Latest News sub banner

 

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.


PLEASE NOTE THE REQUIREMENT BELOW FOR ALL MCDOA MEMBERS TO RE-APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP

AND CANCEL THEIR OWN EXISTING STANDING ORDERS. THIS CANNOT BE DONE BY ANYONE ELSE.

MCDOA MEMBERSHIP (XMT REBDOC, WO(MW)s & WO(D)s) IS ESSENTIAL TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL DINNER

'LATEST NEWS' ARTICLES FOLLOW THE ANNOUNCEMENT BELOW


IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

If you have not received an email about this, it is because of imperfections in our membership database which this initiative will address.

 

From Lt Cdr Alasdair Magill:

 

MCDOA MEMBERSHIP TRANSFORMATION HAS GONE LIVE

Dear Association Member,

I am pleased to inform you that the transition to an on-line membership and subscription service as outlined in my previous correspondence is now complete and the MCDOA Membership Mojo website is live.  The association is now inviting you to sign up with membership mojo at the following link:

https://membermojo.co.uk/mcdoa

Owing to the GDPR issues with our previous membership data, all existing association members are required to “join” the MCDOA through membership mojo.  Once your application is complete please ensure you cancel your previous Standing Order; we as the committee are unable to cancel it on your behalf.  

I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate how On-Line membership offers us a step change in our ability to function as an association.  Not only will this enable us to store your data in a GDPR-compliant way, but it will also allow us to create up-to-date mailing lists, improving our ability to communicate planned events and pass on information bulletins and all things MCDOA with ease.  This will include the purchase of tickets for and organisation of future MCDOA Annual Dinners, commencing from 2021.

If you have any questions concerning the above changes, please contact any member of the committee.

Yours Aye,

Signed electronically,

Alasdair Magill

Membership Secretary

MCDOA 

 

N.B. Please check whether you are one of the applicants who have been approved but have yet to complete the new arrangement for payment.

 


3 Mar 21 - Funeral of former CPO(D) Alan Broadhurst

 

Alan Broadhurst crossed the bar on 31 January (see entry for 1 Feb 21).  He had been ill for several years following a fall at his home in Cyprus.

 

Alan 'Jacko' Jackson has advised me that Alan's funeral will take place at 1515 on Friday 5 March at The Oaks Crematorium in Havant. Although It is unlikely that there will be room for uninvited attendees in the chapel owing to the limitation of 30 under the Covid restrictions, there should be room for others in the adjacent foyer or just outside.

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our deepest condolences to Alan's wife Angela and her family at this difficult time.

 


2 Mar 21 - Death of forrmer WO(D) Terry Settle MBE QGM BEM

 

It is my sad duty to announce that Terry Settle crossed the bar at home this morning with his family around him.

 

Terry Settle (left) with fellow ex-CD Dudley 'Wooly' Woolnough last March

 

Terry was awarded the BEM (British Empire Medal) in the 1980 Queen's Birthday Honours and the QGM (Queen's Gallantry Medal) in May 1985 "For his remarkable courage, dedication and professionalism in ordnance clearance operations in the Gulf of Suez in September 1984".  He was appointed an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 1987 New Year Honours.

 

Terry Settle and Prince Harry at Project Vernon's 'Falklands 35' Fundraising Dinner

at Trinity House on 19 July 2017.  That impish smile was unmistakable.

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Terry's family.

 

Please add your own experiences of Terry and any photos that may be useful to Telegraph naval obituarist, Capt Peter Hore RN, who is liaising with Terry's brother Bob.

 


20 Feb 21 - MCDOA Membership Applications

 

To date, 166 MCDOA membership applications have been approved via the new system but 21 applicants have yet to complete the payment process.  Please check you are not one of them via:

 

https://membermojo.co.uk/mcdoa

 


19 Feb 21 - Please support HMS BROCKLESBY's Charity Challenge

 

MCM2 Crew 8 has just taken over HMS BROCKLESBY in the Gulf and I have received this message from LS(D) Max Bumford:

 

 

"On 25th February, I and fellow members of HMS Brocklesby Crew 8 will be taking part in the arduous challenge of running 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.  In other words, running 48 miles in 2 days.

 

This challenge is inspired and attributed to former navy SEAL and ultra marathon runner David Goggins.  The idea being that you don't need to be a marathon runner to run 4 miles and if you can't run 4 miles, then you can walk 4 miles, meaning more people can take part, raising more money for charity and pushing people to achieve big things through a series of small efforts.  In the words of David Goggins:

 

"This is an opportunity to bring people together for the common goal of promoting physical and mental health as well as supporting many charitable causes"

 

This will be a true mental and physical test as each runner tests their fitness as well as dealing with the effects of sleep deprivation.  Of course this will all be for charity, raising money for Movember and also for the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC).  See our Just Giving page for more information. Any donations and even share of this post would be much appreciated to help raise money, spread awareness and get the word out there on our challenge.

 

Thank you,

 

Max"

 

Click here to donate via Just Giving:

 

MCM2 Crew 8's 4 x 4 x 48 Challenge Page

 


11 Feb 21 - Promotions to Lt Cdr

 

Congratulations to MCD officers Matt Cary (RN exchange in Australia), Tom Lewis (FDU1) and Lucy Molyneux-O'Callaghan (BRNC Dartmouth) on being selected for promotion to Lt Cdr. 

 

Matt Cary with family on HMS MIDDLETON's return to Portsmouth from the Gulf in August 2018

 

Coincidentally, I've had the pleasure of meeting Lucy on a couple of occasions.

 

Lucy Molyneux-O'Callaghan as Ops Officer of HMS Atherstone in May 2016

 

With Lucy Molyneux O'Callghan at a Ton Class Association reunion in October 2016

 

I hope all three rising stars will seriously consider joining our Association via https://membermojo.co.uk/mcdoa and reaping the benefits.

 


4 Feb 21 - A busy time for SDU1

 

Members of the Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit (SDU1) have certainly been kept busy during the past few days.

 

4 Feb - Dramatic moment anti-tank mine is detonated on Devon beach

 

3 Feb - More possible unexploded bombs found on South Hams beach days after anti-tank mine detonated

 


2 Feb 21 - Promotions to WO2

 

Hearty congratulations to the following personnel on their selection for promotion to Warrant Officer (Second Class):

 

CPO(MW) Andrew 'Nobby' Clark

CPO(MW) Si Cooke (Since left the RN)

CPO(MW) Dave Foggin

 

CPO(D) Marty Doherty

CPO(D) Garth Spence

 


LS&GC Awards

 

Congratulations to MCDO Lt Cdr Ross Balfour (still to join the Association, Ross) on being gazetted  for the award of the first clasp to his Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal and to PO(MW) B. M. Anderson, PO(D) B. W. Duncan, LS(D) L. J. P. Hill, LS(D) J. K. Lynch and LS(D) B. S. Morris on being gazetted for the award of the Naval Long Service & Good Conduct Medal.

 

 


1 Feb 21 - Death of former CPO(D) Alan Broadhurst

 

Troy Tempest, Secretary of the Association of RN First Class Divers (AORNFCD), has informed me that Alan Broadhurst crossed the bar on Sunday night.  He had been ill for several years following a fall at his home in Cyprus.

 

Alan Broadhurst with your humble webmaster shortly after his return to the UK in 2017

 

I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Alan's wife Angela, his son Martin and his daughter Tracey.

 


From ex-CD Peter Gallant

 

"I have just heard the news that Alan Broadhurst has passed away.  He had been in a nursing home for some time.

 

This photo shows Alan on the left dressed up with Pete 'Shorty' Barrett and me in the Portland CD team in 1962.

 

Alan Broadhurst, Peter 'Shorty' Barrett and Peter Gallant at Portland in 1962

 

Regards,

 

Peter Gallant"

 


From former CPO(D) Cris Ballinger BEM

 

"Hi Rob  

 

A real good photo of you and Alan, a lovely way to remember him.  

 

I have lost Angela's email address so if you do manage to see her please pass on my condolences, and of course my thoughts are with Angela and family at this time.  

 

I first met Alan when he joined the Reclaim, he had recently returned from Malta so had many stories to keep us entertained with.  He survived a traumatic accident while on board, but was very quickly back in the water and fit again.  We remained good friends even after I introduced him to rugby and told him he was a born prop.    

 

I did visit him at the home in Portsmouth after he deteriorated, and I have nothing but admiration for Angela for her devotion and care she showed, daily, on her visits to Alan.  I don't think she missed a day, unless the present day lock down has given her some respite.  

 

I hope this doesn't signal another awful year. 

 

Cheers Rob,

 

Cris"

 


From former FCPO(D) John Dadd BEM

 

"Sad, sad news of Alan's passing.  Although we never served in a team together our paths crossed many times as our ages and time in the branch coincided.  I first got to know Alan when, together, we cut our instructional teeth with the first baby divers courses, some learning curve but boy - did we have some fun!  

 

Alan remained a good pal over the subsequent years, a good man, with a great sense of humour, who was easy to like.  

 

The awful illness that struck all those years ago in Cyprus must have tested both him and his family to the limits ... all so unfair.  

 

My thoughts and prayers go to Angela and the family.  

 

Rest in Peace 'Deeps'.  

 

John"  

 


SDU1 deals with exposed anti-tank mines on Slapton Sands.

 

The Devon Live website contains these articles reporting two recent occasions when members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) disposed of anti-tank mines exposed on the beach at Slapton Sands.

 

31 Jan 2021 - Kids alert authorities to 'bomb' at Slapton Sands - the scene of a WWII tragedy

 

 

 

21 Jan 2021 - Three World War Two anti-tank mines found on Devon beach safely exploded

 

 


Big effort by HMS Chiddingfold

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting how MCM2 Crew 1, currently manning HMS Chiddingfold in the Gulf on Operation KIPION MCM, has raised over £3,000 for a Hampshire charity.  The Rainbow Centre helps children with cerebral palsy and adults with MS, Parkinson’s and those recovering from strokes.

 

 


31 Jan 21 - EOD call-out for SDU1

 

The Plymouth Live website contains this article reporting yesterday's call-out for members of Plymouth-based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1) to deal with a suspected hand grenade.  The item turned out to be something else.

 

SDU1 is part of Southern Diving Group (SDG) commanded by MCDOA Membership Secretary Al Magill.

 

Lt Cdr Alasdair Magill RN - CO SDG
(RN website photo)

 


30 Jan 21 - NDG deals with unexploded ordnance

 

The Irvine Times website contains this article reporting Thursday's disposal of suspected military ordnance on the beach at Irvine by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG).

 


29 Jan 21 - RN to receive "world class" autonomous minesweepers

 

The Royal Navy website has published this article announcing that a contract of around £25m has been awarded to Atlas Elektronik UK to supply three 'SWEEP' autonomous minesweeping systems.  The article features MCDOA member Mark Atkinson.

 

 

 

These systems will complement the three autonomous maritime mine countermeasures (MMCM) minehunting systems orderered through a joint production contract with France worth £184m as reported in this article on the Royal Navy website on 26 November 2020.  Each set of equipment comprises a portable operation centre, an autonomous surface vessel, towed sonar and a mine neutralisation system.

 

 


28 Jan 21 - RN Diving Heritage: Former WO(D) Peter Still

 

Close astern of his previous opus about former CPO(D) Mike O'Meara and the 'Salvage of the Century' (see entry for 24 Jan 21), CD branch legend Ginge Fullen has kindly sent me the latest in his series of 'Chronicles of a Clearance Diver'.  Titled 'The Atmospheric Divers', it features former WO(D) Peter Still and is subtitled 'Still Waters Run Deep' (Geddit?).  Among his many achievements, Peter was the Coxswain of the Ton class minehunter HMS BRONINGTON when the Prince of Wales was in Command and HRH Prince Charles has been gracious enough to write the foreword.

 

 

 

Like Ginge's other books in the series, The Atmospheric Divers is available from him direct or via the RNCDA website.

 


27 Jan 21 - Death of Dr Sidney Alford OBE - A sad loss to EOD

 

I was so sorry to hear the news that Sidney had crossed the bar, and so soon after his US Navy accolade. They don’t make them like him anymore; not only brilliant but a warm, eccentric character, too, with an acerbic wit.  He will be sorely missed.

 

Sincere condolences to Sidney's family, close friends and colleagues.  RIP.

 

 

Only the day before his death, Sidney was presented with a US Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, including a medal, by Lt Stephen Honan USN on behalf of the Joint EOD community.  With the current restrictions due to Covid-19 the presentation ceremony was held at the Alford Group's office in Trowbridge with 15 generals and admirals joining in via video conference, as well as some of Sidney's old friends.

 

 


26 Jan 21 - Advance Australia Fair

 

Happy Australia Day to all our mates down under.

 

1984 - Australia Day in Vernon Club at HMS VERNON

Back: Rankin RN (later RAN), Burroughs RAN, Kennedy RAN, Unknown, Sewell RAN,

Day RAN, Davey RAN (later RN).

Front: Turner RN (later RNZN), Hoole RN, Davies RN, Griffith RAN)

 

Congratulations to the MCDO and two CDs in the 2021 Australia Day Honours List:

 

CONSPICUOUS SERVICE MEDAL (CSM)

 

 

LSCD Steven Palu was awarded a Conspicuous Service Medal in the 2021 Australia Day Honours and Awards list, for meritorious devotion to duty during the operation to recover a United States Marine Corp MV-22 Osprey aircraft that crashed off the coast of Queensland in August 2017 with the loss of three United States Marines.  Although Leading Seaman Palu suffered from the debilitating effects of the challenging underwater environment and malfunctioning equipment, he demonstrated courage, determination and dedication to duty by completing the task.  Leading Seaman Palu’s refusal to release the body of a Marine guaranteed its return to the grieving family.

 

MEMBER (AM) IN THE MILITARY DIVISION

 

 

Rear Admiral Robert William Plath RAN - For exceptional service to the Royal Australian Navy in senior command and representational positions.

 

MEDAL (OAM) IN THE MILITARY DIVISION

 

 

Warrant Officer Matthew Ian Hurley - For meritorious service in the fields of Clearance Diving and leadership as a Warrant Officer in the Royal Australian Navy.

 

The complete list is available here:

 

Australia Day 2021 Honours List

 


25 Jan 21 - MCM1 Crew 7 takes over HMS Shoreham from Crew 5

 

The Royal Navy website contains this article announcing that MCM1 Crew 7 is taking over HMS Shoreham from MCM1 Crew 5 on Operation KIPION in the Gulf.  Ship's companies have started rotating every four months instead of the previous six to eight.

 

MCM1 Crew 5 on board HMS Shoreham 

(RN website image)

 

From the top: HMS Montrose, HMS Penzance, HMS Shoreham and HMS Brocklesby

(RN website image)

 


24 Jan 21 - RN Diving Heritage: Salvage diver's biography

 

As ever, I am grateful to Clearance Diving branch legend Eamon 'Ginge' Fullen for a copy of the latest in his series of 'Chronicles of a Clearance Diver'.  This one, subtitled 'Salvage of the Century', focuses on the life and career of ex-CD Mike O'Meara who was involved in the salvage of gold from the wartime wreck of the cruiser HMS Edinburgh in 1981.  It also details all the major salvage jobs that the CD branch has undertaken since the first course in 1949 including submarines, ships, aeroplanes and helicopters, murder weapons, secret documents, diamond rings and even a bag of hands!  It is thoroughly recommended. 

 

 

 

Like Ginge's other publications, this book can be purchased via the RNCDA website.

 


23 Jan 21 - SNMCMG1 off Portsmouth

 

I am grateful to Amy Savage for these long-range photos of the Estonian minehunter ENS UGANDI, formerly HMS BRIDPORT, among other units of Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) transiting the Solent off Portsmouth this morning.

 

ENS UGANDI (formerly HMS BRIDPORT) transiting the Solent this morning

 

BNS LOBELIA transiting the Solent this morning

 

FGS DATTELN transiting the Solent this morning

 


20 Jan 21 - Call-out for NDG

 

The Aberdeen Press & Journal contains this article reporting a call-out for Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) to deal with suspected explosive ordnance on the Isle of Lewis.

 


19 Jan 21 - Contract placed for autonomous MCM systems

 

The Ministry of Defence website contains this article reporting the award of a contract to Atlas Elektronik UK for the production of three autonomous minesweeping systems.

 

The Royal Navy's autonomous mine sweeping system (SWEEP) being trialed

 


17 Jan 21 - SDU2 deals with ordnance on IOW

 

The Isle of Wight County Press website has published this article reporting an EOD task in Bembridge on the IOW performed by members of Portsmouth-based Southern Diving Unit 2 (SDU2).

 

 


15 Jan 21 - Latest tweets  

 

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

 

NATO Maritime Command

 

15 Jan 2021 - Our Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) has a new Command.  Thank you Lithuanian Armed Forces for all the hard work, achievements, dedication & resilience leading the group in the second half of 2020 and welcome, the new Command under the Royal Netherlands Navy.

 

 

HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 6)

 

4 Jan 2021 - Ever had that feeling you're being followed?  Off out with little sis HMS Chiddingfold.

 

 

HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 1)

 

14 Jan 2021 - No sailor has one single job onboard CHID.  Meet AB(D) Bill Bailey our senior AB Diver onboard; here he is as part of the guns crew.  Born in Manchester, made in the Royal Navy.

 

12 Jan 2021 - Meet ET (ME) Buck, about to celebrate his fourth Navy Birthday.  Having three OP KIPIONs under his belt he has recently qualified for LET, making his daughter Lily proud.  Born in Hull, made in the Royal Navy.

 

5 Jan 2021 - *Update* The Ships company have currently covered 841 km of which 122 km has been swam (4882 lengths), 378 km cycled, 298 km has been run and 43 km has been rowed!  Keep donating and keep following our challenge!

 

 

2 Jan 2021 - In the first week of January, every member of the ship’s company will complete 37 km in 7 days.  This is for a charity close to our hearts, Rainbow Charity.  Please click the link to our JustGiving page for more information:

 

 https://justgiving.com/fundraising/c37

 

HMS Penzance (MCM1 Crew 3)

 

12 Jan 2021 - Congratulations to ET(ME) Shepherd for earning December's Sailor of the Month prize.  The engineers have worked incredibly hard during a recent maintenance period and ET(ME) Shepherd's efforts were particularly noteworthy.  BZ!

 

 

HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 5)

 

12 Jan 2021 - Up close and personal with HMS Brocklesby!  Shoreham and other MCMs welcomed UKMCC Bahrain and his team for a visit.  The closer we work together as a team, the better we are at promoting regional stability and protecting civilian shipping in the region.

 

 


13 Jan 21 - BRNC Dartmouth 'Ex-Lower Deck' Division to be named after Brian Dutton

 

I am delighted to announce that the Division for the new WOCP (Warrant Officers' Commissioning Programme) at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth is being named after the late MCDOA member Lt Cdr Brian Dutton DSO QGM RN who crossed the bar on 23 April 2018 (see entry for 25 May 18 in News Archive 62).

 

Brian & his late wife Audrey with grandson at an MCDOA Barbecue on Horsea Island in July 2005

 


Brian Dutton with Prince Harry at Project Vernon 'Falklands 35' fundraising dinner

at Trinity House in July 2017

 

I am particularly grateful to BRNC Staff Officer Lt Cdr Adam Macdonald RN for sparking this initiative and to MCDOA member John 'YoYo' Ravenhall for assisting him with his task while recently undergoing the WOCP himself.  Adam's proposal was approved by MCDOA President Roger Readwin, the Captain of BRNC.

 

Brian's sons Gary, Bernard and Frank (all ex-RN) have offered to loan BRNC their father's commission, citations, sword and medals for display. 

 

Brian Dutton's sword and medals

 

Download and read this PDF file for full details including Brian's biography:

 

BRNC Temporary Training Memorandum - Warrant Officers' Commissioning Programme Divisional Name

 


From Brian's son Frank:

 

"Bernard, Gary and I [all ex-RN] plus the rest of the family are so proud this has happened.  It is a very unique distinction for a 'junior' officer to be recongnized in this way.  It also offers recognition to the MCD Branch, a branch that Dad was so proud to serve in."

 


From Brian's son Gary:

 

"As a family we are honoured that our father is being remembered in this way.  The news has gone out across the globe to family in Australia, Canada and Brazil.  So chuffed and in my brother Frank's words 'Stoked'.

 

Stay safe all."

 


11 Jan 21 - Second MCM Squadron Change of Command

 

Fair winds and following seas to MCDOA members Simon Cox and Rich Talbot who has superseded him as MCM2 (Commander of the Portsmouth-based Second MCM Squadron).

 

 

Rich Talbot (left) and Simon Cox beside No. 2 Basin in Portsmouth Naval Base

 

Simon tells me he is now working "...at MOD as the sole Navy guy in the Defence Strat-Pol Team.  The title is DSP SO1 Strategy Maritime.  Currently focused on Integrated Review business." 

 


5 Jan 21 - Latest LS&GC Awards

 

Congratulations to LS(MW) M. N. Jacobs and LS(MW) D. W. Roberts on being gazetted for the award of the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.

 


1 Jan 21 - MBE for 'Central' Heaton

 

Lt Cdr Séan 'Central' Heaton MBE beside Horsea Lake

 

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating Lt Cdr Séan Heaton aka 'Central' on his well-deserved appointment as an MBE (Military Division) in the 2021 New Year Honours as announced on the Royal Navy website:

 

 SAILORS AND ROYAL MARINES RECOGNISED IN NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST

 

One of the navy’s most experienced bomb disposal experts receives an MBE for his inspirational leadership and operational achievements.

 

Under Lieutenant Commander Sean ‘Central’ Heaton’s leadership, specialist divers from Portsmouth and Plymouth-based bomb disposal units rendered safe or disposed of nearly 16,000 items of conventional ordnance (sea mines, torpedoes, hand grenades, mortars and bombs dropped by aircraft), as well as successfully dealing with 97 present-day Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).

 

Among the most high-profile tasks during his two-and-a-half year spell in charge of the Southern Diving Group was a 500lb Luftwaffe bomb found in February 2018 on the bottom of London’s King George V Docks – next to London City Airport.

 

His citation said:

 

“He relentlessly delivered very-high-tempo operations, above and beyond that expected of his rank and his peers, with an admirable dedication to his people. His devotion, commitment and professional ability has been extraordinary, and he most strongly deserves official recognition.”

 

Originally from Wigan and with more than 30 years’ service in the Royal Navy under his belt, Lieutenant Commander Heaton said he was honoured to have been singled out. He added: “This decoration is as much a recognition of the brave, dedicated and immensely professional men and women that were under my command during my time in Southern Diving Group.”

 


 

 

Back to top

 

News Archives

 

Home