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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.


16 Oct 18 - Jerry Kyd confirmed as Guest of Honour at MCDOA Dinner

 

Capt Roger Readwin RN, our President, has confirmed that Rear Admiral Jeremy Kyd will be the Guest of Honour at the MCDOA's Annual Dinner at HMS Excellent on Friday 23 November (see entry for 20 Sep 18).  By that time, Jerry Kyd, will have relinquished Command of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, currently conducting F-35B trials off the USA's eastern seaboard, and be Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces (COMUKMARFOR).

 


15 Oct 18 - SDU2 destroys Mine Disposal Weapon

 

From HM Naval Base Portsmouth's Facebook page:

 

Royal Navy divers from Portsmouth based Southern Diving Unit 2 have destroyed a counter mine charge dredged up by a fishing vessel in the Solent. 

 

The bomb disposal experts were called out to the boat last Sunday after the item was dragged up in fishing nets. 

 

The counter mine charge was historically used by bomb disposal teams to counteract mines found in the water.

 

Containing just 95kg of explosives the charge was destroyed further out to sea but due to the low level of explosive it didn’t make a splash!  So no videos this time!

 

 

 


9 Oct 18 - Latest LS&GC awards

 

Congratulations to CPO(MW) Paul Lyons and PO(D) Alex Newnes on being gazetted for the award of the 1st Clasp to the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

 


6 Oct 18 - Recent tweets

 

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

 

Ministry of Defence

 

2 Oct 2018 - Exercise Saif Sareea 3 will build on the enduring and strong defence relationship that the UK has had with Oman for over 200 years.  Find out more here:  A visual guide to Exercise Saif Sareea logistics

 

26 Sep 2018 - Over 5,000 UK Armed Forces personnel will take part in Saif Sareea 3 next month, the largest military exercise in the region for 17 years.  Find out more here: A visual guide to Exercise Saif Sareea logistics

 

HMS Blyth

 

5 Oct 2018 - We'll be there!  Clearing the way for the others.

 

HMS Ledbury

 

5 Oct 2018 - We'll be there!  Clearing the way for the amphibious ships and Royal Marines to project their power ashore.

 

HMNB Portsmouth

 

2 Oct 2018 - Our Royal Navy bomb disposal experts of Southern Diving Unit 2 have been busy making the south east safe again!  Numerous small arms rounds and one 2-inch projectile found and destroyed. 

 

HMS Blyth

 

5 Oct 2018 - HMS Blyth delighted to host Minister for Armed Forces Mark Lancaster to meet the sailors as we prepare for maritime security operations in the Gulf and the forthcoming Saif Sareaa 3 exercise in Oman.

 

 

2 Oct 2018 - HMS Blyth giving British Bakeoff a run for their money by raising $500 for Macmillan Cancer alongside in Bahrain. Super-delicious cakes to ensure we are super-ready to fight cancer.

 

 

HMS Protector

 

4 Oct 2018 - Northern Diving Unit getting in the water for a training dive.  All part of the preparations for our season in the ice where they will play an important role in maintenance of safety.

 

 


5 Oct 18 - Arrangements for the funeral of Pat Harding

 

Cris Ballinger has informed me that the funeral of Pat Harding will take place at 1100 on Friday 19 October at the Church of King Charles the Martyr, Church Street TR11 3DX, adjacent to the Kings Head in the centre of Falmouth (see entry for 2 Oct 18).

 


2 Oct 18 - Death of Pat Harding

 

Former CPO(D) Cris Ballinger BEM sent me this sad news yesterday about one of our favourite landladies:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

With a tear in my eye, I have to inform you of the passing of Pat Harding of Rumours Wine Bar and the Grapes fame.  A real legend, and a friend to far too many former clearance divers to think that she didn’t have a special part of our hearts.  If, as we believe, we will have preferential treatment on the other side, then I’m sure no one will mind if we keep a corner just for her.  Falmouth will never seem the same again.  

 

I will pass on any other details as I get them.

 

Cris"

 

Pat was 84 and I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Jo, Sandy and the rest of the family.

 

 


1 Oct 18 - Promotions to CPO

 

Congratulations to James Bergh-Roose, Jay Buckley, 'Duds' Dudley, Andrew 'Ozzy' Osborne, David 'Muddy' Watters and P M Wilson on being listed on today's signal for promotion to CPO(MW) and to Daz Carvell, Scotty Eaton, J P Harvey, Mike Jacobs, John O'Brien and Carl Thomas on being listed for promotion to CPO(D).

 


28 Sep 18 - HDS Diving Museum: Appeal for volunteers

 

 

The award-winning Historical Diving Society's Museum in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay near Gosport requires volunteers:

 

Role of Volunteer

 

When you can, please:

  • Learn about the displays.

  • Can any of your skills help to maintain, conserve or repair any exhibits?     

  • Ensure that the exhibition area is tidy; the display cabinets are clean and lit and carry out  any maintenance checks.

  • Contribute to the security of the Museum.

  • Help with events, some of which may be in the evening or during the week.

  • Contribute ideas and expertise to the further development of the Museum.

  • Take part in Guides Meetings and the staff development programme.

  • Give occasional help with gardening, cleaning and decorating.

  • Be flexible in helping with any appropriate Museum task.

  • Record any defects in the defect register.

  • Suggest any improvements to our operation at any time.

 

 

 

What’s in it for you?

  • Becoming part of a friendly, dedicated and award-winning team.

  • Meeting people from all walks of life and making new friends.        

  • Improving your communication skills, museum skills and possibly more.

  • Enjoying new experiences and learning something new every day.

  • Knowing you have made a difference to someone’s day.

  • Knowing you have helped to inspire someone.

Thanks for volunteering!

 

If you are able to help or would like more information, email Kevin Casey, the Museum Officer.

 


27 Sep 18 - Recent tweets

 

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

 

Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force

 

18 Sep 2018 - "That’s a wrap!"  MCMEX 18-3 is over.  No rest for the Royal Navy.

 

17 Sep 2018 - As the sun sets in the Gulf, the Royal Navy's HMS Brocklesby deploys its REMUS Unmanned Underwater Vehicles during MCMEX 18-3.

 

16 Sep 2018 - Safe and sound!  HMS Brocklesby recovers a coalition survey sonar.

 

 

HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

27 Sep 2018 - HMS Blyth and Bahrain fire emergency services conducted a joint fire exercise today onboard our ship. Working together prepares both our teams if we ever have to do it for real.

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

27 Sep 2018 - Great to welcome friends from the Qatar Emiri Navy Force onboard to train together whilst visiting Doha.

 

24 Sep 2018 - Silently guiding Royal Navy clearance divers onto the target - the mighty HMS Brocklesby.

 

17 Sep 2018 - The best place to be if you find yourself in a minefield!  Follow me.

 

16 Sep 2018 - Manned and Unmanned Teaming - Sailors work with the best technology during MCMEX 18-3 to get the best results.

 

16 Sep 2018 - BROC ‘rafted’ with RFA Cardigan Bay while conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf.  Replenishment at sea keeps us on task for longer.

 

HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

20 Sep 2018 - Absolutely brilliant to host Alfie Boe and the BBC today on HMS Hurworth to demonstrate current minehunting capabilities whilst remembering the courage of those who served on minesweepers in the First and Second World Wars.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3)

 

26 Sep 2018 - TAKE AIM!  HMS Shoreham's sailors man the ship's 30mm cannon as part of a live firing exercise in the Gulf.

 

17 Sep 2018 - Sandown at sundown.  HMS Shoreham currently on MCMEX 18-3 out in the Gulf.  Thanks to HMS Brocklesby for the photo.

 

NATO Maritime Command

 

8 Sep 2018 - NATO Mine Countermeasures leadership exercise Dynamic Move ongoing in Italy last week and next.  Read more here.

 

Commander SNMCMG2

 

26 Sep 2018 - With exercise Olives Noires at its peak, we were busy with helo and rhib-operations to facilitate a VIP-DAY on board of FGS Rhein.  Another fine Navy Day!

 

11 Sep 2018 - A friendly meet & greet amongst sailors.  Thank you CO FGS Rhein for hosting this for ITS Virginio Fasan and TCG Erdemli.

 

11 Sep 2018 - A warm welcome to Turkish minehunter TCG Erdemli.  She joined SNMCMG2 in La Spezia.  

 


26 Sep 18 - Celebration of the life of former CPO(D) Frederick 'Tug' Wilson

 

I am grateful to former CPO(D) Dudley 'Wooly' Woolnough for this account of the event held yesterday at Chatham to celebrate Tug's life (see entry for 3 Sep 18):

 

"Dear Rob,

 

I thought I would update you on the memorial/remembrance service held for Tug Wilson yesterday in Chatham.  

 

You may remember Tug donated his body to "medical science" and he did not want a religious service.  John Brice & Roger Ide from the RNA organised our remembrance event in the Plough & Chequers pub in Chatham.   

 

There was a good turn out of approximately 80 RNA members, several family members and, from the branch, Cdr Tim Curd, WO1(D) Colin 'Scouse' Kidman QGM, WO1(D) Terry Settle MBE QGM BEM, CPO(D) Mike Handford and myself.  Scouse brought the travelling bell and Mike brought along a banner advertising the Vernon MInewarfare & Diving Monument.  It was Tug's wish that there be no flowers but donations would be appreciated to the Vernon Monument.  

 

John Brice (RNA) started with an introduction and mentioned Tug's involvement in the RNA.  He was Chairman of the Chatham area and, at one time, Chairman of the Kent area.  He was also one of the instigators of the RUM Club which used to meet in the King George V pub in Chatham. 

 

John Brice then introduced one of Tug's sisters who recalled a few family memories. 

 

Next up was Terry Settle who was a good friend of Tug and was at DEODS with him for several years.  Terry related many stories about various bomb jobs and other ditties.  Terry was followed by Tim Curd who had also been at DEODS with Tug and Terry again mentioned various stories, one of which involved a visit from SIB.  I followed Tim and read out a few of the postings that had been put on the various web sites in particular from Perry Mason and Steve Gobey.  The stories went down well with family and the RNA members with lots of laughs. 

 

After the nautical stories a few of the RNA members had a few things to say mainly about the Rum club and Rum rats which used to meet regularly.  

 

When all the speakers had finished I read the 5 Bells Eulogy and Scouse rang the bell.  Everybody stood for the dedication and bell ringing.  On completion of the 5 Bells, a tot was raised by everyone from a couple of bottles donated by Tug.

 

As mentioned previously, Tug had asked for donations to be made to the Vernon Monument fund.  I had been asked to take my Siebe Gorman helmet and we removed the faceplate and said any donations should be deposited in the helmet.  As everyone departed we lifted the helmet to count the money and an extremely generous £655 had been donated.  Terry Settle took charge and will take the money to Portsmouth to hand over on the 12 October when we attend the RNCDA dinner.   

 

The attached photo shows John Brice, Tug's sister Jean and the diving contingent with the helmet.

 

 

Regards,

 

Wooly

 

Dudley M. Woolnough

MIIRSM Tech. IOSH"

 


24 Sep 18 - USN and USAF test 2,000 lb mine at stand-off range

 

The US Navy website contains this article and the USNI website this article reporting the precision placement by B-52 bombers from altitude, at speed, of a 2,000-pound Quickstrike extended range mine, directed into position by a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kit.  The mine was laid in shallow water at the start of Exercise VALIANT SHIELD 2018 in the Northern Marianas region.

 

US Air Force airmen with the 96th Aircraft Maintenance Unit preparing a Quickstrike mine

 to be loaded onto a B-52 at Andersen Air Force Base on 16 Septembe

(US Air Force photo)

 


21 Sep 18 - HMS Hurworth hosts Alfie Boe

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting that West End star Alfie Boe has spent a day at sea on board HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1) for a Remembrance season documentary.

 

Alfie Boe being shown a Seafox mine disposal vehicle

(RN website photo)

 


20 Sep 18

 

MCDOA AGM, Operational Updates and Annual Dinner

Friday 23 November 2018

 

I am grateful to Rob Walker, our Honorary Secretary, for confirming that this year’s association dinner will be held in HMS Excellent’s Wardroom on Friday 23 November 2018.  The Guest of Honour will be Rear Admiral Jerry Kyd (Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces), the first Commanding Officer of our new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

 

Commodore Jerry Kyd

 

The evening will follow the traditional format commencing with pre-dinner drinks in the bar at 1900 followed by food, refreshments and a hearty sing song to the musical accompaniment of the HMS Nelson Volunteer Band before retiring to the bar.

 

The dinner is open to members of the association and their guests only.  If a non-member wishes to attend the dinner who is eligible to join the association (serving or retired), they will be asked to complete the membership process prior to being offered a place at the dinner.  WO1 (D/MW) are also welcome to attend as a guest of a member.  The cost of the dinner will be £45 for members and £50 for guests. This will include a four course meal, wine, and as usual the association will put a healthy kitty behind the bar.  JFD UK has again kindly offered to provide the port for the evening.  Owing to a tightening of the regulations within HMS Excellent, the Secretary is not able to pre-reserve accommodation this year.  Individuals should make their own arrangements by contacting Immi Dunning Tel 02392 547255 or via this email address.

 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of:

 

LMCDO '68: Course Officer: Peter Waddington. Students: Chris Beresford-Green, Jim Brown, Mike Emary, David Forsey MBE, Tim Hildesley OBE, John Rayner and Bob White MBE and the Nov '68 MW Conversion course: Course Officer: Charles 'Chuck' Maginley RCN. Students: Jim Cook, Paul Jonker SAN and Gerald 'Pincher' Martin.

 

 

It  also marks the 50th anniversary of the Feb '68 MW Conversion course: Course Officer: Charles 'Chuck' Maginley RCN. Students: Bill 'Chippy' Norton, Bill Thorniley MBE, Peter Waddington, Bob Wilson and John Wilson MBE.  Unfortunately, I do not possess a copy of the course photo. 

 

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of:

 

LMCDO 93A: Course Officer: Alan Trevarthen. Chief Instructor: CPO(D) Dave Morris. Students: David Hunkin, Kev Stockton and Gavin Sharp.  LMCDO 93A (MW module): Course Officer: Adrian Blakey. Chief Instructor: CPO(MW) Tony Mulrain. Students: Those above plus Russ Perry.  

 

LMCDO '93A

 

LMCDO 93A MW Module

 

LMCDO 93B:  Course Officer: Steve Wild, Chief Instructor: CPO(D) Graham 'Tiny' Petrie. Students: Alex Pym, Richard Burstow, Martin Mackey, John Craig and David Wright.  LMCDO 93B (MW module): Course Officer: Adrian Blakey. Chief Instructor: CPO(MW) Tony Mulrain. Students: Those above plus Adam Beadsmoore, Roderick Strathern, David Finlay (RCN) and Serge Vidalis (RCN).

 

LMCDO '93B

 

LMCDO '93B MW Module

 

Operational update briefs will be held at Bridge Building, Horsea Island, commencing at 0900.  Lunch will be provided in the Horsea Island Officers and Senior Rates Mess from 1200 with the AGM starting at 1315.  Members are encouraged to attend this important serial and make your voices heard by the committee.

 

Payment for the dinner can be made by cash, cheque or online bank transfer (preferable).  Please ensure the Secretary receives hard or soft copy application forms.  Owing to the number of members who forget to do the BACs transfer it is requested members provide evidence it is completed; this is required before your name will be added to the list. 

 

The closing date for applications will be Friday 9 November 2018 or before if all spaces are taken.   If you are due to leave the Royal Navy and deserve being dined out for free, please make Rob Walker aware and discuss your choice of 'gizzit' with him.

 

Download and complete the calling notice and booking form here.  It will also be available on the website's Forthcoming Events page. 

 

A reminder of last year's dinner

 


From MCDOA member David 'Spidy' Ince in Australia:

 

"G’day Rob,  

 

I think you can guess my response to this.  MRU again.  The timings of the MCDOA’s annual get together just never seem to work for me.  I generally visit the UK in the spring or summer.  I am still hopeful to have the planets align one day….  

 

In the interim all is very well down here in the steamy tropics of Australia.  I have finally decided that it is time to move on from the RAN.  There are a number of reasons for that, but mainly we are very well settled in Cairns and I am not prepared to move out of Far North Queensland to take up a job in Sydney or worse, Canberra!  The vortex of the MCD world is trying to pull me back in after a five year sabbatical in ‘General Service’, but I have done all the diving and MW jobs I want to do and then some.  So the jet fins will be gold plated and hung up.  36 years and four Navies will do me.  I am planning to be out on long service leave at Christmas and sign off for good next June.  The irony here is that I won’t immediately be able to grow a pony tail and smoke a joint the day after I leave as I will likely be back in the door the following month as a reservist.  I am currently lining myself up to become the operations officer of a FOST like organisation that has the responsibility for training Pacific Island nations in the operation of the new patrol boat (Guardian Class) that the Australian Government are gifting them.  This mini FOST is manned entirely by crusty old reservists, to wit grumpy Chiefs and Lt Cdrs!  These days I fit the bill well.  

 

Until then I am thoroughly enjoying my last full-time service gig as the XO of HMAS Leeuwin, not quite as grand as my old class mate Commodore Jerry Kyd’s appointment, but she’ll do me.  Leeuwin is fitted for, but not with, a diving capability, but that is no reason why I can’t still blow some bubbles when we are off doing gross acts of surveying in remote idyllic places….as some may have noted from a recent article in the MW Association magazine.  Meanwhile the attached photo is from a recent epic 11-day off-road four-wheel drive 2,200km adventurous training caper I did with my crew.  'Tis a hard life down here.

 

 

Best regards to the brethren.    

 

Yours Aye,

 

Dave 'Spidy' Ince  

D. P. Ince LCDR, RAN

XO HMAS Leeuwin"

 


From MCDOA member Paul Davey in Australia:

 

"Rob,

 

Looks like you will have a great night.  I’ll have to make arrangements in the future to be back in the UK when you have the Annual Dinner so I can attend.  

 

Hope all goes well!

 

Paul"

 


From MCDOA member Martin Jenrick:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Please accept my apologies but I am unable to attend as I will be out of the country, but I am sure it will be a great evening as always.

 

Yours Aye,

 

Martin"

 


18 Sep 18 - SDU1 detonates explosives seized in Devon

 

The Forces Network website contains this article (including video) reporting the destruction, presumably by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), of a quantity of explosives found by police at a home in Bishops Tawton in Devon in January.  The haul included 17 improvised explosive devices and 9kg of ammonium nitrate with fuel oil (ANFO). 

 


17 Sep 18 - RANCDA Magazine

 

I was privileged to receive the latest issue of the Australian Navy Diver magazine today.  This excellent publication, produced by the RAN Clearance Divers' Association (RANCDA), includes an inspirational feature about ex-RAN AB(CD) Paul de Gelder who lost his right hand and leg in a horrific attack by a bull shark during a night dive in Sydney harbour nine years ago (see entries for 10 Feb 09, 12 Feb 09, 18 Feb 09 and 26 Feb 09 in News Archive 25).  He now lives in Los Angeles and is pictured on the magazine's cover. 

 

     

 

Before Paul de Gelder sustained his injuries in early 2009, he had been due to join Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) on an exchange posting.  MCDOA past-Chairman Paul Jones met Paul and passed him our best wishes when he visited Australia for an ABCANZ Conference later in the year (see entry for 16 Nov 09 in News Archive 28).

 

 

The RANCDA has been extremely supportive of the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument, not least because, pro rata, RANVR bomb & mine disposal officers trained and based at HMS Vernon were awarded the highest number of awards for gallantry of the Second World War but also because of the number of RAN officers and ratings who have been trained in minewarfare and diving at HMS Vernon or served on its staff and in associated ships.  The RANCDA unanimously agreed to made a grant of $500 AUS to Project Vernon at its AGM last year and I received several sizeable personal donations during my visit down under earlier this year (see entry for 15 Apr 18 in News Archive 62), including one from CD pioneer Jake Linton BEM, co-Patron of the RANCDA (see 'A Clearance Diving Experience' in the website's Dit Box).

 

 

I was therefore delighted to see this unsolicited article printed on page 6 of the latest RANCDA magazine although, perhaps understandably, it omits the equally significant minewarfare (i.e. mine design, minelaying, minesweeping, minehunting, rendering mines safe, etc,) half of the monument:

 

 


15 Sep 18 - Recent tweets

 

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

 

US Navy

 

13 Sep 2018 - US Navy, Royal Navy and coalition partners have come together in the Persian Gulf for MCMEX 18, the premier quarterly mine countermeasures exercise in the Middle East held to help demonstrate the shared commitment to ensuring unfettered maritime operations in the region.

 

 

COMUKMCMFOR

 

13 Sep 2018 - And so it begins!  The UK/US Mine CounterMeasure Force is underway from Bahrain for the 3rd exercise of the year.  By sea and air, the Force will defeat a simulated mining threat in The Gulf.

 

13 Sep 2018 - HMS Brocklesby leads the way at the start of MCMEX18-3.  HMS Shoreham takes centre.  USS Sentry takes up the rear.  US Coastguard vessels provide force protection as the exercise takes place in the Gulf in international waters.  Sea Dragons from HM15 fly ahead

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3)

 

14 Sep 2018 - Two US 5th Fleet HM15 Sea Dragons flying ahead of HMS Brocklesby as part of MCMEX 18-3.

 

 

14 Sep 2018 - Preparing Sea Fox unmanned underwater robots for mine identification during UK/US MCMEX 18-3 in the Gulf.

 

13 Sep 2018 - Glad we've got decent wipers for the spray from those US Navy helos.

 

13 Sep 2018 - Crew 3 demonstrated our seamanship skills by recovering several large training mines from the seabed during MCMEX 18-3 in the Gulf.

 

  

 

12 Sep 2018 - BROC is Back to Business conducting maritime security operations at sea in the Gulf.  Training included gun crews engages with a floating target.  We welcomed our new Capt MFP, Capt Ken Houlberg RN, on board for a short visit.

 

29 Aug 2018 - BZ to newly promoted ET1(CIS) McDonough!  The WEO, CPO Riley is well proud too.

 

28 Aug 2018 - 1,000 [Twitter] followers.  Thanks to all our family's friends and fans for supporting us. Spread the word and help us to the next milestone. 

 

HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

29 Aug 2018 - It was a privilege training our Omani, Labanese, and Vietnamese friends in navigation on the Clyde.  Fair winds and following seas to you all.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3)

 

14 Sep 2018 - HMS Shoreham, HMS Brocklesby and US Coastguard Adak sail in close formation.  Taken from USS Sentry.

 

 

3 Sep 2018 - Staff from KBR who look after the facilities in the UKNSF had the chance for a lookaround this week.  Most of them have never been on a ship before!  We really appreciate all the work they do for us, means we can focus on the job.

 

RN in Scotland

 

31 Aug 2018 - Royal Navy minehunter HMS Bangor returns to HM Naval Base Clyde today after a three year deployment in the Gulf region.

 


14 Sep 18 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

In 1976, the Soviet Kashin class guided missile destroyer Obratzovy visited Portsmouth.  This was the first visit by a Soviet warship to the UK since 1956 when Cdr Lionel 'Buster' Crabb OBE GM RNVR disappeared while diving under the Sverdlov class cruiser Ordzhonikidze which brought Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev and Premier Nikolai Bulganin for talks with British Prime Minister Anthony Eden.  Obratzovy's visit included a full round of reciprocal visits and activities.  Much to their amusement, her officers were hosted by members of HMS VERNON’s Long Minewarfare & Clearance Diving Officers’ Course, including MCDOA member Bernie Bruen MBE DSC and me.  Among the social events was a beer & skittles evening at the Fox & Hounds in Denmead.

 

     

 

Bernie now lives in France but he is currently staying with me while visiting the UK to attend the 50th anniversary reunion of his entry at BRNC Dartmouth on Saturday night.  Today, 42 years after entertaining the Obratzovy's officers, we returned to the Fox & Hounds for lunch and a pint.

 

 

Bernie superseded me as Boss 2 of PCDT (Plymouth Clearance Diving Team) in 1982 and he has passed me this photo of a PCDT diver (MCDOA member Nigel Hill now resident in Florida) being dressed in CDBA (Clearance Diver Breathing Apparatus).  This iconic rebreather was the mainstay of the CD branch from its formation in 1952 until shortly before 2000.  It is worn by the diver accompanying the Mk 17 moored mine in the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument.

 

Nigel Hill being dressed in CDBA circa 1983 (Courtesy of Bernie Bruen)

 

CDBA was one of the derivatives of the UBA (Universal Breathing Apparatus) Siebe Gorman developed for the Admiralty from its wartime Amphibian Mk IV.  The design culminated in DSSCCD (Diving Set Self-Contained Clearance Diver).

 

  

Left: Dutch 'P' Party 3006 diver in UBA circa 1946 (Courtesy of David L. Dekker)

Right: Diver in CDBA at RN Diving School Chatham circa 1953 (Courtesy of Jackie Rea's widow Edda)

 


13 Sep 18 - NDG destroys wartime spigot bomb in Northern Ireland

 

The BBC News website contains this article reporting the disposal, presumably by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG), of an unexploded allied wartime spigot bomb (as used in anti-submarine warfare) found in Lough Foyle near Londonderry.

 


12 Sep 18 - RN Minewarfare & Diving Heritage: A trilogy of books

 

Thank you to all who have purchased copies of 'Home Waters' signed by MCDOA past-President & highest ever ranking RN MCD officer Rear Admiral Paddy McAlpine CBE (who penned one of the forewords) and your humble webmaster (who co-authored the book with Cdr David Bruhn USN). 

 

Paddy McAlpine signing his foreword in 'Home Waters'

 

Read Paddy's foreword, among others, via my co-author's webpage here:

 

www.davidbruhn.com/index.html

 

Unsigned copies of the book are available from Heritage Books in the USA at a cost of $74.99 (currently £57.38) including overseas P&P via this link:

 

'Home Waters' at Heritage Books

 

Alternatively, email me via my Webmaster address and I will send you a copy, signed by Paddy and inscribed by me if desired, on receipt of £30 including UK P&P.  The latest sales have enabled me to make a second donation of £500 towards the Vernon Minewarfare & Diving Monument

 

 

'Home Waters' is the first volume in a trilogy and its 386 pages cover RN, RCN and USN minewarfare against Germany during the First World War.  It also contains a history of HMS VERNON and describes the significance of the Vernon Monument.  The book was launched in April this year and I am selling signed copies for £30 (including post & packing) of which £10 goes to the Vernon Monument.  The cover picture, a painting by Richard DeRosset titled 'They Opened the Seaways' , portrays a mine detonation off the port quarter of USS Richard Bulkeley.  This wooden-hulled minesweeping trawler was sunk with loss of life while participating in the post-First World War clearance of the North Sea Mine Barrage stretching from the Scottish Orkney Islands to Bergen in Norway.

 

 

The second volume in the trilogy is titled 'Night Raiders' and will cover RN, RAN, RNLN and USN minewarfare against Japan in the Second World War.  The cover picture, a painting by Richard DeRosset titled 'Mining the Tokyo Express', depicts USS Tracy (DM-19), USS Montgomery (DM-17) shielded from view by the Tracy, and USS Preble (DM-15), laying mines off Guadalcanal the night of 1 February 1943 to prevent an approaching force of nineteen Japanese destroyers from evacuating enemy troops from the island.  The book is due to be published early next year.

 

 

The third volume in the trilogy is titled 'Enemy Waters' and will cover RN, USN, RAN, RCN, RNoN and French Navy minewarfare against Germany and Italy during the Second World War.  It describes HMS VERNON's role in the design of mines and mine countermeasures and in the development and execution of minelaying, minesweeping and bomb & mine disposal.  It also describes the formation and role of the 'P' Parties (Port Clearance Parties) as the forebears of today's clearance diver branch.  From their inception in late 1943, the ‘P’ Parties were established by the Admiralty’s Director of Minesweeping, under the auspices of HMS VERNON in Portsmouth.  On 1 October 1944, responsibility for all Royal Navy diving, including the ‘P’ Parties, was transferred to the Admiralty's Director of Torpedoes and Mining (DTM), also under the auspices of HMS VERNON.  The cover picture, a painting by Richard deRosset, depicts Fleet Air Arm Swordfish biplanes, which also laid many mines, attacking the Italian fleet at Taranto, an action that reversed the Italian Navy's Mare Nostrum control of the Mediterranean.  The book is due to be published later next year.

 

 

I am donating my proceeds from the sale of all three volumes towards the Vernon Monument.

 


4 Sep 18 - Sub Sea to Summit challenge completed

 

Congratulations to all those who helped complete the Sub Sea to Summit challenge for charity which started 5 metres underwater in Loch Linnhe at Fort William on Saturday (see entry for 29 Aug 18).  This photo, courtesy of the Historical Diving Society, shows a member of the relay team in standard diving dress on the summit of Ben Nevis yesterday.

 

 

The Daily Express website has published this article covering the story.

 


3 Sep 18 - Arrangements for a celebration of the life of former CPO(D) Frederick 'Tug' Wilson

 

I am grateful to former WO(D) Terry Settle MBE QGM BEM for this notification (see entry for 4 Aug 18):

 

"Hi Rob,

 

Tug has got his wish – body donated and received for medical research and a non-religious gathering in a PUB to celebrate his life. 

 

The gathering is planned for Tuesday 25th September to be held at the Plough & Chequers, Danes Hill, Gillingham, ME7 2TY starting at 1230.  Tug’s sister has asked if anyone has any photographs of Tug would they bring them along or if not attending they can be forwarded to me.  She also has requested that any donations be forwarded to the Vernon Monument project.  Collections will be taken on the day.

 

For information, last week there was quite a big spread written by John Brice (ex-BBC radio 4 presenter) in the Medway Messenger.  John Brice will lead the event, simply welcoming people (master of ceremonies ) and then inviting Tug’s various friends to say a few words, a dit that we might remember him by.

 

Rob, I have attached the memorial’s calling notice that has been sent out locally.

 

Many regards,

 

Terry"

 

This is the calling notice for Tug's memorial gathering:

 

A memorial celebration of life has been arranged for Frederick ‘Tug’ Wilson, a former Royal Navy diver and bomb disposal expert from Brompton who recently died at the age of 77.  It is at the Plough & Chequers in Danes Hill, Gillingham, starting at 1230 on Tuesday 25th September.  

 

Tug - who lived at Melville Court for many years - joined the Royal Navy at the age of 15 and served for 30 years, eventually leaving as a Chief Petty Officer Clearance Diver.  

 

Tug spent the whole of his working life with explosives, and after leaving the Royal Navy he ran a gun shop on Medway City Estate.  Then he joined the staff of the tri-service Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Chattenden as a civilian where he stayed until his retirement.  

 

Tug was an enthusiastic member of the Chatham Branch of the Royal Naval Association, helping to bring the national conference of the organisation to the Medway Towns in 2003.  He was chairman of the Chatham Branch for a number of years and became Area Chairman with jurisdiction over RNA branches in Kent, Surrey and East Sussex until he was forced to step down due to failing health. 

 

CPO(D) Frederick 'Tug' Wilson

 

In that role, he was involved in a plan to erect a monument to honour those involved in mine warfare, diving and bomb & mine disposal.  It is to be erected in the basin of the former HMS Vernon in Portsmouth.  Fundraising for the £80,000 still needed is still going on. Donations will be taken at the memorial event.  

 

Anyone who knew or worked with Tug is welcome to attend and will be invited to say a few words.

 


2 Sep 18 - Annual Bevan barbecue

 

Mr & Mrs Webmaster enjoyed a convivial afternoon yesterday at the barbecue hosted by MCDOA associate member Dr John Bevan and his wife Ann.  This annual event was attended by a host of people from the world of naval & military, commercial, archaeological and recreational diving, most of whom are fellow members of the Historical Diving Society.

 

 

 

John and fellow RN Scientific Service diver Peter Sharphouse set a world record in March 1970 when they spent 10 hours at a simulated depth of 1,500 feet of seawater (457 metres of seawater) at the Royal Naval Physiological Laboratory's (RNPL) Deep Trials Unit (DTU) in Alverstoke.  Their dive was 300 feet beyond the predicted maximum of around 1,200 fsw (366 msw) and was described by American colleagues as “a hyperbaric moon landing”.  HMS Reclaim’s divers participated in the trials and applied the lessons learned and decompression tables developed (See 'HMS Reclaim - A World Record-Breaker' in the website's Dit Box).

 

 

John has since become founding Chairman of the Historical Diving Society (which has spawned affiliated branches worldwide) and founded the Diving Museum in No.2 Battery at Stokes Bay.  He is also a prolific author of diving related books, magazine and journal articles, Chairman and Managing Director of Submex Limited, Editor of Underwater Contractor International and a trustee of Project Vernon, the charity campaigning to erect a minewarfare & diving monument at Gunwharf Quays.

 

Yours Truly (Rob Hoole) with John Bevan at an informal editors' meeting

 

Thank you, John and Ann, for such an enjoyable afternoon.

 


1 Sep 18 - SDU2 detonates bomb off Clacton

 

The UK News in Pictures website contains this article (including video) reporting today's disposal by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) of a Second World War German bomb netted yesterday by a fishing vessel off Clacton-on-Sea.

 

 

Postscript: The Portsmouth News website contains this article reporting that members of SDU2 were called to a suspected unexploded bomb off Hill Head harbour in the Solent today but it transpired to be inert and was carried away.

 


31 Aug 18 - HMS Middleton's homecoming

 

Your humble webmaster stood on the Round Tower this morning to welcome HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) back to her base at Portsmouth after her three-year deployment in the Gulf on Operation KIPION.  I had been there to watch her departure in 2015 when she was also manned by MCM2 Crew 2 (see entry for 9 Nov 15 in News Archive 52).

 

 

Spookily, I bumped into my old friend and MCD colleague Dan Nicholson's son Andrew with his wife Caroline and daughter Elsie.  Caroline's brother Daniel 'Doc' Morris (another MCD and a green beret) is HMS Middleton's Commanding Officer and she was accompanied by her other brother Jeremy and his friend Hayley.

 

Caroline and Andrew Nicholson with their daughter Elsie

and Jeremy Morris with his friend Hayley

 

I first knew Andrew when he was knee high to a grasshopper but last saw him in 2003 at the Army Navy match at Twickenham when he was a warfare officer on the staff at BRNC Dartmouth.  During his time in the RN, he earned his green beret on the AACC (All Arms Commando Course) like Daniel Morris and served in HM Ships CHATHAM, WALNEY and TYNE before leaving the Service in 2006.

 

Also standing on the Round Tower was Jemma Lambert whose husband Kevin is a PO(MW) on board MIDDLETON.  She was with her friend Laura Perkins whose husband 'Pinky' is a LS(MW) on board HMS VICTORY.

 

Laura Perkins and her children with Jemma Lambert

 

Finally, HMS Middleton hove into view and entered harbour bound for No.2 Basin in the naval base where most families were waiting.

 

 

 

 

I also captured the new Wightlink car ferry MV Victoria of Wight which I will soon be experiencing when visiting our younger daughter and her family on the island.

 

MV Victoria of Wight

 

As reported in this article on the Forces News website, HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2) returned to her base at Faslane today, too.  On arrival, HMS Middleton's DWEO Andy Clark successfully proposed to his girlfriend Kayleigh and HMS Bangor's AB(MW) Joshua Bertman successfully proposed to his girlfriend Hazel.

 

     

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in wishing both crews all the best for their well-deserved post-deployment leave.

 

Postscript: The Portsmouth News has since published this article reporting HMS Middleton's homecoming.

 

  

Left: Kelly Cary, Ella and Matt Cary

Right: Ashley and Lauren Hall

(Portsmouth News images)

 


30 Aug 18 - HMS Hurworth shadows another Russian warship

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting that HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1) shadowed the Russian intelligence gathering ship Yuri Ivanov as she passed through the English Channel.  

 

HMS Hurworth shadowing RFS Yuri Ivanov

(MOD photo)

 

RFS Yuri Ivanov

(MOD photo)

 

It is only a week since HMS Hurworth kept a watchful eye on the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate Admiral Makarov, the latest Russian warship, during her passage through the English Channel (see entry for 23 Aug 18).

 


29 Aug 18 - Ginge Fullen's latest challenge

 

The BBC News website contains this article announcing that a relay team led by CD branch legend former LS(D) Eamon 'Ginge' Fullen QGM and Ty Burton, the Historical Diving Society's Working Equipment Group officer, is walking from the seabed to the top of Ben Nevis in standard diving dress for charity.  This venture, which starts on Saturday, will see RN divers and civilian volunteers begin 5m (16ft) underwater in Loch Linnhe at Fort William and finish four or five days later on the summit of Ben Nevis, a total climb of 1,350m (4,430ft).

 

Ginge Fullen (in standard dress) with some of the team

 

Sponsorship money is destined for the Historical Diving Society, the Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team and the family of former Thai Navy diver Saman Kunan, who died while assisting in the rescue of a football team and their coach from flooded caves in Thailand.  Donations can be made online via this JustGiving webpage:

 

Sub Sea to Summit in historical diving equipment

 

Postscript: The BBC News website has published this article and the Scottish Sun this article, including several photos, reporting the start of the challenge on Saturday 1 September.

 

 

Above and below: Ty Burton, the HDS Working Equipment Group officer,

starts the Sub Sea to Summit challenge at Fort William

 

 


28 Aug 18 - Supersession of Captain MFP

 

MCDOA President Roger Readwin was superseded today as Captain Mine Warfare & Patrol Vessels, Diving & Fishery Protection (Capt MFP) by Capt Ken Houlberg RN.

 

Capt Ken Houlberg (left) superseding Capt Roger Readwin as Capt MFP

 

Board listing Capt MFPs since abolition

of COMMW in 2001

 

Capt Roger Readwin with leaving gift comprising the badges of

all the squadrons in the MFP Flotilla

 

Capt Roger Readwin (centre) with MFP staff officers

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in thanking Captain Roger for his achievements and wish him every success in his new appointment.  We welcome Capt Ken to the fold.  

 


27 Aug 18 - Latest LS&GC awards

 

Congratulations to LS(D) Willy Bowman, LS(MW) Sarah Tapp, LS(D) Simon 'Si' Wharton and LS(MW) Steven Wingate on being gazetted for the award of the Long Service & Good Conduct medal.

 


26 Aug 18 - HMS Ledbury hosts differently abled group

 

HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 6) has sent this tweet containing some charming images of her hosting a group of diff-abled students in Bahrain.

 

 


25 Aug 18 - HMS Hurworth hosts 'Long Swim' Lewis Pugh

 

The Portsmouth News website contains this article and the Royal Navy website this article reporting that HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1) hosted Lewis Pugh – the UN Patron of the Oceans – while on his Long Swim challenge off the coast of Eastbourne yesterday (see entry for 19 Aug 19).

 

     

 

 

     

 

 


24 Aug 18 - CPO(CD1) Ron McKinlay's medals for sale

 

 

The Daily Mirror has published this article, the Daily Mail this article and the Portsmouth News this article announcing the sale of medals awarded to the late CPO(CD1) Ron McKinlay CGM.  He was gazetted for the award of the CGM (Conspicuous Gallantry Medal) on 29 August 1944 "for gallantry, skill, determination and undaunted devotion to duty during the initial landings of Allied Forces on the coast of Normandy" while attached to 'Peter' Royal Marines Beach Commando.  This was the accompanying citation:

 

Petty Officer McKinlay was put ashore between noon and 1400 hours on 6th June.  Finding himself at some distance from his pre-arranged destination he made his way along the beach and took charge of a party of Naval ratings and Army ranks who were bound for the same point.  Single-handed, he silenced two enemy strong points on the way with hand grenades.  Later, on an open stretch of sand which was under fire from enemy snipers, disregarding his own safety, he went to the rescue of a wounded man and brought him safely to cover.  

 

Ronald Harry George McKinlay became a Clearance Diver as a Petty Officer in 1951.  He went on to become a CPO(CD1) and served on the UDE CD Team at Portland (where he featured in the making of 'Above Us the Waves'), the Far East Fleet CD Team in Hong Kong (where he was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct in 1960 for salvaging an aircraft which had crashed into the sea off Kai Tak airport) and the Mediterranean Fleet CD Team in Malta. He also served with the ASRM (Assault Squadron Royal Marines) based at Fort Cumberland in Eastney.  Former CD Gym Cannon remembers Ron as the Chief Diver at Portland in 1955 when the HTP (High Test Peroxide) fuel exploded in a torpedo on board the submarine HMS Sidon causing several casualties (including MCDOA member David Bartlett MBE) and ex-CD Peter Gallant recalls that Ron was the beachmaster at the IOW hovercraft terminal at Southsea after leaving the RN.

 

 


23 Aug 18 - HMS Hurworth shadows Russian warship

 

The Portsmouth News contains this article, The Independent this article, the Daily Express this article, the Daily Star this article and the Daily Mail this article reporting that HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1) kept a watchful eye on the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate Admiral Makarov, the latest Russian warship, during her passage westward through the English Channel on Tuesday. 

 

RFS Admiral Makarov from HMS Hurworth

(HMS Hurworth photo)

 

RFS Admiral Makarov

(MOD photo)

 


22 Aug 18 - HMS Brocklesby bowls against USS Sentry

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3) has tweeted this photo taken at the NSA 10-pin bowling alley in Bahrain where they took on a team from their affiliated ship USS Sentry:

 

 


21 Aug 18 - Gentlemen Who Lunch

 

The MCDOA's ‘Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine Trio’ of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole were joined for their regular weekly gathering by MCDOA past-President Colin Welborn today at the picturesque Three Horseshoes in Elsted near Midhurst in East Sussex. Things have certainly greened up during the past fortnight.

 

 

"Here's to you" from Martyn Holloway, Colin Welborn, Doug Barlow and Yours Truly (Rob Hoole) 

 

     

 

 

     

 

 

 

     

 


20 Aug 18 - MAD magazine resurrected

 

The RN Minewarfare & Diving (MAD) magazine has been resurrected and the Summer 2018 edition is available online here.  It contains a foreword by Roger Readwin, the MCDOA's President and Captain Mine Warfare & Patrol Vessels, Diving & Fishery Protection (Capt MFP).

 

 

All past issues of the MAD magazine are accessible via the 'RN Minewarfare & Diving (MAD) Magazine Archive' in the website's Branch History section.

 


19 Aug 19 - SDU2 helps 'Long Swim' Lewis Pugh

 

UN Ambassador of the Oceans Lewis Pugh is swimming the full length of the English Channel from Land's End to Dover to "inspire people around the world to protect and preserve our oceans, and all that live in them, for a peaceful and sustainable future".  The 560 km (348 miles) distance is equivalent to 16 English Channel crossings and will take an estimated 50 days depending on tides and weather.  Read his daily blog here.

 

As described in this tweet by Captain MFP, RN clearance divers provided Lewis with some morale-boosting support yesterday by returning him to his support boat after a demonstration swim off Brighton pier.

 

 

Lewis Pugh (far right) with RN clearance divers at Brighton

(RN photo)

 

Lewis then started the next leg of his challenge and CPO(D) Kris Fenwick of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2) even swam alongside him for a while to cheer him along.

 

Lewis Pugh accompanied by CPO(D) Kris Fenwick

(RN photo)

 


18 Aug 18 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: Wartime photos of an HMS Vernon boffin

 

I am grateful to Toby Follett for sending us these photos.  They belonged to his late father, Bertram, a civilian scientist employed in HMS Vernon's Mine Design Department (Sweeping Division) during and shortly after the Second World War.

 

Bertram Follet's Vernon staff ID card

 

     

Left: Bertram Follett in his Mine Design Dept photographic studio

Right: Bertram Follett on official raiding party with camera

 

Bertram Follett with HMS Vernon Mine Design Dept colleagues on minesweeper

 

HMS Vernon mining trials rig

 

     

Left: HMS Vernon Mine Design Dept boffin at his desk

Right: HMS Vernon boffins reflected in window at Port Edgar in Scotland

 

Navy team from HMS Vernon's mine design department

 

     

German mine components

 

HMS Lochinvar at Port Edgar

 

It seems evident from the following photos that Bertram Follet was a member of a team that investigated captured German naval equipment after the D-Day landings.

 

Kiel harbour after the German surrender

 

Vernon Mine Design Dept officer with captured

German explosive motor boat

 

HMS Vernon Mine Design Dept officer with German explosive motor boat

 

HMS Vernon Mine Design Dept officer with

German explosive motor boat

 

HMS Vernon Mining Design Dept officers trained in RMS (Rendering Mines Safe)

 

Vernon Mine Design Dept officer in a German 'Marder' human torpedo.

It was normally armed with a single underslung torpedo.

 

Partially assembled German 'Neger' or 'Marder' human torpedo

 

HMS Vernon Mine Design Dept officer with German 'Seehund' miniature submarine.

It was normally armed with two underslung torpedoes.

 

Two Vernon Mine Design Dept officers outside

the German mine design HQ, probably the

Sperrwaffen Versuchs Kommando at Kiel

 

 

German torpedo factory

 

 

A crumpled German torpedo

 


17 Aug 18 - Recent tweets

 

HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2) and HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) have arrived in Gibraltar en route back to their respective bases at Faslane and Portsmouth after their three-year deployments on Operation KIPION in the Gulf.

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3), presumably with HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3), has tweeted her arrival in Bahrain to join HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 5) and HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 6) on Operation KIPION.

 

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

 

HMS Brocklesby

 

17 Aug 2018 - The ‘Brocklesby Bumblebees’ sitting pretty after winning the inaugural COMUKMCMFOR Football Championship with HMS Shoreham, HMS Blyth and HMS Ledbury.  Thanks to HMS Ledbury for organising the event!

 

17 Aug 2018 - Congratulations to Brocklesby’s newly promoted LET(ME) Tom Howe.  BZ!

 

15 Aug 2018 - Thank you RFA Cardigan Bay, our Afloat Support Base, for the ammunition top-up!  Great boat-handling from your Seaboat Coxns this afternoon.

 

 

14 Aug 2018 - The Leading Hands' Mess enjoys a stand easy properbrew on deployment in the Gulf.  Many thanks to Yorkshire Tea for supporting HMS Brocklesby at sea, where "everything's done proper!"

 

HMS Ledbury

 

17 Aug 2018 - Our Dep Weapons Engineer, PO Rob Knott has just joined the 1,000lb club at the US NAVCENT gym, lifting 1,115 lb total in squat, deadlift and bench press.  BZ!  First RN MCM to do so. 

 

HMS Shoreham

 

17 Aug 2018 - After 5,700 nautical miles, HMS Shoreham has arrived in Bahrain, home for the next few years.  It's a little warmer here than Faslane!

 

Forces Radio BFBS

 

17 Aug 17 - The men and women of HMS Shoreham have been sailing since June.  JUNE!  That deserves a bit of love right?  WATCH the moment they arrive in Bahrain.

 

BFBS Gibraltar

 

17 Aug 2018 - There's two visitors in the dockyard ... Welcome to Gib HMS Bangor and HMS Middleton! 

 

 

UK in Malta

 

10 Aug 2018 - Always a pleasure to welcome the Royal Navy to Malta with HMS Bangor and HMS Middleton in the wonderful Grand Harbour today.

 

   

 

 

Iain Cameron

 

15 Aug 2018 - HMS Ramsey M-110 passing Cloch Point Gourock inbound for Faslane.

 


16 Aug 18 - New wideband sonar for Sandown class minehunters

 

HM Naval Base Clyde has published this article on its Facebook page.  It features MCDOA member Kev Giles. 

NO SHIP can hunt mines in the ocean depth better than HMS Grimsby [MCM1 Crew 7] after she became the first ship to receive revolutionary sonar.


HMS Grimsby
(RN photo)

The Faslane-based warship is the first of seven in her class to be fitted with next-generation Sonar 2093 – allowing her crew to find mines and underwater explosives more easily and at greater distances. The improved sonar uses frequency modulation – similar to an FM radio – which reduces background clutter and allows it to ‘see’ further.  It means it is more likely to detect physical objects, rather than picking up stray sounds beneath the waves.

Lieutenant Commander Kevin Giles, a mine warfare specialist at the RN’s headquarters in Portsmouth, said: “This is a unique system, there is nothing as advanced in service worldwide. This capability will enable the Royal Navy to maintain its positon as a world-leader in mine counter measures.

“The picture the sonar provides the operator is much clearer, the detection range is much greater.”

The existing Sonar 2093 dates back to the 1980s. Not only is it ageing, but sourcing spare parts for the tech is proving increasingly difficult and will soon border on the impossible – hence the need to replace it.

The upgraded system – Sonar 2093 CSP (Capability Sustainment Programme) – exploits the same principles as Sonar 2193, fitted to Hunt-class minehunters for a decade.  On those ships, the transmitter and receiver are flat and fixed to the hull.  On Sandown-class vessels – all based at HM Naval Base Clyde – the technology is in a towed body, a device about one-metre in diameter which is lowered beneath the ship.  This lowerable sonar means Sandown-class ships can locate mines at much greater depths as it penetrates temperature layers in the ocean – layers which normally block sound waves.

Integrating the sonar into the towed body has posed engineers a significant challenge compared with the hull-mounted Sonar 2193 on the Hunt-class.  After half a dozen years’ work by experts at Thales UK, the first set was fitted to HMS Grimsby during her recent refit in Rosyth and following trials has been declared operational.

“It just requires a few days to get used to the new sonar – operators used to working on Hunts picked it up straight away. And in the longer term, it means there should be just one trainer for both classes of ship,” Lieutenant Commander Giles added.

The UK government is investing £45M in upgrading all seven Sandown-class vessels with the new sonar system which will be installed between now and 2023.

 


13 Aug 18 - HMS Ramsey taken over by MCM1 Crew 1

 

According to this tweet from HMS Ramsey, MCM1 Crew 1 (ex-HMS Penzance) has taken over the ship from MCM1 Crew 8.

 

Lt Cdr Lee Vessey (CO MCM1 Crew 1) with Lt Cdr Peter Ware (CO MCM1 Crew 8)

(RN photo)

 


10 Aug 18 - A kind gesture

 

Derek Shea's late father David was serving with Carl Massey on the Portsmouth and Medway Bomb & Mine Disposal Team when they were involved in the salvage of a crashed Yak-28 jet fighter from Lake Haval in West Berlin in 1966.  The incident is described in Ginge Fullen's latest CD Chronicle and Derek contacted me after spotting the entry for 19 Jul 18 on the MCDOA website.

 

I was able to put Derek in touch with Ginge and was delighted to receive this message as a result:

 

"Ginge / Rob,

 

Book arrived today.  Many thanks.

 

I have read through the Berlin incident and discovered many more snippets of previously unknown information.  There are also previously unseen photographs of my Dad which I am thrilled to see.  Thank you so much for this

 

I am so pleased to have a permanent record of my Dad’s involvement in this remarkable episode and will treasure it greatly.  I look forward to reading the rest of it in due course.  I’ve already spotted a few names from my Dad’s time in the Branch... John Dadd, Harry Neave and Jasper Peters to name just a few.   

 

I’ve found the relevant entry in my Dad’s log, quite an understated entry for what was a remarkable job.  I assume this was in line with the branch ethos and the nature of the job at hand. 

 

 

Incidentally, I’ve made a donation to Project Vernon by way of thanks but have not yet paid for Ginge's book.  I am more than happy to donate £20 towards print costs and a contribution to good causes as you see fit.  Please let me know the best way to get the monies to you.

 

Again, thank you.  I am delighted to have the book.

 

Kindest Regards.

 

Yours Aye,

 

Derek Shea"

 


9 Aug 18 - Tribute to CPO(D) Stephen 'Nellie' Nilsson

 

I am grateful for this contribution from my old LMCDO '76 course mate Bernie Bruen MBE DSC who relieved me on the Plymouth CD Team in 1982:

 

"Dear Rob,

 

My thanks to Dave Cherry for alerting me to Nellie's recent retirement after long and faithful service to the Branch.  We were in the Plymouth team together and a jolly good and enthusiastic shipmate he was too - as we all know.  Here's a picture of Nellie, taken at the end of a photo shoot in 1983 when I was writing a paper to try and get some decent working gear for the Team instead of the oilskins and No.8s that we were illustrating as the current available clothing.

 

Nellie Nilsson (right) on PCDT in 1983

 

The boys dressed in a series of inappropriate rigs as we were expected to wear in our various tasks, putting on their most pissed-off expressions in the process.  We even had a photo of the oilskin coat and trousers standing up on their own - they were that stiff.  When it came to photos of the rigs we were suggesting as replacements, they looked a lot happier.

 

As the shoot ended, Nellie grabbed one of the flash-reflector parasols and posed with (name forgotten, I am sorry to say) for this fabulous shot that captures the essence of Clearance divers and their fun approach to life. 

 

Glad to say that from these humble beginnings the Branch now has all the right stuff; but I will always treasure this photo of Nellie.

 

Yours aye,

 

Bernie"

 

Nellie Nilsson at Horsea in more recent times

 


8 Aug 18 - News from HMS Shoreham

 

According to these tweets, HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) has weathered a monsoon in the Indian Ocean, shipped her new funnel badges and is now ready for maritime security operations with COMUKMCMFOR in the Gulf in place of HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2):

 

8 Aug 2018

 

 

7 Aug 2018 (including video)

 

 

 


7 Aug 18 - Latest LS&GC awards

 

Congratulations to PO(D) John OBrien on being gazetted for the award of the first clasp to his Naval Long Service & Good Conduct medal and to PO(D) Adam Barlow, PO(MW) David Carbery and PO(MW) David 'John Boy' Walton on being gazetted for the award of the LS&GC medal.

 


6 Aug 18 - HMS Ramsey visits Inverness

 

HM Naval Base Cylde has reported the following recent activities of HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 8):

 

ROYAL Navy Sandown Class mine hunter HMS Ramsey visited Inverness recently to help cement affiliations with groups and organisations in the city.

 

HMS Ramsey arriving at Inverness

(RN photo)

 

From August 1 to 3 the ship was alongside Longman Quay, lowering the gangplank to welcome dozens of young visitors from Moray Sea Cadets TS Findhorn, Inverness Sea Cadets from TS Briton, 1st Avoch Sea Scouts and 18th Inverness Muirtown Sea Scouts.  The Royal Navy crew also hosted members of the Inverness Branch of the Royal Naval Association and paid a visit to Deputy Provost of Inverness, Councillor Bet McAllister, at the City’s Town House.

 

     

 

     

 

CO of HMS Ramsey, Lt Cdr Pete Ware, meeting Deputy Provost of Inverness, Cllr Bet McAllister

(RN photos)

 

Part of the Scots-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1), HMS Ramsey has most recently been operating as part of a NATO mine clearance task force in the Baltic Sea.  The minehunter joined SNMCMG1 – Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 1 - a task force dedicated to clearing mines in the region in May this year.  After a stop-over in Copenhagen, where the crew had the chance to witness the Crown Prince’s 50th birthday celebrations, the ship got stuck into a mass casualty exercise at sea.  Ramsey was one of the first responders, sending their first aid team to another task force ship playing the part of a stricken vessel.  The crew also participated in gunnery exercises and practiced manoeuvres at speed with other vessels in the group.

 


5 Aug 18 - HMS Ledbury taken over by Crew 6

 

According to this tweet from HMS Ledbury, MCM2 Crew 6 has arrived in theatre and taken over the ship from MCM2 Crew 5 on Operation KIPION in the Gulf where the temperature is 48 deg C.

 

 


4 Aug 18 - Death of former CPO(D) Fred 'Tug' Wilson

 

I have received this sad news from Terry Settle MBE QGM BEM:

 

"Hi Rob,

 

It saddens me to inform you of the death of Tug (Fred) Wilson of DEODS fame who crossed over the bar this morning peacefully in his sleep.

 

Tug was admitted to Chatham Maritime Hospital some three months ago having falling at home.  He had fractured his spine but, during the intense medical examination, it was found he was riddled with cancer.  He was treated and cared for in the Macmillan ward but was transferred from the Maritime to Charing House care home last Wednesday where I was in attendance for his arrival.  His immediate next of kin is his sister Jean.

 

Tug was an avid member of the RNA, being a long time chairman of the Chatham division and at one time I believe Kent.  I do know that Tug wanted to leave his body to be used for medical science so I very much doubt there will be any gathering for a funeral.  I will keep you informed however, on where family and friends will meet to celebrate his life.  I expect that Chatham RNA will take charge of this arrangement.

 

Regards,

 

Terry Settle"

 

I am sure that all members of our community will join me in extending our condolences to Tug's family and close friends.

 


From Perry Mason:

 

"Rob,

 

It deeply saddens me to hear of Tug's passing.  Tim Curd had contacted me a few weeks ago and had given an update on his condition.

 

Tug and I go back a long time,  He was a character in the branch and totally dedicated to DEODS.   I remember him on one of the DEODS divexes in Scotland. Tony Lumbard was in the water and just before he arrived back on the surface at the beach we were working from, Tug was standing there waist deep in water holding a silver tray and a large whisky ready to give to Tony as soon as he surfaced.  To say the least Tony was extremely grateful.

 

I hope that Tony is now returning the gesture and standing in heaven holding a silver tray with a large whisky welcoming Tug back to the fold and that Lorna, his wife who passed away in 1993, is standing by his side.  

 

Rest in peace, Tug, mate.  You are gone but will never be forgotten.

 

Perry"

 


From MCDOA member Steve Gobey:

 

"Hi Rob

 

Sad to see the news of Tug’s passing.  I have happy memories of serving with him whilst on the staff at DEODS in the late seventies, particularly when we escaped on our deep diving work ups.  ‘Father Famine’, as John Meakin used to call him, was anything but and would keep us well supplied with superb pot mess and fluffy scrambled egg morning rolls.  He always came with two diving bags - one full of wetsuits so that he never had to put on a damp one!

 

BZ Tug.  RIP.  

 

Very best wishes,

 

Steve

 

P.S. Good to see LEDBURY still going strong in the Gulf.  48 degrees reminds me of my BRECON time out there!"

 


3 Aug 18 - FDU2 participates in RIMPAC

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article describing the participation of members of Portsmouth-based Fleet Diving Unit 2 (FDU2) in the 26th RIMPAC which started on 27 June and finished on 2 August.  FDU2 performed VSW MCM (Very Shallow Water Mine Countermeasures) operations off San Diego and the article features LS(D) Will Bowman.  He also features in this video on YouTube.

 

Diving teams being launched from the stern gate of the assault ship USS Harper's Ferry

(US Navy photo)

 

LS(D) Will Bowman of FDU2

(US Navy photo)

 

RIMPAC began in 1971 and is a two-yearly exercise involving navies with a vested interest in the security of the RIM of the PACific region.  This year, it included 46 ships, five submarines, around 200 helicopters, jets and other aircraft, and 25,000 military personnel spread across 2,500 miles of the eastern Pacific from Hawaii to Southern California. 

 


2 Aug 18 - New boss for NDG

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting the supersession of MCDOA member Tony Hampshire by Chris Stephenson as CO of the Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG).  Tony has commanded the group for the past 30 months and is bound for an exchange job with the Royal Canadian Navy.

 

Tony Hampshire handing over to Chris Stephenson as CO NDG

(RN photo)

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in wishing Tony and Chris every success in their new roles.

 


1 Aug 18 - HMS Shoreham VERTREP

 

This striking photograph, taken from HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3), was contained in this tweet from HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) and shows her conducting a winching serial with HMS Argyll's Wildcat helicopter (callsign 'Highlander').

 

 


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