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.

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 (MCM2 Crew 3)


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 (MCM2 Crew 6)


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 (MCM1 Crew 3)


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,




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.




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:




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.




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,




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').



31 Jul 18 - MCMVs rendezvous in Djibouti


According to this tweet, HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3) and HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) have rendezvoused with the homecoming HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) and HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2) in Djibouti and relieved them of their Operation KIPION duties.  They will now continue their passage to Bahrain.





29 Jul 18 - From our foreign correspondent


Mick Edwards, National President of the Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers' Association (RANCDA), is seen here on 25 July presenting a CD lapel pin to the Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead AM RAN, his classmate on the 1990 RAN MCDO course.  Rear Adm Mead has taken the unprecedented step of declaring himself the 'Professional head of Clearance Diving' in the RAN.



Mick Edwards underwent MW training in the UK in 1991 before serving as Ops Officer of HMS Atherstone.  He was also XO in place of MCDOA member Andy Woollven for a while.  He left the RAN as a Lt Cdr in 2004 after being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services in the Iraq war and later became Capt Michael Edwards, a qualified master mariner and pilot in the Merchant Navy.  His MCDO 'high achiever' status doesn't stop there.  Twenty years ago, he founded the Bakkheia vineyard in the Geographe Wine Region of Western Australia and produced his first highly-prized vintage in 2006.  I can testify to the excellence of his product (see entry for 15 Apr 18 in News Archive 62).



28 Jul 18 - Brocklesby and Shoreham reach Jeddah


According to this tweet from Portsmouth-based HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3), it looks as though she and Faslane-based HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) have called into Jeddah on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia.  The two ships are on passage to the Gulf to relieve HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) and HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2), respectively, on Operation KIPION.


HMS Brocklesby's 5-a-side team after winning a tournament at the British Consulate in Jeddah


27 Jul 18 - MWA Dit Session


Your humble webmaster spent an enjoyable evening last night in the company of a few fellow members of the Mine Warfare Association (MWA) at a monthly southern area 'Dit Session' held at The Crown in Fareham.  Can you tell it was warm?


Dixie Dean, George Turnbull, Sean 'Taff' Slee, Rob Hoole, John Gunter and Peter 'Taff' Reader

at The Crown in Fareham last night


There was much merry lamp swinging but also some solemn thoughts of recent departures such as ex-CPO(MW) Neil 'Ruthers' Rutherford who crossed the bar yesterday afternoon in Aberdeen after a short illness.  Our sincere condolences to his family and friends. 


26 Jul 18 - Times obituary for Lt Cdr Brian Frank Dutton DSO QGM RN


The Times published this obituary for the late MCDOA member Brian Dutton today (see entry for 18 Jun 18 in News Archive 62 and ensuing links).



25 Jul 18 - Unmanned minesweeping system undergoes trials off Weymouth


I am grateful to MCDOA member Norman Brookhouse for drawing my attention to this article on the Dorset Echo website reporting the trials of ARCIMS (ATLAS Remote Combined Influence Minesweeping System) off Weymouth.  The system comprises the mother ship 'Hussar' towing coil auxiliary boats (CABs) fitted with influence sweeping devices.  Also see entry for 5 May 18 in News Archive 62.


ARCIMS deployed

(Royal Navy image)


The article features MCDOA member Dave Stanbury (OIC of the Maritime Autonomous Systems Trials Team (MASTT)) and MCDOA past-Chairman Mark Atkinson.


24 Jul 18 - Australian CPO(CD) decorated for Thai cave rescue


The Australian Navy Daily website contains this article reporting the presentation of the Australian Bravery Medal (BM) and the medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) to CPO(CD) Troy 'Stiffman' Eather for his courage during the recent rescue of the young Thai football team and their coach from the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand.


CPO(CD) Troy Eather BM OAM being presented with his Bravery Medal and Order of Australia

Medal by General the Honorable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), Governor-General

of the Commonwealth of Australia
 (Navy Daily image) 


CPO (CD) Troy Eather BM OAM with Chief of Navy, Vice Adm Michael Noonan AO RAN, at

Government House in Canberra after the presentation of CPO Eather’s Bravery Medal

and Order of Australia Medal

(Navy Daily image)


CPO(CD) Andrew Welsh, WO Paul Knight, Chief of Navy, Vice Adm Michael Noonan AO RAN,

 CPO(CD) Troy Eather BM OAM, Capt T Warren Bairstow CSC RAN, Lt Cdr Ryan Carmichael RAN

and CPO(CD) Glen Petersen at Government House in Canberra

(Navy Daily image)


I am sure that all members of our community will join me in extending our heartiest congratulations to CPO(CD) Eather, known to his mates as 'Stiffy'.


23 Jul 18 - HMS Middleton in Oman


According to this tweet, the rambling club of HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) has completed the treacherous Muttrah Geotrek whilst on a stand down in Muscat, Oman.  The trek took the participants to 150 metres above sea level in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.





22 Jul 18 - Brocklesby and Shoreham hosted by Egyptians


According to this tweet from Portsmouth-based HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3), she and Faslane-based HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) have refuelled while being hosted by the Egyptian Navy at Safaga at the northern end of the Red Sea.  The ships are on passage to the Gulf to relieve HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) and HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2), respectively, on Operation KIPION.


Egyptian Navy officer flanked by Lt Cdr Adrian Visram (CO HMS Shoreham)

and Lt Cdr Paul Irving (CO HMS Brocklesby)


HMS Brocklesby and HMS Shoreham leaving Safaga


21 Jul 18 - Ledbury runs for charity


According to this tweet, the homecoming ship's company of HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 5) has run a massive 6,435 km combined (greater than the distance from Bahrain to Portsmouth) and raised an impressive £1.500 for the RN & RM Charity (RNRMC) and Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association (DSA).  The final gruelling 181 km leg was run on the Bahrain International Circuit (home of motorsport in the Middle East).



Congratulations to all concerned.  MCM2 Crew 6 is due to take over HMS Ledbury from MCM2 Crew 5 in Bahrain at the end of the month.


20 Jul 18 - Death and funeral arrangements for LS(MW) Dave Stevens



MCDOA member Dave Stanbury, OIC of the Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team (MASTT), has sent me this announcement:




It is with regret that I must inform you of the death of LS(MW) David ‘Dave’ Stevens who passed over the bar on the night of Thursday 5 July 2018.  Dave’s ex-wife Janet has informed MASTT (Dave’s last posting before leaving the RN) that he will be laid to rest on Friday 27th July, 1300 at Knottingley cemetery, Wakefield, WF11 0DL. 


Dave's family would welcome service personnel attending, to wear uniform, should they wish.  After the ceremony there will be a wake, with food, etc laid on, at Knottingley Town Hall.


In order to gauge numbers in the short time before the funeral, Janet asks for attending personnel to contact:


CPO(MW) ‘Foggy’ Foggin


Tel: 07775040198


Your contact will help with numbers for catering, etc.


Thanks in advance.




Dave Stanbury"


19 Jul 18 - A new diver chronicle from Ginge Fullen


I must thank CD branch legend Eamon 'Ginge' Fullen QGM for sending me the third in his excellent series of illustrated chronicles of veteran Royal Navy divers in which he has captured so many memories. The latest features Carl Massey and perhaps his most fascinating memory is of helping to salvage parts of a crashed Soviet Yak-28 jet fighter from Lake Haval in West Berlin in 1966 during the Cold War (see entries for 2 Dec 15 in News Archive 52 and 4 Jan 16 in News Archive 53).


All three volumes should soon be available for sale from the RNCDA website's online shop via


Carl Massey:




Yorky Wilkinson:




Jim Cannon:




18 Jul 18 - Funeral of Lt Cdr Anthony George Lumbard RN


A fair few members of the RN clearance diver cloth gathered at Slindon near Arundel today to pay their final respects to MCDOA member Tony Lumbard (see entry for 1 Jul 18).




The church was packed and attendees from the RN minewarfare & diving community included fellow MCDOA member John O'Driscoll MBE plus Albert Chapman, Mick Fellows MBE DSC BEM with his wife Irene, Peter Fuller, Vic Humphrey BEM, Colin Kidman QGM, Bob Oulds QGM, Terry Settle MBE QGM BEM and Tug Wilson.


Left to right: Rob Hoole, Albert Chapman, John O'Driscoll, Peter Fuller, Tug Wilson,

Terry Settle, Bob Oulds, Mick Fellows, Colin Kidman and Vic Humphrey


The Order of Service can be read by clicking on this image:



We were joined afterwards at Tony and Brenda's house by Maj Bob Bruce RM with whom we shared several mutual friends.





Albert Chapman, who had travelled from Scotland, said a few words honouring Tony before we had a photo taken with his widow Brenda.






Lt Cdr Anthony George Lumbard RN

(30 Jun 1932 - 28 Jun 2018)


From Tony Lumbard's daughter Sally Hales:


"Dear Rob,


On behalf of the whole family, I wanted to thank you and all the divers who came to my father’s funeral mass on Wednesday and to say how much we appreciated and enjoyed your presence there.


Please pass on our sincere thanks.


Best wishes,




17 Jul 18 - Gentlemen Who Lunch


Today found the MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole visiting the Crown & Anchor in Dell Quay (home of the famous Dell Quay Dory) and the Anchor Bleu in Bosham where Barlow attracted the attention of one of the local law enforcement team.  There wasn't quite the blazing sunshine we have been enjoying of late but it was still pleasant enough to wear shorts.  Long may it continue.





16 Jul 18 - Arrangements for the funeral of ex-CD Gary 'Jan' Sewell


Jan Sewell's funeral will take place at Great Grimsby Crematorium, Weelsby Ave, Grimsby, DN32 0BA at 1420 on Thursday 2 August  


Afterwards, the family welcomes everyone to celebrate his life at: The Spiders Web Pub, 180 Carr Lane, Grimsby, DN32 8LN.


Any floral tributes to be sent to: Linconlshire Co-op Grimsby Funeral Home, 246 Corporation Rd, Grimsby, DN31 2PZ  


Donations in lieu of flowers to: Radcliffe Donkey Sanctuary, Church Lane, Huttoft, Alford, Lincolnshire, LN13 9RB.


15 Jul 18 - Death of ex-CD Gary 'Jan' Sewell



I regret to report the death yesterday of ex-CD Gary 'Jan'' Sewell after a battle with cancer lasting several months.  MCDOA member Paul Guiver BEM is talking to his wife Kim and daughter Zoe who are understandably devastated so please restrict calls to them unless you are personal friends.


Paul has already passed on several messages of support and received this response from Zoe:


“Please send thanks to all his friends for thinking of him and their kind words xx. 


I will keep you informed to share the [funeral] arrangement information xx.”


I served with Jan on the Plymouth Clearance Diving Team circa 1980 and our paths have crossed several times since then.  He was a battler to the end and we were chatting normally only a couple of weeks ago.  He will be much missed.




Paul has sent me this image of himself standing left of Jan on the Fleet CD Team in 1986 when the OIC was MCDOA member David 'Doc' O'Connell MBE:



Jan lived near Cleethorpes and I will publish funeral arrangements when available.  In the meantime, I am sure that all members of our community will join me in extending our deep condolences to Jan's wife Kim and their family.


13 Jul 18 - Appeal for family of deceased Thai ex-SEAL diver Saman Gunan


I have received this appeal from Tony Sexton of the RNCDA:


"Afternoon Rob,


I wonder if you could possibly publicise to your members an appeal we are running?


We are running a collection to raise some funds for the family of Petty Officer Saman Gunan of the Thailand Navy, who tragically lost his life whilst helping to save the 12 schoolboys and their coach in the Tham Luang cave complex.  


The collection went live yesterday and we are already well on the way to our target (But we would love to smash that target!).


This is the post on a lot of Royal Navy Clearance Divers' Facebook pages today:  


This heroic Navy Diver Saman Gunan gave his life to save those boys trapped in the cave,  I am proud to be former Royal Navy Diver myself but the thought of what he went through in those dark, cold, passages fills me with both dread and huge admiration. 


The Royal Navy Clearance Divers Association have launched an appeal to raise a small amount to help his family in these most difficult of times and to show that his selfless act did not go unnoticed.  5 Bells Sir,  Stand Down your work is done.


Please give a little now and share this post to help his family.  


The collection was the idea of RNCDA member John Stoddart and has been set up by RNCDA Events secretary Glyn Holgate  


If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give me a call


Kind Regards,


Tony Sexton


Webadmin & Membership Secretary

Royal Navy Clearance Divers Association"  


12 Jul 18 - Brocklesby and Shoreham reach eastern Mediterranean


According to their recent tweets, Portsmouth-based HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3) and Faslane-based HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) have undergone ranging at NATO FORACS near Souda Bay in Crete during their passage to the Gulf to relieve HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) and HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2), respectively, on Operation KIPION.


Click on the linked dates to see associated images and videos.


HMS Brocklesby


12 July 2018 - Great to welcome COMPORFLOT on board for a short visit.  He kindly presented AB(MW) Craig John with HMS Brocklesby's sailor of the year award.  BZ!



12 July 2018 - After extensive equipment trials in Souda, BROC is ready for anything!  Thank you Greek Navy for hosting us and thanks to NATO FORACS for putting us through our paces.



 HMS Shoreham


11 July 2018 - HMS Shoreham proving our mine hunting capability at the NATO FORACS Range in Greece.


11 Jul 18


Gentlemen Who Lunch


Barlow was indisposed yesterday but Holloway and Hoole, the other two members of the MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio, enjoyed a lunchtime reunion with Andrew ‘Charlie’ Watts at The Royal Oak in Langstone, Hampshire.




As an LSA serving at HMS Cochrane in Rosyth, Charlie was given one hour's notice to deploy to the Falklands with the five converted minesweeping trawlers of the 11th MCM Squadron in 1982.  Martyn Holloway was the Commanding Officer of HMS Cordella and the squadron's Senior Officer (see 'The Forgotten Few of the Falklands' in the website's Dit Box).


Holloway, Watts and Hoole at The Royal Oak in Langstone


Quite coincidentally, it turned out that Charlie and I had served together in the frigate HMS Minerva during her nine-month West Indies deployment in 1975.


Tweets from HMS Ledbury and HMS Shoreham


In the meantime, I hope there is nothing sinister about the black border surrounding this image...


HMS Ledbury


11 July 2018 - 'It's coming home!'  The crew of HMS Ledbury wish the England football team the best of luck in the semi-finals this evening!



10 July 2018 - "How does a Ship float?"  CO of HMS Ledbury, Lt Cdr Charles Collins, gladly explains and gives a live Skype tour of the Ship to kids and parents at Crofton Hammond Infant School in Fareham.


HMS Shoreham


11 July 2018 - It's coming home!'  The crew of HMS Shoreham wish the England football team the best of luck in the semi-finals tonight!



10 Jul 18 - SDU1 detonates wartime bomb off Teignmouth


The BBC News website contains this article and the Plymouth Herald website this article, including video, of today's detonation by members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) of a German Second World War unexploded SC 1200 bomb found by scuba divers off Teignmouth in Devon. 


(Image: Chris Cunningham)



(Images: Maritime & Coastguard Agency)


(Royal Navy video)


9 Jul 18 - HMS Soberton commemoration


HMS Soberton in her Fishery Protection Squadron guise


Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL (former First Sea Lord), Captain Roger Readwin RN (Captain MFP & MCDOA President), past COs, ex-ship's company and Ton Class Association members met at St Peter's Church in Soberton yesterday for a service commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the commissioning of HMS Soberton and the re-dedication of her bell which hangs in the church.  The service was followed by a gathering in the nearby White Lion pub.




Also present was MCDOA member Martyn Holloway, the Senior Officer of the five converted minesweeping trawlers comprising the 11th MCM Squadron which deployed to the Falklands in 1982.  HMS Soberton's ship's company manned HMS Northella, one of the trawlers.  Marine artist Adrian Thompson produced this painting of HMS Northella which hangs in The Admiralty in Trafalgar Square, officially London's most central pub (see entry for 7 Dec 15 in News Archive 52).



Adrian has since painted a stunning picture of two of the trawlers passing sweeps and has kindly signed prints that are now available for sale in aid of Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a minewarfare & diving monument at Gunwharf Quays previously occupied by HMS Vernon (see entry for 3 May 18 in News Archive 62). 


8 Jul 18 - More news from Brocklesby


HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3) has tweeted the following:


8 July 2018 - What a team! 4 new AB First Class ratings for BROC along with our fantastic ME department, recipients of a Herbert Lott Prize in recognition of their hard work preparing BROC for deployment.




5 Jul 18 - Brocklesby, Shoreham and Enterprise at Malta


As seen in the following tweets, Portsmouth-based HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3) and Faslane-based HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) have called into Malta during their passage to the Gulf to relieve HMS Middleton (MCM2 Crew 2) and HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2), respectively, on Operation KIPIONHMS Enterprise has also called in.  She has just completed a year in the Mediterranean as flagship of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2) with MCDOA member Justin Haines embarked as the Commander and is now on her way back to the UK.


Click on the linked dates to see associated images and videos.


HMS Shoreham


4 July 2018 - HMS Shoreham & HMS Brocklesby have sailed into the historic Grand Harbour of Valletta, Malta, & visit the European Capital of Culture 2018.  Naval history and fantastic architecture abound.


Malta Ship Photos


3 July 2018 - M 33 HMS BROCKLESBY and M 112 HMS SHOREHAM berthed at the Grand Harbour, Malta - 02.07.2018.


3 July 2018 - M 112 HMS SHOREHAM berthed at the Grand Harbour, Malta - 02.07.2018.


3 July 2018 - M 33 HMS BROCKLESBY berthed at the Grand Harbour, Malta - 02.07.2018.


Modern Royal Navy


5 July 2018 - Nothing better than winning a World Cup 2018 match and seeing the RoyalNavy back in numbers in Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta via Emmanuel L @ModernNavy pictured HMS BROCKLESBY (2 July), HMS ECHO (3 July), HMS ENTERPRISE (28 June) and HMS SHOREHAM (2 July). 





4 Jul 18 - Arrangements for the funeral of Lt Cdr Anthony George Lumbard RN


A funeral mass will be held for MCDOA member Tony Lumbard at 1000 on Wednesday 18 July at St Richard's Church, Slindon near Arundel in West Sussex (see entry for 1 Jul 18).  The post code is BN18 0RH.


Flowers and donations to The Royal Star & Garter Homes can be arranged through Dillistone & Wraights funeral directors, 14 The Square, Barnham, PO22 0HB.  Tel 01243 782011.


3 Jul 18 - Gentlemen Who Lunch


Today found the MCDOA's ‘Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine’ trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole (accompanied by Doug Barlow's wife Jill and Rob Hoole's neighbour Lez) in the garden of the Lord Raglan in Emsworth where we bumped into John ‘Rattler’ Morgan and his wife Ann.  Rattler served with our trio as a CPO(MW) at HMS VERNON back in the day and he joined us for this photo.



2 Jul 18 - Latest LS&GC awards


Congratulations to WO1(D) A E 'Kocker' Knowles and WO1(D) N Smith on being gazetted for the award of the 2nd Clasp to the Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, to PO(MW) P M Wilson on being gazetted for the award of the LS&GC Medal and to CPO(MW) M A Dugan RNR on being gazetted for the award of the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal.


1 Jul 18 - Death of Lt Cdr Anthony George Lumbard RN


I regret to announce the death of MCDOA member Tony Lumbard who passed away peacefully at home on Thursday 28 June surrounded by his family.  He was 86.


Tony qualified on the 1964 LMCDO course at HMS Vernon.


LMCDO '64 with Tony Lumbard standing third from left, the late Colin Churcher MBE

standing fourth from left, Peter Waddington standing fifth from left, the late Brian

Braidwood sitting far left and Peter Hicks sitting centre


He subsequently served in the inshore minehunter HMS Dingley, at HMS Osprey, with the Far East CD Team at HMS Terror in Singapore, as OIC of the Faslane CD Team at HMS Neptune, in Command of HMS Lewiston based at HMS Vernon, as OIC AEDU (Admiralty Experimental Diving Unit) at HMS Vernon, on the staff of CINCFLEET and on the staff at HMS Vernon.  His final job in the Royal Navy was as OIC of DEODS (Defence Explosive Ordnance Disposal School) at Chattenden in Kent from which he was given a ceremonial send-off in a red-wing Land Rover in 1984.  If I can find the photos, I will post them.


Tony Lumbard (second right) leaving DEODS as OIC in 1984 with fellow

MCDOA member Tim Curd (standing centre background),

John Meakin, Perry Mason and Tug Wilson


Tony's daughter Sally sent me this more recent photo of Tony four years ago.


Tony Lumbard in 2014


I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Tony's wife Brenda and their family.


Tony llived in West Sussex.  The date of his funeral has yet to be decided but I will publish details when available.


From former FCPO(D) Ray Ramsay:


"Dear Rob,


I was saddened by the news that Tony has passed away.  I first met him whilst serving in the FEFCDT.  He took over from John Coggins as “Boss 2”.  


Tony was one of the “old school” worked hard and played hard.  A great character who will be missed by many.  


Unfortunately I am unable to attend his funeral, please pass on my condolences to his family.


Best Regards,





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