently it’s World Maths Day.   Our navigating officer does lots of mental maths as he navigates in/out of harbour by taking bearings of charted objects.

 

2 Mar 2020 - ‘Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres’ are where we manoeuvre the ship in close company with another.  Here we are with HMS PENZANCE.  It takes good communication and coordination to get it right!

 

 

1 Mar 2020 - More prep for the week ahead.  Prior to getting underway we conduct a set of Standard Operator Checks (SOCs) to make sure all of our systems and equipment are functioning correctly.

 

HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 8)

 

12 Mar 2020 - HMS MIDDLETON and MCM2 are pleased to say they raised over £220 for RNRMC during their charity golf day.

 

5 Mar 2020 - Congratulations to Tom and Shawn from BAeS Maritime, the winners of the inaugural MCM2 Charity Golf event.  It was a very wet and windy afternoon raising money for RNRMC. Thanks to Simon Bodmin Cox [MCM2] for presenting the awards.

 

HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

1 Mar 2020 - Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus to all of our followers in Wales, and especially to those in Pembrokeshire.  We’re proud to be linked to such a fantastic part of our country and look forward to visiting again soon.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 4)

 

14 Mar 2020 - HMS SHOREHAM and HMS BLYTH recently visited Ra's Al Qulay'ah in Kuwait.  We were especially proud to welcome Maj Gen Khaled Abdullah, Commander Kuwaiti Naval Force, and the British Ambassador to Kuwiay Michael Davenport MBE on board.

 

 

14 Mar 2020 - HMS SHOREHAM and HMS BLYTH were privileged to visit Kuwait Naval Base in Ra's Al Qulay'ah, to conduct training with our friends from the Kuwait Naval Force.  A great opportunity to compare tactics with allies in the region.

 

UK in Kuwait

 

13 Mar 2020 - Mine hunters HMS SHOREHAM and HMS BLYTH visited Kuwait last week.  They were part of an international force to keep the region's sea lanes safe.  Michael Davenport visited the ship's at the Naval base and met representatives of the British and Kuwaiti navies.

 

Simon Cox (Cdr Second MCM Squadron)

 

10 Mar 2020 - As we approach VE Day 75 please help publicise these fantastic Royal Navy sailors from Crew 4 of the 2nd MCM Squadron and their planned 600 mile Western Front Way Challenge.  More to follow...

 


15 Mar 20 - Cancellation of Vernon Monument Unveiling Ceremony

 

 

Owing to the dramitically increasing risk to health from COVID-19, the Project's management has reluctantly decided to cancel the planned unveiling of the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument at Gunwharf Quays on 25 March and has released the following announcement.

 

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

This is a further announcement on behalf of the Project Vernon trustees and management team.

 

As the result of a meeting yesterday 14 March between David Sandiford (the Vernon Monument’s Project Manager) and Sean Sweeney MBE (Gunwharf Quays Centre Manager and a trustee of Project Vernon), it has been decided to cancel the unveiling ceremony for the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument planned for 25 March 2020.  It is fair to say that both VMP and GWQ went into the meeting with a broadly similar view, that the event has to be cancelled.

 

We know this will bring widespread disappointment but the alternative does not bear thinking about.  As you will be aware, the Coronavirus is spreading and we, like GWQ, are risk averse.  In short there is no point in risking the life of even one of our supporters or our management team or those in GWQ in the face of the undoubtedly increasing threat of COVID-19.

 

We have taken into account the fact that a high percentage of those invited to attend the ceremony fall into the definition of "Vulnerable" where the virus is concerned.  An email was sent yesterday to all trustees and members of the management team and, unsurprisingly, there was unanimous support for this action.

 

It is still intended to install the monument next week but leave it shrouded and, after some time for final work, to take the covers off.  The current plan is that the monument will be on show from next month in its designated site for all to see - virus permitting.  A further announcement will be made once this has been done.

 

It is intended to organise a "Dedication Ceremony" at some time in the future but until it is known what is likely to happen with the virus, the team can't even begin to guess when that will be.  It might even be next year.

 

So - let's get the monument in and let's get it on display but let's celebrate doing that together at a safer time in the future.

 

On behalf of

The Trustees and Management Committee

The Vernon Mine Warfare and Diving Monument"

 

Despite the destructive effect of Coronavirus on the unveiling ceremony, the good news is that the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument is now fully assembled and the green-black patination process has begun.  It is still on track to be installed at Gunwharf Quays later this month.

 

 

This photo shows CPO(D) Alex Newnes (Fleet Diving Squadron HQ), AB(D) Dan Mulholland (Fleet Diving Unit 2), LS(D) Adam Coates (Fleet Diving Squadron HQ), sculptor Mark Richards and MCDOA member Cat Ker (CSO to MCM2) during yesterday's visit to the Morris Singer Foundry at Lasham in Hampshire.

 

 

 

 


13 Mar 20 - Robot minehunter spotted in Portsmouth

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article reporting the appearance of the Thales autonomous boat 'Apollo' in Portsmouth harbour.

 

The article features former MCDO John Hunnibell who is quoted as saying:

 

"Thales Maritime Mine Countermeasures is the first of kind system of systems capable of detecting, classifying and disposing of mines and bombs at sea, without ever having a human operator anywhere within a naval minefield."

 


11 Mar 20 - Call-out for SDU1 in Cornwall

 

The Cornwall Live website contains this article reporting a call-out today for members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) to deal with a suspected unexploded device unearthed by workmen in Truro.  The item transpired to be a piece of scrap metal.

 

 


9 Mar 20 - Daily Telegraph obituary for Dr John Bevan

 

As on so many previous occasions, I am grateful to Capt Peter Hore RN for having this obituary for the late MCDOA associate member John Bevan published in today's Telegraph (see entry for 1 Feb 20).

 

 

Over the years, Peter has been extremely cooperative in writing tributes to members of our relatively small community for publication in the Daily Telegraph.  Other examples have included (in alphabetical order):

 

CPO(D) Stephen 'Darby' Allan

 

Cdr Philip Arthur Balink-White MBE RN

 

Lt Cdr John Bridge GC GM* RN

 

Lt Noel Cashford MBE RNVR

 

Lt Cdr Peter Cobby BEM RN

 

Lt Cdr Brian Dutton DSO QGM RN

 

Lt Cdr 'Uncle Bill' Filer GM MBE RN

 

Lt Cdr Ian Fraser VC DSC RD* RNR

 

Surgeon Vice Admiral Sir John 'Jab' Harrison

 

Val Hempleman

 

Ldg Sea Sydney Knowles BEM

 

Lt Cdr Bruce Mackay RN

 

Cdr Peter Messervy GM MBE RN

 

Capt Ian Powe RN

 

Surgeon Vice Admiral Sir John 'Doc' Rawlins KBE, FRCP, FRAeS

 

Lt Cdr 'Robbie' Robinson MBE RN

 

Lt Arthur 'Bubs' Russell MBE RNVR

 

Lt Cdr Dennis Selwood OBE RN

 

Lt Cdr Harry Wardle RN

 

Lt George Wookey MBE RN 

 

Lt Eric Worsley GM MBE RNVR

 


5 Mar 20 - HMS Grimsby finds 18 bombs and mines off Oslo

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting that HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 1), currently assigned to Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1), has located 15 British air-dropped mines, plus three British bombs, during a two-week operation in Oslofjord, Norway.  The inlet was heavily mined and bombers dumped their payloads into the fjord during the German occupation of Norway in the Second World War.

 

 

Above and below: HMS Grimsby with BNS Bellis

(RN website photos)

 

 

 

Above and below (left to right): HNLMS Willemstad, BNS Bellis, FGS Donau, HMS Grimsby

and HNoMS Otra rafted up together

(RN website photos)

 

 


4 Mar 20 - Vernon Monument casting update

 

 

This is the latest view of the casting and assembly of the MCDOA-sponsored Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument at the Morris Singer foundry at Lasham in Hampshire courtesy of sculptor Mark Richards FRSS.  It's looking more like the artist's impression of the finished article with each day. 

 

 

The latest Project Vernon newsletter is available here and an erratum & addendum has since been published here.

 


3 Mar 20 - Mine Warfare job offer in UAE

 

MCDOA member Charlie Wilson OBE has sent me this request:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

I have been contacted by a Maritime Tech company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  They are looking for an instructor for the UAE Navy who can teach MW, MCM, hands on equipment training, MINTACS and a “train the trainer” course.  Not something for me but I said I would ask around.  

 

Any thoughts on who might be interested or which network to use?

 

Yours aye,

 

Charlie"

 

If interested, contact me via my Webmaster email address and I will put you in touch with Charlie.

 


2 Mar 20 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

Martyn Holloway and your humble Webmaster (Rob Hoole), members of the MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio, had the privilege of hosting civil engineering diving officer Lt Cdr Paulstephen Chierico USN today for a beer and a bite in the Royal Oak at Langstone.

 

 

We then took Paulstephen to the Historical Diving Society's museum at Stokes Bay where former WO(D) John Dadd BEM showed him around the exhibits in his inimitable story-telling fashion.  The museum doesn't open to the public for the summer season until next month so many thanks to John for making it available especially for us.  Paulstephen lives in Maryland and is visiting the UK as a delegate at the Underwater Defence and Security conference starting tomorrow at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is terribly tragic that the museum's founder and prime mover, MCDOA associate member Dr John Bevan, was taken so early (see entry for 21 Feb 20) when he had so much more to give.

 


1 Mar 20 - Vernon Monument casting update

 

 

Don't get a crick in your neck but this is the latest photo, released last week, of the casting and assembly of the MCDOA-sponsored Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument at the Morris Singer foundry at Lasham in Hampshire (see entry for 18 Feb 20).  The fellow in the background is Simon Plail who is responsible for assembling the elements so you can't see the join.  The finished product will have a green-black patina.

 

 

Coronavirus permitting, the one-and-a-quarter life-size bronze sculpture will be unveiled and dedicated at a ceremony in Gunwharf Quays, the site previously occupied by HMS Vernon, on Wednesday 25 March.  As announced here and elsewhere, the deadline for applications to attend the ceremony and reception in the reserved area expired on 31 December but events can still be witnessed from the public area.

 

Our various contributions to date have paid for the statue but we need to keep the pennies rolling in to cover the unveiling ceremony, maintenance, insurance, lighting, signage and clever facilities to tell the full story of what it represents (we even have Portsmouth University on the case).  Make a direct donation here or purchase merchandise via the Project's online shop.  Another good way to donate is to buy PV tickets for the Portsmouth Lottery for as little as £1 per week.  The Project receives at least half the income:

 


29 Feb 20 - Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.

 

Royal Navy

 

28 Feb 2020 -  Four ships and more than 200 sailors led Britain’s involvement in an international test of sea power in the Middle East, joining French and US naval forces who accepted the invite from the Omanis for the annual workout – Khunjar Hadd, ‘Sharp Dagger’.

 

 

Royal Navy Sport

 

21 Feb 2020 - Great to see HMS Cattistock and HMS Chiddingfold conducting a multi-activity week consisting of climbing & mountain biking.  These AT & Challenging Activity multi-activity weeks are designed to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of service personnel.

 

 

(Screen captures from video)

 

 

HMS BLYTH (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

25 Feb 2020 - Crew 2 arrives in theatre with a BANG for our Kipion deployment!  We’ve been proving our capability and readiness by exercising our force protection teams

 

 

HMS BROCKLESBY (MCM2 Crew 5)

 

27 Feb 2020 - After a challenging but rewarding exercise, superbly run by the Royal Navy of Oman, HMS Brocklesby and HMS Ledbury have some well-earned rest in Muscat and a chance to see more of this magnificent country.

 

 

HMS CATTISTOCK (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

27 Feb 2020 - Happy Birthday to our CO today.  And thank you to the chefs for this golf-related cake!  Good morning for the squadron bish to come onboard

 

 

HMS CHIDDINGFOLD (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

21 Feb 2020 - Cruising into the weekend like... 

 

 

HMS HURWORTH (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

29 Feb 2020 - Saturday morning = Table Top Tactics.  Talking through next week’s planned exercises takes time, but is always worth the effort to give the team the best chance of success!

 

 

28 Feb 2020 - Here’s a quick video from our visit to Belfast.

 

Armed Forces in Northern Ireland

 

28 Feb 2020 - They brought the sun with them but depart on a wet and miserable day.  We bid a fond farewell to HMS Hurworth who returns to Faslane to complete her training, after a successful visit to Belfast.  Link to meet the Captain and see the ship:

 

www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1537777756391439.

 

28 Feb 2020 - Last night we hosted a reception for 25 VIPs.  Guests enjoyed a ship's tour which offered an insight into the role and capability of our ship.

 

Chris Hagan

 

26 Feb 2020 - New arrival in Belfast this morning, a Royal Navy mine hunter.

 

HMS Hurworth entering Belfast

 

26 Feb 2020 - Yesterday, we conducted a man overboard exercise near this famous rock.  Did you know? - Ailsa Craig was formed from the plug of an extinct - Granite from the island was quarried to make curling stones.

 

26 Feb 2020 - Happy Pancake Day / Shrove Tuesday from all of us in Hurworth!  Hope it’s been a flippin good one.

 

20 Feb 2020 - Our force protection teams are conducting training in how to search for and detain an intruder in the ship.  Textbook stuff this.

 

19 Feb 2020 - Every day’s a school day in the RN!  After our early morning (0500!) fire exercise, we were back at sea this afternoon to do some basic sea safety drills, all under the eyes of the FOST experts.

 

HMS SHOREHAM (MCM1 Crew 4)

 

17 Feb 2020 - HMS Shoreham were narrowly defeated this week by HMS Brocklesby in the first football match of their 7-month deployment.  Bring on the re-match!

 

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

28 Feb 2020 - 18 months of planning and action comes to an end.  MASTT make the final checks to ensure the safe and secure return of the RN Sweep equipment to the UK.  The coordination and activities to ensure the success of the Cold Wx Trials has been nothing short of epic!

 

28 Feb 2020 - Video only.

 

20 Feb 2020 - The Team.  The sum of its parts, without it, we achieve nothing.  MASTT have worked hard over the last 4 wks, in some extreme weather conditions (-22C), with plenty of banter and always with a smile.  It has been frustrating at times, but we are proud of what MASTT have achieved!

 

 

Simon Cox (Cdr 2nd MCM Sqn)

 

25 Feb 2020 - HMS Cattistock and HMS Puncher share a ‘suck of gas’ this morning. The team works.

 

 

Navy Lookout

 

27 Feb 2020 - More seriously… The RN's Minehunters are due to leave service in the early 2030s.  Although the Navy believed that this capability needed to be addressed in the 2019–2029 Plan, it has no funds to extend or replace this equipment.

 

21 Feb 2020 - HMS Chiddingfold in Number 11 Dry dock in Portsmouth - being readied to return to the Gulf.

 

16 Feb 2020 - Drifting sea mines reported in coastal waters of the Red Sea between Midi, Yemen and Jizan, Saudi Arabia. Probably laid by Houthi rebels.

 

16 Feb 2020 - HMS Grimsby [MCM1 Crew 1] in the Kiel Canal heading onto the Baltic from Kiel, Germany yesterday (Currently serving with NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1).

 

 


28 Feb 20 - Minewarfare forces sharpen skills in Omani exercise

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting the participation of Royal Navy, French and US naval forces in the Omani Exercise KHUNJAR HADD (Arabic for ‘Sharp Dagger’).  RN forces include HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 5), HMS Ledbury (2/7) and HMS Shoreham (1/4) supported by RFA Cardigan Bay.  All RN website photos by LPhot Rory Arnold.

 

 

 

 

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the annual exercise which this year focused on the ability of the four nations to keep sea lanes open with the added spice of some board and search training.

 

Postscript: The Portsmouth News published this article, reporting the same story, on 2 March 2020.

 


27 Feb 20 - MWA Southern Area Dit Session

 

A hugely enjoyable Mine Warfare Association (MWA) southern area monthly 'Dit Session' was held at the Red Lion Hotel in Cosham this evening.  Attendees included MCDOA/MWA joint-members Rob Hoole, Bill Kerr, David Sandiford and George Turnbull plus Kevin Aston, Gordon Neil, Peter 'Taff' Reader, Sean Slee and Peter Whitehead,

 

 

We even managed a short live video stream to the Association's FB page but the best bit was putting John 'George' Turnbull, who played the Archangel Gabriel in HMS VERNON's 1980s production of 'Follow That Star', in touch with New Zealand resident Malcolm Fewtrell (currently visiting the UK) who played Herod in the same play. They exchanged a few pleasantries online via FB Messenger.

 


25 Feb 20 - France honours 102 year-old minesweeper veteran

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting that 102 year-old Dennis Roy Cooper, who was engaged in minesweeping operations between Sword Beach and the Cotentin Peninsula during the Normandy landings, has been presented with the French Legion d'Honneur in an official ceremony at Blandford Camp, near his home in Marnhull, Dorset.

 

Dennis Roy Cooper

(RN website photo)

 


23 Feb 20 - NDG deals with pyro at Gourock

 

The Inverclyde Now website contains this article reporting the disposal by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) of a submarine flare found on the beach at Gourock in the Firth of Clyde on 19 February.

 


22 Feb 20 - Technological leap for Australian MCM

 

The Royal Australian Navy's website contains this article describing the introduction of a deployable Mine Counter-Measures (MCM) capability under Project SEA 1778.

 

Deployment of RAN Bluefin 9 AUV from MCMSB

(RAN website photo)

 


21 Feb 20 - Funeral of Dr John Bevan

 

It was standing room only in Holy Trinity Church in Gosport today for the colourful funeral of John Bevan (see entry for 8 Feb 20).  MCDOA members present included Gavin Anthony, Paul Guiver, Rob Hoole, Julian Malec, Ralph Mavin and David Sandiford.  There was only a mild religious flavour to the Welsh-orientated service and Ann Bevan's witty eulogy was particularly poignant, being simultaneously dignified, infomative, humorous and entertaining.  We extend our deep condolences to Ann and her immediate family at this difficult time.

 

Click on the image below for the full Order of Service.  Note especially the significance of Holy Trinity Church as that used by John Deane, the inventor of the first practical diving helmet about whom John wrote his seminal work, The Infernal Diver.

 

Order of Service for the funeral of Dr John Bevan

(Click to download in PDF format)

 

In line with John's last wishes, the MCDOA is making a donation to his brainchild, the Historical Diving Society's museum in Stokes Bay, in lieu of a floral tribute.  One of John's final triumphs (with a little help from his friends) was the acquisition of the Deane helmet as the museum's crowning glory (see second entry for 7 Apr 17 in News Archive 58).

 

Postscript: John Bevan was featured in BBC Radio 4's obituary programme 'Last Word' on 28 February.  Listen from minute 22:12:

 

www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000fq4p

 


20 Feb 20 - Invitations for Vernon Monument unveiling ceremony on their way

 

 

As announced on this website, the Project Vernon website and Facebook group, and on various association websites and Facebook groups, the deadline for applications to attend the the official unveiling and dedication of the MCDOA-sponsored Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument at Gunwharf Quays on Wednesday 25 March expired on 31 December 2019.  Today, a team of Project Vernon volunteers comprising MCDOA members Geoff Goodwin, Martyn Holloway and his wife Ann, Rob Hoole, Grenville Johnson, PV Project Manager David Sandiford and his wife Pauline, John 'George' Turnbull and Colin Welborn plus Colin 'Scouse' Kidman QGM and John Ling, has been busy in Southsea today stuffing and addressing circa 800 envelopes containing invitations, leaflets and guidance notes.  A glossy souvenir brochure will be issued on the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The invitations are now winging their way to successful applicants with those for addressees in the Portsmouth area already delivered by hand, thus saving the Project the cost of postage.  The other invitations are being sent to a courier service for onward despatch.  Although invitation holders will be entitled to watch proceedings from the covered reserved area and attend the ensuing reception, those without invitations will still be able to enjoy the ceremony from the public viewing area.

 

A huge thank you to Dixie Dean MBE for his initial work in gathering names and compiling the invitation list.  Thanks also to MCDOA member Phil Ireland DSC of Serco for having the invitations and brochures printed and to Mike Coulter of Gunwharf Quays for having the leaflets printed, all at no cost to the Project.  

 


19 Feb 20

 

Latest LS&GC awards

 

 

Congratulations to LS(MW) L. Roberts on being gazetted for the award of the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

 


SDU1 called out to suspected ordnance unearthed in Plymouth

 

The Plymouth Herald website contains this article reporting that members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) dealt with an item of suspected ordance dug up in a garden in Plymouth yesterday.  The item transpired to be the end cap of a piece of household piping.

 


18 Feb 20 - Vernon Monument casting update

 

 

A small team of volunteers from the MCDOA-sponsored Project Vernon, comprising Project Manager David Sandiford, Graham Wheatley and Yours Truly (general dogsbody Rob Hoole), visited the Morris Singer foundry at Lasham in Hampshire today to check out the latest progress on the casting of the one-and-a-quarter life-size bronze Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument due to be unveiled at Gunwharf Quays, the former site of HMS VERNON, on 25 March.  The finished product will have a green-black patina applied.

 

 

 

 

This is Simon Plail, responsible for assembling the elements so you can't see the join.  As he is demonstrating, the finished product is pretty robust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The half life-size 'marked up' reference model.  The finished article will be one-and-a-quarter

life-size, i.e. almost twice the volume of the real thing

 

Heare are sculptor Mark Richards FRSS and Morris Singer Director John Berelowitz flanking PV Project Manager David Sandiford who is holding a prototype of the bronze statuette available to order via the Vernon Monument website's online shop.  Regrettably, supply of the approved version has been delayed by the outbreak of Coronavirus in China.

 

PV Project Manager David Sandiford flanked by sculptor Mark Richards FRSS

and Morris Singer Foundry Director John Berelowitz

 

 

We left feeling mightily impressed.  Although we have paid for the statue, funds are still required to cover the cost of the unveiling ceremony, maintenance, insurance, underwater lighting, signage and a clever facility to educate the public about what the monument represents including a brand new website (even Portsmouth University is involved in this).  Donate direct via www.vernon-monument.org.uk/donate or purchase merchandise via www.vernon-monument.org.uk/shop.  Keep those pennies rolling in.  

 


16 Feb 20 - Increased mine threat in Red Sea

 

The Maritime Executive website contains this article reporting the existence of floating mines in coastal waters of the Red Sea between Midi, Yemen and Jizan, Saudi Arabia.  Houthi rebel forces are known to use naval mines to target Saudi-allied vessels off the southern coast of Yemen; without commenting on the origin of the devices.  The US Maritime Administration (MARAD) has reported that the mines may have drifted north following a seasonal change in the direction of currents. 

 

Houthi floating sea mine previously deployed off Yemen

 


15 Feb 20 - Latest tweets

 

Click on the linked dates to see all associated photos and videos.  

 

COMUKMCMFOR (Commander UK MCM Force in the Gulf)

 

15 Feb 2020 - The US Mine Hunting Unit is at the forefront of its field and by sharing her expertise with our MCMVs we drive each other on to bigger and better things.

 

14 Feb 2020 - We are more than the sum of our parts.  Our Australian Navy Executive Officer took charge of this morning’s scenario involving HMS Ledbury, RFA Cardigan Bay and UKMCMFOR.

 

14 Feb 2020 - Re-supplied and ready to go, our MCMVs may be small but they pack a punch!  The ability for our units to share supplies, personnel and knowledge is key to the EX KH 25 task group’s success.

 

13 Feb 2020 - Asset interoperability is key to our success as a team here.  Here RFA Headquarters are ready to re-supply HMS Ledbury for her next phase of EX Khunjar Hadd.

 

12 Feb 2020 - Our multinational convoy holding station ready for another iteration of the regular EX Khunjar Hadd with the Royal Navy of Oman.

 

 

HMS BROCKLESBY (MCM2 Crew 5)

 

14 Feb 2020 - Though Royal Navy warships are filled with cutting edge technology some of the oldest equipment onboard is still used on a daily basis for safety and navigation.

 

13 Feb 2020 - RN personnel will work around the clock to ensure that our equipment is ready for use.  HMS Brocklesby’s role in this exercise is to neutralise dummy mines to ensure sea lines of communication remain clear.

 

12 Feb 2020 - HMS Brocklesby is participating in the Joint Exercise Khunjar Hadd.  This is an excellent opportunity for us to work together in support of Maritime security.

 

5 Feb 2020 - HMS BROCKLESBY'S Leading Chef prepares a meal for 46, hundreds of miles from land in a kitchen that moves with the waves.

 

 

HMS HURWORTH (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

12 Feb 2020 - Our ‘Batman’ doesn’t wear a cape!  By using these bats he guides the dive boat into the correct position for diving.

 

12 Feb 2020 - Anchor lost and found.  Today we had the privilege of helping our Dutch colleagues by locating and marking HNLMS Rotterdam’s anchor and cable that was lost overboard.  Their professionalism ensured no injuries.

 

11 Feb 2020 - Safely departed from Portsmouth this morning.  The ship is secured and ready for sea state 7.

 

 

6 Feb 2020 - Food is so important for morale. Our chefs are experts at providing an excellent service.  Today we had roast baps for lunch.  Top nosh!

 

5 Feb 2020 - These three individuals have made an outstanding contribution to the success of the crew throughout the last 6 months.  Today they received the RNRMC Herbert Lott Efficiency Award in recognition of their efforts.  Well done chaps!

 

HMS MIDDLETON (MCM2 Crew 8)

 

10 Feb 2020 - Members of Crew 8 had a fantastic week of skiing and adventurous training last week at Navy Outdoor Centre Germany, alongside members of MCM1 Crew 7 from HMS Bangor.  From never putting on skis to confidently skiing red runs in 4 days.

 

 

HMS RAMSEY (MCM1 Crew 2)

 

17 Feb 2020 - HMS RAMSEY was able to host a families day - a special day of memories for Crew and families recently separated by deployment.  The children enjoyed the medals recognising how well they dealt with separation supplied by the RNRMC.

 

 

HMS MONTROSE

 

11 Feb 2020 - HMS Montrose on routine operations in the Gulf with Royal Navy mine countermeasures vessels HMS BLYTH, HMS BROCKLESBY, HMS LEDBURY and HMS SHOREHAM.

 

 

RFA CARDIGAN BAY

 

10 Feb 2020 - RFA Cardigan Bay recently conducted Officer of the Watch manoeuvres with US 5th Fleet MCMVs USS Devastator and USS Dextrous just before sunset. The  weather and sea state were ideal.

 

6 Feb 2020 - RFA Cardigan Bay recently conducted Rafting Operations with US 5th Fleet MCMVs USS Devastator and USS Dextrous.  The weather and sea state were ideal for these evolutions – the first conducted between the coalition allies in over two years.

 

 

MASTT (Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team commanded by MCDOA member Dave Stanbury)

 

14 Feb 2020 - “Recover Sweep!”  At the end of each day of Trials, the team go through at least an hour to two hours of de-rigging (Configuration dependant).  All while the AEUK FSE and MASTT LET get to work on investigating a mechanical defect with the USV.

 

12 Feb 2020 - “Do you wanna build a snowman?”  When life gives you lemons, make a snowman, for morale!  With potatoes and carrot supplied by the Cdr of the CCG Vessel, Cape Roger (along with music), the team took no time at all, to produce the masterpiece.

 

 

11 Feb 2020 - Out with the old and in with the new.  MASTT's loan LET(ME), from MSU, is on the case of a burnt out windscreen wiper motor in our loaned Combat Support Boat.  Luckily a local ship’s chandlers had the exact motor, even in Canada.

 

8 Feb 2020 - Different examples of the yo-yo weather that MASTT are experiencing in Halifax. Despite the changes in air temperatures the sea temperature remains constant and we can make an assessment of the suitability of the equipment in cold weather.

 

7 Feb 2020 - MASTT say farewell to our Ex-CBM, who leaves the team to return to sea.  Fair winds and following seas LS(MW), (Centre of the photo).  MASTT will remain in Halifax NS, to continue with RN Sweep Cold Weather Trials.

 

7 Feb 2020 - Deploying the Magnetic Electrode Cables for today’s configuration on the final day of Set to Work.  It’s a full team effort to deploy the equipment, for the 14 personnel on the ground and at sea in the USV and CSB.  The Team stand down and rotate personnel when running missions.

 

 

7 Feb 2020 - Freezing Rain is a new phenomena for the MAST Team, but common for Halifax NS.  Between 1-2 inches of freezing rain fell overnight, turning the BIO Jetty into an ice rink, delaying the final day of Set to Work for MASTT and AEUK.

 

6 Feb 2020 - MASTT were grateful for the opportunity to host Cdre R.A. Feltham RCN, Cdr Canadian Fleet Atlantic, Captain M. Tennant RCN, Capt CFMWC Stadacona, Captain Cyr CCG Atlantic Region and Cdr N. Marriott RN, UK Embassy Ottawa Naval and Air Advisor, today.

 

Simon Cox (Cdr 2nd MCM Squadron)

 

14 Feb 2020 - Valentine's Day with friends on HMS Cattistock . BZ to Crew 6 for their strong performance today, LET(ME) Hall for his exceptional engineering can-do and to ET(ME) Jackson for gaining his 1’s.

 

 

5 Feb 2020 - We work hard and play hard in the Royal Navy.  MCM2 Squadron running out winners in the Commodore’s Cup Volleyball today.

 

Maryla Ingham (Cdr 1st Patrol Boat Squadron)

 

4 Feb 2020 - After HMS Puncher snagged some free floating line in the Channel yesterday she was able to call upon Royal Navy divers to cut it away and conduct an underwater survey.  Thank you Southern Diving Unit 1 for your speedy response to get the Ship back on task!

 

 


14 Feb 20 - News from Oman

 

I am grateful to former WO(D) Pete Younger (now a Lt in the Royal Navy of Oman) for this update:

 

"Rob,

 

As you are probably aware, I took over from Tim Sizer and have been training the RNO (Royal Navy of Oman) diving team for the last four years. 

 

Joe Price, his predecessor Edward Black [both MCDOA members] and I have significantly mentored, and in my case taught, to advance the capability of the team from basic air to the CRABE semi-closed rebreather reference diving.  Joe’s role as OIC is to continue with this progress and I must say he’s doing an amazing job.  He’s pushed hard with regards to EOD and exercises are evolving significantly with the introduction of new equipments.

 

These pictures were taken during courses run by me mostly but give an insight to the great job that the RN are doing in helping/assisting the RNO.  They now have a capability to dive to 60m as a result.  (BZ to Joe for sure but don’t tell him, ha ha.)

 

Joe Price and Pete Younger

 

 

 

 

 

MCDOA member Sam Jane (right) and an Omani preparing to dive to 60 metres.

 

MCDOA member Sam Jane (right) is SofD for the RNO

 

 

 

 

 

 

RNO Haux RCC

 

The first course

 

Joe Price and Pete Younger presenting course certificates

 

 

Yours aye,

 

Pete"

 


12 Feb 20 - HMS Chiddingold prepares to deploy to the Gulf

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting that HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 1) has entered dry dock in Portsmouth Naval Base to undergo maintenance in preparation for a three-year deployment on Operation KIPION MCM in the Gulf.

 

(RN website photo)

 


11 Feb 20 - HMS Middleton emerges from refit

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article announcing the emergence of HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 8) from an extensive £7.5 million refit at Portsmouth.

 

The Royal Navy website published this article on 7 February announcing the same event which occurred on 27 January.

 

(RN website photo)

 


10 Feb 20 - New Coastal Forces museum to open

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing that a £900,000 museum celebrating the Royal Navy’s ‘Spitfires of the Sea’ will open next year on the former site of RNAD (Royal Naval Armament Depot) Priddy's Hard in Gosport.  It will be located in a disused mine store and form the centrepiece of a £30m redevelopment.

(RN website photo)

 

Coastal Forces MLs (Motor Launches) were heavily involved in minelaying and inshore minesweeping during the Second World War as this image of two Fairmile 'A' MLs, laden with moored and ground mines respectively, shows.  The original photo was probably taken at Dover.  Also see entry for 19 Mar 07 in News Archive 17 for an eye-witness description of minelaying by Coastal Forces MLs (Motor Launches) during the Second World War.

 

 

 


9 Feb 20 - Portsmouth News obituary for Dr John Bevan

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this obituary for the late MCDOA member John Bevan.

 

 


8 Feb 20

 

Funeral notice for John Bevan BSc MSc PhD FSUT FAE

 

Herewith the funeral notice for MCDOA member Dr John Bevan (see entry for 3 Feb 20).  Please note the request to RSVP if you wish to attend.

 

 

 


NDG deals with ordnance in Inverness

 

The Aberdeen Press & Journal website contains this article and the Inverness Courier this article reporting that members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) carried out a controlled explosion on a marine pyrotechnic found on the shore of the Moray Firth near the Caledonian Thistle football ground.

 

 


7 Feb 20

 

Funeral of Lt Cdr David John Baden Forsey MBE RN

 

The small church of St Michael and All Angels in the village of Enborne near Newbury was packed to the rafters today for the funeral of MCDOA member Dave Forsey (see entry for 10 Jan 20 in News Archive 69).  As we drove up, I felt a sense of deja vu because I had attended the funeral of Dave's lovely wife Kathy in the same building seven years ago (see second entry for 20 Apr 13 in News Archive 42).

 

Attendees included many of Dave's friends plus his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  MCDOA members present included David Bartlett MBE, Mick Beale, Mike Critchley, Mike Emary, Martyn Holloway, Rob Hoole, Dougie MacDonald, Ralph Mavin, Chris Meatyard, Alan Padwick OBE and his wife Sarah, Tim Paul MBE, Jon Riches and his wife Ann, David Sandiford, Peter Waddington and Bob White MBE. 

 

Other members of our cloth included Mo Crang, John Dadd BEM, Mick Fellows MBE DSC BEM, Colin 'Scouse' Kidman QGM, Anthony 'Lawry' Lawrence MBE, Paul 'Dhobey' Lines, Chris Page, Ray Ramsay, Terry Settle MBE QGM BEM (who rang 'Five Bells' during the service and piped the 'Still' and 'Carry On' at the graveside) and Dudley 'Wooly' Woolnough.  It was also good to see Jill Hildesley (widow of the late MCDOA member Tim Hidesley MBE), Anthony Bodrett with his wife June (representing the Ton Class Association) and Dave Glover (representing the Royal British Legion).

 

Click on this image to download the full Order of Service:

 

 

Following the service of thanksgiving, Dave's wicker casket was interred near that of his wife Kathy in the natural hillside setting of Acorn Ridge within sight of Beacon Hill and Watership Down.

 

 

 

 

Most of the mourners then repaired to the cosy Craven Arms in the village of Enborne for a reception that included a welcome tot of rum as well as a free bar and buffet.

 

Yours Truly (Rob Hoole) flanked by Dave's daughter Cathy and son Paul

 

Dave's son Paul saying thank you and proposing a toast

 

Dave Bartlett, David Sandiford, Bob White, Martyn Holloway and Lawry Lawrence

listening to Paul's speech

 

Lawry Lawrence and Mo Crang

 

Jon and Ann Riches

 

Colin Kidman

 

Dave's daughter Cathy with Jill Hildesley

 

Chris Page and Dhobey Lines who travelled from Spain for the occasion

 

Ray Ramsay, Colin Kidman, Mick Beale, Mo Crang, Rob Hoole, Lawry Lawrence,

John Dadd and Bob White

 

Such occasions as this are intrinsically sad but they do provide opportunities for old friends to meet, swap stories and remember those passed.  I think Dave's family enjoyed the support of our company and I know Dave would have approved of us lightening the atmosphere.

 

Thank you, Paul and Catherine, for allowing us to share your day.  We are here if and when you need us.  It's what Dave would have wanted.

 


From David's daughter Catherine:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

I have attached the tributes and welcome that were read out during the service for dad.  I wasn’t sure whether you would like to post them for people who could not attend.  Also, maybe for those who were at the back and may not have heard all of them:

 

Eulogy and tribute to Dave Forsey MBE by Catherine Chinery

 

Patrick & Jamie's tribute to their granddad

 

Essex Forsey Tribute

 

The other poems were printed inside the Order of Service which you have already posted.  Many thanks, Rob, for that and the lovely write-up you produced of dad’s day.

 

I would also like to express our thanks and gratitude for all who came to dad’s send off.  I hope we did him proud.  It was such an honour to meet so many of dad’s friends and fellow divers.  I know it really made a very difficult and sad day a little easier knowing we were surrounded by so many that loved dad. 

 

Terry’s reading of the Diver’s Eulogy and the ringing of the 5 Bells during the service was so beautiful and his piping The Still and Carry On with my niece at mum’s and dad’s graveside was breath-taking and so fitting.    

 

I have been told that many of you shared in the rum aroma as I poured the tot, well hip flask, in with dad.  The round of applause was totally unexpected and made it seem even more fitting.  Dad has taken a tot up to mum on her birthday and Christmas Day ever since she passed away and this tradition will be continued, rest assured.  

 

Sadly, I know, many people were unable to attend and our thoughts and thanks are with them also.  The amazing tributes and comments are greatly appreciated and I hope to print them out.  

 

There was a Condolence Book at the Wake, which I forgot to mention.  Some people found it and have written some beautiful thoughts.  I was just wondering, Rob, if anyone else would like to send me anything they would like put in the book?  I am happy for them to email me directly and I can print it out and insert it in to the book.  

 

Bruce and I are so very much looking to March and the unveiling of the Vernon Monument.  I know dad was looking forward to us bringing him to see it come to fruition.  I will certainly raise a tot in his memory.  

 

Also, we are all so proud that there will be such a prestigious award in dad’s name and look forward to presenting our Siebe Gorman Admiralty Pattern 6-bolt diving helmet.

 

If anyone would like to look online at dad’s cake website there are some interesting cakes and, of course, a Siebe Gorman Helmet.  The address is www.grandads-cakes.org.

 

I look forward to meeting you again in March, Rob, and thank you again for all your help and support.  

 

Kindest regards,

 

Catherine Chinery" 

 


HMS Cattistock's divers

 

The medium.com website contains this article describing the role of the diving element of HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 6).  It features PO(D) James Shell, LS(D) Ashley Lishman and AB(D) Sam Alexander.

 

 


4 Feb 20 - Ex-service divers participating in transatlantic rowing event

 

I am grateful to MCDOA member Nick Gwatkin for this notification:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Ahoy from the NHS!! 

 

I found this and thought it maybe worth a promote on the MCDOA website.  Andy Taw was a CD in FDU3 when I was the Boss and also FDU2 amongst other units.

 

 https://thebubbleheads.co.uk

 

AN EPIC 3000 MILE ROWING RACE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC

 

 

In December 2020, four deep sea divers will board an ocean rowing boat and attempt to race unaided across the Atlantic Ocean, for the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.  Claimed to be ‘The World’s Toughest Row’, the race will challenge and push every element of the mind, body and soul.  With the finishing line 3000 miles away, it is the ultimate test.

 

We are taking on this challenge to raise vital funds for Wessex Cancer Trust, a local Hampshire charity which helps and supports anyone affected by cancer regardless of age, gender or type.  It is also a charity our crew have a very personal connection with...

 

https://thebubbleheads.co.uk/the-bubbleheads-prepare-for-the-twac-2020-24-hour-row-in-henley

 

TOGETHER WITH HENLEY RIVER AND ROWING MUSEUM, THE BUBBLEHEADS HAVE INVITED TEAMS ENTERED INTO THE TALISKER WHISKY ATLANTIC CHALLENGE 2020 TO JOIN THEM FOR A CHARITY 24 HOUR ROW.     

 

Whilst in 12 months time we will be competing against them, at 10 am on 25 January 2020 for 24 hours, we will be rowing alongside and supporting 14 other teams entered into this years’ Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2020, for a 24 Hour Charity Row at Henley River and Rowing Museum.  Having heard 24-hour rows were a popular fundraising event for teams who competed in previous Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenges, we were keen to take it to the next step.  We wanted to bring teams together in the lead up to the main event in December and through working together, encourage each other through the challenge and utilise everyone’s efforts to boosting fundraising for each team’s chosen charity.  A coincidental meeting in the cafe at the Henley River and Rowing Museum led us to find the perfect venue for the event… a location steeped in history and home to UK rowing with the facilities to host large numbers...

 

Nick"

 

The 'Bubbleheads' team (full CVs here) comprises ex-RN CDs Andy Taw and James Piper (brother of MCDOA member Ben / son of ex-RN CD Eric), ex-Royal Engineers diver Lewis Locke and North Sea saturation diver Chris Ayres.  Please give them your support by donating here: 

 

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thebubbleheads2020

 

Don't forget the Gift Aid which adds 25% to your contribution.

 


3 Feb 2020 - Death of John Bevan BSc MSc PhD FSUT FAE

 

Your humble webmaster having an 'editorial meeting' with John Bevan in Sep 2017

 

It saddens me to have to announce that MCDOA Honorary member and Project Vernon trustee Dr John Bevan succumbed to his horrible illness of myeloma at 1345 this afternoon.  He was 72.  His wife Ann was holding his hand and two nurses from the Rowan's hospice tried to make his final moments as comfortable as possible.  He is free from pain at last.

 

John's achievements reach far beyond his active support of the Vernon Mine Warfare & Diving Monument.  In 1970, he and fellow Royal Naval Scientific Service diver Peter Sharphouse set a new world record when they dived to a simulated depth of 1,500 ft at the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory's Deep Trials Unit at Alverstoke, described by American colleagues at the time as the hyperbaric equivalent of a moon landing.  John went on to be a celebrated consultant, author of diving publications, Chairman & Managing Director of SUBMEX Ltd, Editor of Underwater Contractor International magazine, founder of the Historical Diving Society before its worldwide proliferation and the prime mover of the Society's museum at Stokes Bay and its associated library in Gosport.  You only have to type "Bevan" into the search box on the 'Home' page of this website to see what a profound effect he has had on our community.

 

John Bevan with the newly acquired Deane helmet at the HDS Museum in Apr 2017

 

Above all, John was a kindly, fun fellow to be around and he made other people feel good.  So many around the world will miss him greatly.

 

Our thoughts are with John's wife Ann and their family.  Watch this space for further developments.

 


1 Feb 20 - RFA Cardigan Bay continuing to support MCMVs in the Gulf

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting how RFA Cardigan Bay is continuing to support HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 8), HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 4), HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 7) and HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 5) in the Gulf.  RFA Cardigan Bay also provides a Command & Control platform for the Commander UK MCM Force (COMUKMCMFOR) based in Bahrain.

 

HMS Blyth alongside RFA Cardigan Bay

(RN photo)

 


 

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