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.

28 Dec 18 - New Year Honours


Congratulations to MCDOA member Jason Poole on being gazetted on his appointment as an OBE and to PO(D) Darren 'Daz' Carvell on being gazetted on his appointment as an MBE in the 2019 New Year Honours published today.  Further details are available in this article on the Royal Navy website.



Left: Capt Jason Poole OBE RN

Right: PO(D) Darren 'Daz' Carvell MBE


Jason Poole and Daz Carvell appear in this website in several places.  Here is a clean-shaven Daz as a LS(D) with PO(MW) (now WO1(MW)) Steve 'Stirling' Moss at a social gathering in Fareham in June 2010.  Daz was selected for promotion to CPO(D) in October this year (See entry for 1 Oct 18).



Congratulations as well to Vice Admiral Sir Clive Johnstone, Guest of Honour at our annual dinner in 2014, on being gazetted on his appointment as a KBE (Ordinary Knight Commander of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire).


The full Military list is available here:


The Military Division of the New Year Honours 2019


24 Dec 18 - Death of Lt Cdr the Revd Alan Hartley Sagar RNVR/RCN


I regret to report the death yesterday of Alan Sagar in Canada.  He was 93.



Alan was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 20 May 1925.  He moved to Derby during his childhood and left school at the age of 14 to work in a Fifty Shillings Tailors' store.  On reaching the age of 18 in May 1943, he joined the RNVR (Royal Naval Reserve) as a signalman but was selected for officer training at HMS King Alfred in Brighton.  He was commissioned as a Temporary Acting Sub Lt on 17 September 1943, serving in the aircraft carrier HMS Furious and Landing Ship (Tank) 3505.  After the war, he underwent a period of further education in theology at King's College, London before re-joining the RNVR and serving in the Halcyon class fleet minesweeper HMS Gossamer.


Alan qualified as a CDO at HMS Vernon in 1954 with 'Uncle Bill' Filer GM MBE, Peter Messervy MBE GM and Phil White (later Balink-White) MBE.  While serving at HMS Vernon as a Lt RNVR, he was Editor of Vol 3 No 1 of the RN Diving Magazine.  The following year, he emigrated to Canada with his then wife Jane and four children.  He transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy and is credited with having been instrumental in setting up the Canadian clearance diver branch.  In the Spring of 1967, the RN Diving Magazine re-printed an article titled 'Webbed Feet for Wet Work' which Alan had originally penned for the Canadian Navy Diving Magazine.



Alan retired from the RCN at HMCS Granby in 1970 as the Commanding Officer of FDU(A), the CD team resposible for the Atlantic coast.  He was awarded a commendation by the Maritime Commander for his role in salvaging a USAF aircraft downed in in Stephanville, Newfoundland and another by the Chief of Defence Staff for the retrieval of fishermen's bodies. 



On retirement, Alan owned and directed Merganser Diving Services, utilising his knowledge of underwater explosives, camera work and exploration.  In October 1971, he ventured to the bottom of the mystery treasure shaft, Borehole 10X, on Oak Island, Nova Scotia for a TV programme.  He gained access to the cavity at 235 feet.  His dive involved being lowered into the 27 inch pipe which, at that time, ran all the way from the surface down into the bedrock.  The first 90 feet was dry shaft and above water.  He didn't use traditional diving gear because the narrow space wouldn't accommodate a diver with large tanks.  Instead, he hugged a small bottle of compressed air to his chest as they lowered him into the chamber, in order to reduce the risk of snagging.


Alan was later ordained and ministered in the Fort Sackville region of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.  I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to his widow Margaret and their family.


Postscript: A fuller biography of Alan Sagar has been published here:


Obituary of Alan Sagar


Aged 93, of Terence Bay, Alan Sagar died peacefully at Camp Hill Veterans Memorial Hospital, Halifax on Sunday, December 23, 2018 with family and priest at his bedside.  Alan was born in Burnley, Lancashire, England on May 20, 1925, the son of John and Mary Maude (Sharples) Sagar.  Besides his parents, he was predeceased by his wife Jane (Goss), mother of his children, and second wife, Elizabeth Bissett.  He is survived and mourned by his wife of 28 years the Reverend Margaret Sagar (nee Haines, formerly Young), his sister Alice (Clifford) Elms in England, sons Simon of Halifax, NS, Robie (Annabelle Singleton) of Port Medway, NS, daughters Lucy of Victoria BC. and Jennifer (Hendrik de Pagter) of Victoria BC, stepdaughter Eleanor Young of Halifax, NS, stepson Julian (Sharon) Young of Lucasville, NS, grandchildren: Nicholas Sagar, James Mosher, Brennan Sagar, Dylan Sagar, Leah Sagar, Sarah Melanson, great grandson Fynn Sagar, step grandchildren Austin Fraser and Maddie Young.


Alan had a remarkably rich life with diverse interests and experiences.  The formative influences of his childhood and youth, which continued throughout his life, were scouting, the church and his artistic talent.  In 1943, he joined the Royal Navy and was selected for officer training.  In late 1945-1946 he was serving on a Landing Ship Tank and while docked in the Inland Sea of Japan, he went to “see Hiroshima” as a “lark”.  Alan never forgot that horrific devastation.  Following his RN service, Alan attended King’s College, University of London, to study Theology with a view to ordination.  He was a keen athlete and earned his university colours for boxing.


In 1952 he returned to the RN and in 1954 trained as a clearance diver in mine disposal.  This qualification brought him to Canada in 1955 to be an instructor to the newly formed Fleet Diving Unit of the Royal Canadian Navy, where he finished his naval career in 1970 as Commanding Officer of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic).  His service made a lasting impression on all who worked with him and served under him.  He continues to be highly regarded as an officer and a role model.  Alan inaugurated Dippers Digest as a medium of communication and community building for the divers. The paper often featured his witty cartoons and sketches.  After more than sixty years, Dippers Digest continues as an online publication to keep former and current divers in touch.  For his service in body recovery missions, Alan was awarded Commendations by Maritime Commander and Chief of the Defense Staff. Just prior to his death, Alan received the commendation of the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs for service to veterans through the Canadian Naval Divers Association and for keeping the sacrifices of armed forces before the public through his leadership in Scouting and his church ministry.



Following retirement Alan formed Merganser Diving Services. In 1971, he was the first diver to venture to the bottom of treasure shaft 10X on Oak Island prominently featured in The Curse of Oak Island TV series, an exceedingly dangerous mission.  During this period of his life, his business ventures included being a scuba instructor with his scuba shop, and harvesting Irish Moss.  In addition, he worked as a qualified real estate agent. 


Ordained Deacon in 1957 and Priest in 1958, in the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia, Alan served the parish of Clementsport in a brief intermission in his naval career before returning to FDU(A) to continue as a diving officer.  He assisted in parishes while living in Waverley and Dartmouth and later returned to full time ministry.  He served parishes of Musquodoboit Harbour, All Saints in Springhill, Mulgrave and Guysborough, in Labrador, and Stilesville United Church in NB.  He served as a Primary Reserve Chaplain C.A.F. in Germany and the Western Army.  He supported his wife, Margaret, in her ministry in Shediac, Truro and Bermuda. 


Alan’s association with scouting continued for many decades from his childhood including on board ship during the war, and in various leadership positions such as District Commissioner while living in Dartmouth, where a field was named “Sagar’s Commons” in his honour.  He was a member of St Andrew’s United Church, (Truro, NS) Scout Committee from 1994 until 2005. 


An accomplished artist in a variety of media, Alan held solo art shows and his work has been purchased, given to, and treasured by many.  His cartoons have amused naval personnel and church congregations.  He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and sailing.  He loved dogs and old Cadillacs, and was a ventriloquist, actor, singer, clown minister, children’s entertainer, face painter, and traveller.  In Terence Bay, he loved volunteering at the local school where the children read to him.  He has brought laughter and smiles to many with his wry sense of humour and wit.  He was much loved by family and friends.



Since 2006 Alan made his permanent home in Terence Bay on land he purchased in 1968.  In 2016 he and Margaret joined the successful campaign advocating for allied veterans to be eligible for admission to Camp Hill Hospital.  There he spent several periods of respite care before admission in September, 2018.  The compassionate attention he received has been phenomenal and his family expresses their deep gratitude to the team on Six West.  They also appreciate the respectful assistance of the Halifax staff of Veterans Affairs Canada over several years and are most grateful to all whose care enabled Alan to remain in his home as long as he did as his health declined with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s symptoms: Northwood Homecare, Northwood Adult Day Bayer’s Centre, the Alzheimer’s Society and Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s Artful Afternoon, Home Instead, Classic Physiotherapy in Hatchet Lake, John Speagle, Heather Slaunwhite and Dr. Joyce Coles.


Alan’s brain was donated for medical research and cremation has taken place.  Visitation will be held on Friday, January 4th, 2019 at St Paul’s Anglican Church, Sandy Cove Road, Terence Bay from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  His long life will be celebrated at a service on Saturday, January 5th, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at St Matthew’s United Church, Barrington Street, Halifax, where the Right Reverend Sue Moxley will be celebrant for the Anglican Funeral Liturgy.  A reception will follow.  His ashes will be committed to the sea at a later date.  Memorial donations may be made to a charity of your choice.  Family flowers only.


20 Dec 18 - HMS Chiddingfold returns to the water


HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 4) was lowered back into the water this week following "the most extensive work ever carried out on the plastic hull of a Hunt Class mine countermeasure vessel" during her refit in the Ship Hall at Portsmouth Naval Base.  All images are from the Royal Navy.






Chiddingfold returned to Portsmouth from a three-year deployment in the Gulf on Operation KIPION in September last year (see entry for 1 Sep 17 in News Archive 59).


19 Dec 18 - MCDOA website book list updated


The website's Book List has been updated with the addition of several volumes of possible interest to the minewarfare & diving community.


17 Dec 18 - NDG detonates ordnance at Irvine


The BBC website contains this article reporting Saturday's disposal of suspected ordnance by members of Faslane-based Northern Diving Group (NDG) on the beach halfway between Irvine and Barassie south-west of Glasgow.



Ardrossan Coastguard images



Other recent incidents involving Royal Navy EOD teams:


16 Dec 2018: Studland Beach cordoned off after canister found on the sand


30 Nov 2018: Bomb scare in Marazion sparked by barbecue lid


29 Nov 2018: Unexploded ordnance discovered at Wembury


21 Nov 2018: Man questioned over explosives


21 Nov 2018: Live updates as police and bomb disposal called to 'ongoing incident' on Exeter street


20 Nov 2018: Anti-tank rocket detonated on Exmouth beach  



16 Dec 18 - Salvage of HNoMS Helge Ingstad


I am grateful to Capt Geir Gade RNoN for these images of Norwegian clearance divers helping to salvage items from the wreck of the Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad.  The frigate collided with the Maltese tanker Sola TS on 8 November in a fjord near Bergen at the end of Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE.  She was run aground and beached but sank soon afterwards.







This video shows Norwegian Navy divers removing missiles from the wreck and inspecting the damage:




Geir was a member of the 1981 MCD Officers' course at HMS Vernon and we have remained in touch ever since.



In March 2012, Geir attended the launch of the Ton Class Association's 25th anniversary book 'Last of the Wooden Walls' in the Princess Royal Gallery of the RN Museum Library in Portsmouth Naval Base.  He was accompanied by volunteer crew members of the very active minesweeper museum ship HNoMS Alta (see entry for 10 Mar 12 in News Archive 37).




15 Dec 18 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: New book now printed and available to order


'Nightraiders', the second volume of the trilogy that started with 'Home Waters', is now available to order from the American publisher, Heritage Books, at a cost of $80 ($40 plus $40 p&p to the UK).  This equates to £63.82 at the current exchange rate. 


Alternatively, I am selling signed copies for £30 (including £4 UK p&p) with £10 going towards Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS VERNON which previously occupied the site.  A consignment is on its way to me from the USA so watch this space. 


Nightraiders: U.S. Navy, Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Royal Netherlands Navy Mine Forces Battling the Japanese in the Pacific in World War II. Cdr. David D. Bruhn, USN (Retired) and Lt. Cdr. Rob Hoole, RN (Retired).


As war with Japan was imminent, the British laid minefields off Hong Kong and Singapore; the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies; and the Australians off New Zealand and Australia, in an attempt to prevent enemy invasion.  Ships hastily converted to this task were referred to as “night raiders.”  Duty aboard a “floating ammunition dump” was hazardous enough; missions carried out under the cloak of darkness increased the odds of survival in enemy waters. 


As MacArthur, Halsey, and Spruance’s forces advanced toward Japan, minesweepers worked with “night raiders”—clearing waters off landing beaches, while minelayers strove to deny the enemy freedom of the sea.  Australian seaplanes (“Black Cats”) flew long, perilous night-missions to mine Japanese harbors, and British submarines and planes joined in the attack on shipping.  Late in the war, USAAF bombers ringed the Japanese home islands with thousands of mines. 


When hostilities ended, war-weary “sweep sailors” remained in Asian waters—ridding the sea of “shipkillers.”  The little-known efforts of these valiant men are illuminated in this rare look into history.  One hundred and forty-four photographs, maps, and diagrams; appendices; and an index to full-names, places and subjects add value to this work.


2018, 6x9, paper, index, 416 pp.  B5843 - $40.00



'Home Waters', the first volume of the trilogy launched last year, contains a foreword by MCDOA past-President Rear Admiral Paddy McAlpine CBE and a section describing the history of HMS VERNON.  Signed copies are still available at the same price (£30 including £4 UK p&p) with £10 going towards Project Vernon.  Contact me for details.


Home Waters: Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and U.S. Navy Mine Forces Battling U-Boats in World War I - David Bruhn and Rob Hoole.


In WWI under a crippling naval blockade of its North Sea ports which ultimately resulted in the starvation of thousands of its citizens and as land warfare in Europe drags on, Germany endeavours to counter-blockade Britain via U-boat attacks on shipping and by mining waters round the British Isles. 


Hundreds of fishing vessels from every port and harbour in Britain are pressed into minesweeping duties and minelayers sow fields to restrict and destroy German vessels.  Their efforts allow the powerful Royal Navy to hold the German Navy in port — except for occasional skirmishes, including the Battle of Jutland. American destroyers hunt U-boats in British waters, while minelayers create a barrier between the Orkney Islands and Norway, to try to deny the enemy entry into the Atlantic. 


Desperate, Germany mounts a U-boat offensive off North America in the summer 1918, to induce the U.S. to bring her destroyers home.  Although nearly one hundred vessels are sunk, this action fails.  Germany surrenders in late autumn 1918 and allied vessels are left with the deadly task of removing thousands of mines laid in the war.


One hundred and fifty photographs, maps, and diagrams; appendices; and an index to full-names, places and subjects add value to this work.


2018, 6x9, paper, index, 428 pp.


101-B5798 ISBN: 0788457985



The third volume of the trilogy, titled 'Enemy Waters', will deal with minewarfare (minelaying, minesweeping and naval bomb & mine disposal at sea and on land) against Germany and Italy during the Second World War.  It is due to be released next year.


14 Dec 18 - HMS Shoreham helps disabled children and adults in Bahrain


The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting how Sailors from HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3) and personnel from the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) helped children and adults with learning disabilities create a giant mural.


13 Dec 18 - Gentlemen Who Lunch


I joined a select few fellow members of the Ton Class Association (TCA) for a convivial Christmas lunch at the Royal Maritime Club today.  Sadly, fellow MCDOA member Martyn Holloway didn't attend because he didn't want to risk exposure to the current lurgy affecting his rugby refereeing and Doug Barlow, the third member of our MCDOA 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio, had to bail out at the last moment because he had succumbed to the current lurgy.  It was good to see MCDOA member Bob Lusty there, though.





12 Dec 18 - Recent tweets


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


Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force


6 Dec 2018 - On operation KIPION in the Gulf. HMS Ledbury, HMS Blyth & RFA Cardigan Bay are taking part in the bilateral mine counter measures exercise MCMX with the US Navy. Great teamwork and excellent interoperability working in the dock of the 'Bay'.


HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2)


13 Dec 2018 - Today we had the pleasure of introducing SEAC Defence [Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chiefs of Staff Committee]  to the Ship’s Company and the Mine Warfare and Diving capabilities of the Royal Navy.


HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 5)


12 Dec 2018 - The whole team.  HMS Blyth working together to recover a gigantic drill mine from the seabed.



12 Dec 2018 - Transiting in company with our USN brethren.  Different ships, same job.


11 Dec 2018 - Conducting mutual force protection exercises will our USN counterparts.


HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3)


13 Dec 2018 - Crew 8 is here and it’s time to hand over the Mighty BROC.  Crew 3 thanks you all for all your support.  Don’t forget to follow us on board HMS Middleton in 2019.



7 Dec 2018 - Cdre Dainton CBE visited to thank Crew 3 for our hard work throughout our deployment.  Congratulations to AB(D)s Todd & Robertson, AB(MW)s Emery, Ferris & Griffiths on their promotion to AB1.  AB(D) Teal was nominated as our Sailor of the Month.



HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 4)


6 Dec 2018 - Many thanks to BAES Maritime for sharing this video of HMS Chiddingfold coming out of the water for her maintenance package earlier this year.  It won't be long before we see her going back into the water!!!


28 Nov 2018 - Today we say goodbye to Lt Cdr A Pimm RN and welcome Lt Cdr A Riddett RN as Commanding Officer of HMS CHIDDINGFOLD and MCM2 Crew 4 - a big day in the Ship's programme as we look forward to the upcoming events and adventures!


HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3)


11 Dec 2018 - #2: The Adventure.  The excitement of what's to come.  Busy & exciting year sailing through four major choke points delivering Maritime Security Operations for the Nation.


10 Dec 2018 - #3: The Sports!  Making the most of our downtime.



9 Dec 2018 - #4:The Ops.  Making a difference.  It's why you join.


9 Dec 2018 - #5: The Challenges.  Overcoming personal and professional challenges.


7 Dec 2018 - #6: The Gunnery Training.


6 Dec 2018 - #7: The Wildlife.  Unique sights at sea.


6 Dec 2018 - Just 45 secs of HMS Shoreham and HMS Ledbury (M30) looking good at sunset (Video may have been sped up a little!).


11 Dec 18 - Minehunters achieve more firsts for RAN


The Royal Australian Navy's Navy Daily website has published this article and this article containing the following passages:


"HMA Ships Gascoyne and Huon have notched up a number of achievements during the ships' north east Asian deployment - first mine located by sonar and by divers during an exercise conducted with the Republic of Korea Navy; HMAS Gascoyne was the first Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Minehunter to visit Kure Naval Base in Japan; and, along with sister ship HMAS Huon, the first RAN Mine Warfare vessels to sail over 4000 miles north of Australia.  


During the Tri-lateral Mine Warfare Exercise (MIWEX) with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the United States Navy (USN), Gascoyne and Huon achieved another milestone while secured alongside JMSDF Ship Bungo in the waters off the south coast of Japan. During the ‘rafting up’ evolution, Gascoyne conducted replenishment by taking onboard fresh water, becoming the first RAN vessel and Australian Minehunter to replenish with Bungo..."


HMAS Gascoyne (85) and HMAS Huon (82) rafted up on JMSDF Bungo

during Exercise HYUGA NADA 18 off the coast of Southern Japan

(Navy Daily photo)


JMSDF units involved in MIWEX included Mine Warfare Force (MWF), Commander, Mine Division (CMD) 1, CMD42, CMD43, the Uraga-class mine sweeper tenders JS Bungo (MST-464) and JS Uraga (MST-463)‎, one ocean minesweeper (MSO), five coastal minesweepers (MSC) and three mine countermeasures helicopters (MCH) 101.  RAN units included HMAS Huon (M 82) and HMAS Gascoyne (M 85).  US units included USS Chief (MCM 14), Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit Five Platoon 501, Helicopter Mine Countermeasure Squadron (HM) 14 and the staff from Mine Countermeasures Squadron 7.


Postscript: Former CPO(MW) Bob Mitchell has reminded me that ex-RN MCDO Alan 'Dolly' Parton, now a Lt Cdr in the RAN, was CO of HMAS Gascoyne and is the current CO of HMAS Huon.  Here is his biography: 


Lt Cdr Alan 'Dolly' Parton RAN


Lieutenant Commander Alan Parton is from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and was born in 1961.  He left school in 1977 and joined the Royal Navy, aged 16 years and 9 days, as a Junior Marine Engineer Mechanic.  After basic training and trade school Alan served on several ships including HMS Amazon, HMS Peterel, HMS Herald and HMS Egeria before transferring category to Clearance Diver in 1986.  Postings to HMS Bronington, HMS Nurton and HMS Chiddingfold followed along with shore postings to several Clearance Diving teams including Fleet Diving Unit 2, the worldwide operations team.


In early 1997 Alan was successful in selection for transfer to Special Duties Naval Officer and attended Britannia Royal Naval College that same year graduating in December as a Sub Lieutenant.  Sea postings to HMS Orkney and HMS Invincible saw Alan gain his Bridge Watchkeeping Certificate before undertaking specialist Mine Warfare Officer training at HMS Dryad and subsequent appointment as Operations Officer on HMS Bridport and as Executive Officer on HMS Bangor with an additional operational relief posting as Executive Officer to HMS Penzance.


In 2007 Alan left the Royal Navy and joined the Royal Australian Navy where he has served as Executive Officer HMAS Gascoyne and, after a posting ashore with a brief operational relief posting to HMAS Diamantina, he returned to serve as Commanding Officer of HMAS Gascoyne where again serving an operational relief posting to HMAS Diamantina as temporary Commanding Officer. 


Post HMAS Gascoyne, Alan served ashore as Superintendent of Diving, located within the MCDGRP [Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Group], before his selection for command of HMAS Huon in January 2018.


Alan has served in several theatres of operation both at sea, conducting WWI and WWII mine disposal and action in the Second Gulf war; and ashore, most notably a NATO secondment to Kabul, Afghanistan.  


7 Dec 18 - Latest LS&GC awards


Congratulations to PO(MW) J. E. N. Bowes on being gazetted for the award of the Naval Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.


6 Dec 18 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: HMS Frolic and Haydn Bartlett



I am grateful to Alan Bartlett for this communication:


"Dear Rob,


I enclose a memory stick with all the HMS Frolic photos on it.  My father Haydn W Bartlett (service number PJX 427642) served in the Catherine class (BAMS) minesweeper HMS Frolic (J406) from the time that the US dockyard handed her over to the Royal Navy in 1944 until 1946. 


He was transported to America to New York, where he stayed at HMS Asbury and Saker and also HMS Thane, which after looking on the Internet appear to be shore stations.  Then he travelled across Canada to Seattle to where the Frolic was anchored in Sinclair Inlet at Puget Sound in Washington.  He then sailed down the West Coast of America to the Panama Canal and then on to the West Indies, from there back to the UK. 


I will donate the original photos to your archive in the near future as I'm sure Dad would have appreciated that.  I would like to deliver them in person as I'm sure you will have questions and I hope you can help me find out more about the Frolic.  I know things such as the Frolic was based in Harwich with the 42nd Minesweeping Flotilla and the she suffered damage by a near miss from an exploding mine and went to Flushing harbour with the Florizel for repairs and refit.  But things such as how many mines did the Frolic clear?  What was the damage done to her in the near miss with a mine?


I think you will find the photos really fascinating. I would like to be acknowledged for reproductions of any of the photos please.


 Best wishes,


Alan Bartlett"


This is a selection of Alan's images with grateful acknowledgement:


Haydn Bartlett (Bottom row, 4th left) and his course at HMS Collingwood



Haydn Bartlett (right) as a Gunnery branch Armourer


Haydn Bartlett


HMS Frolic




Above and below: HMS Frolic (outboard) and HMS Florizel (inboard) alongside

in newly liberated Flushing (Vlissingen) in the Netherlands









The newly liberated Ostend in Belgium




Burial detail


Haydn Bartlett in his 80s


5 Dec 18 - Recent tweets


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


Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force


29 Nov 18 - Lt Cdr Alex Coleman was recently presented with a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal by Cdre Steve Dainton, following 15 years service in the Royal Navy and many years as a Minewarfare specialist.




HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2)


5 Dec 2018 - N2 is hard at work planning his first ever pilotage.  Letting our trainees get hands on experience is how we build their capacity and our ability to fight and win.


4 Dec 2018 - Live in the Midlands and want to turn your spare time into an extraordinary time?  Check out our colleagues at Nottingham based Reserve unit HMS Sherwood.


22 Nov 2018 - Today we remember SLt Richard Baker OBE RD RNVR (Retd) who crossed the bar on the 17th Nov.  A veteran who served in sweepers during the Arctic Convoys before going onto become one of the BBC’s most well known broadcasters.


HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 5)


5 Dec 2018 - Proud to support men’s health and Movember UK, deployed on Operations, by the growing of dodgy facial hair!  Freddy Mercury captured our hearts, but our Weapon Engineering Officer’s effort was voted best by a ship’s company panel.  We raised over $500.


29 Nov 2018 - Great to host the 1st Dubai Scouts, learning about what the Royal Navy does in the region and inspiring a future generation of engineers and leaders, preparing young people around the world with skills for life.


HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3)


25 Nov 2018 - Congratulations to our own LD Matt O'Brien who was awarded a Queen's Commendation for Bravery.  He showed exemplary courage & leadership recovering canisters of mustard gas from Stixwould Lake, Lincoln in Nov 2017.


HMS Chiddingfold (MCM2 Crew 4)


28 Nov 2018 - Today we say goodbye to Lt Cdr A Pimm RN and welcome Lt Cdr A Riddett RN as Commanding Officer of HMS CHIDDINGFOLD and MCM2 Crew 4 - a big day in the Ship's programme as we look forward to the upcoming events and adventures!


HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1)


1 Dec 2018 - HMS Hurworth is coming home!


29 Nov 2018 - Good luck to Divers Chumbley and Peters in their Man vs Ship challenge - racing Hurworth back from Scotland to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit!


29 Nov 2018 - Setting off on their race against HMS Hurworth now!


HMS Pembroke (MCM1 Crew 5)


28 Nov 2018 - HMS Pembroke recently sailed 'over the top' of Scotland, from the West to the East. The scenery made for an incredible few days sailing, with some historical insights passing Scapa Flow.



HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3)


5 Dec 2018 - Shoreham left the UK back in June with HMS Brocklesby to take over from HMS Bangor.  The RN has 4 Mine Hunters based out of Bahrain to conduct Maritime Security Operations and protect sea lines of communication.


5 Dec 2018 - #8: The Weather.  From snow to sandstorms.


5 Dec 2018 - What do we do when we go to sea for a big exercise (other than have a lot of fun)?  Take a peek...


4 Dec 2018 - #9: This year we have been lucky enough to train with our international partners and strengthen our ability to fight alongside one another.


4 Dec 2018 - #9: The Runs Ashore.  Great Places.  Great people.  Great experiences.


3 Dec 2018 - Deployment Highlight #10.  Leaving behind one family but sailing with another.


3 Dec 2018 - How do we find mines using our remote systems?  Take a peek…


3 Dec 2018 - After a busy year for Crew Three & HMS Shoreham we'd like to share our top 10 highlights.  Tune in daily.


28 Nov 2018 - Seems like only yesterday!  17 years young,  Next year we will be old enough to vote.


HM Warships


28 Nov 2018 - OTD in 2001 Sandown-class minehunter HMS Shoreham was accepted into service.  Her commissioning took place in a ceremony in her namesake port on 20 July 2002.  Seen here leading a MCM convoy in the Persian Gulf, 2012.


Tim Laughton MP


28 Nov 2018 - Remember the launch in Southampton well.


MASTT (Maritime Autonomous System Trials Team)


27 Nov 2018 - “Every Day’s a Training Day”.  RNMB Hazard leading RNMB Hussar out of 2 Basin, to Sea.


26 Nov 2018 - It has been a busy 2018 for MASTT.  As the year closes, the Team gather to pose for a Christmas Card group photo.  Looking forward to another year of trialling RN Autonomous MCM Systems, for a safer future.


26 Nov 2018 - Well, why be serious all the time!?  The LS(MW)s and LWtr enjoy 5 minutes of fun.



26 Nov 2018 - “IN FENDERS!!”  RNMBs Hazard and Hussar head out from HMNB(P) to the Solent for Consolidation and Navigation Training, on a beautiful Autumn day.


3 Dec 18 - More HMS Vernon heritage


The left of these images shows part of HMS Vernon (with a TON class MCMV and an inshore minesweeper in the Outer Creek) and the Camber Docks as I remember them in 1977 including the Vosper Thornycroft shipyard that built warships up to corvette size.  The two coal conveyors that crossed the road from the Camber to the power station had recently been dismantled but the IOW car ferry was still operating from inside Point. 


For comparison, the image on the right is the same view showing part of Gunwharf Quays (with the blitzed clock tower and north wing of Vulcan (No 21) building restored plus the Old Infirmary), Ben Ainslie's Americas Cup HQ and the Camber Docks as they are today although the IOW ferry's car park has since been roofed over.  The housing that replaced the V-T shipyard straddles part of the Millennium Walkway.  So far, the Bridge Tavern and the fish market have survived.



Vosper's first shipyard has a fascinating history:


"Herbert Edward Vosper set up his Company, Vosper & Co when he was only 21 in 1871 at Camber, a small commercial dock on the east side of the entrance to Portsmouth harbour.  The main work of the Company during the early years was largely in the refitting and repair of coastal vessels.  The soon prosperous company began producing their own range of steam reciprocating engines which were fitted into all types of craft, including yachts, tugs, tenders and launches, for the Admiralty and for export.  One of the first vessels that the Company built was the tug Hercules for the Shoreham Harbour Authority.  Vosper & Co. proved to be an early pioneer of the internal combustion engine, developing vaporising paraffin and crude oil engines.


In the early days, the Company was not known as a builder of high speed craft, but mainly for the reliability and strength of their products.  It had a wide range of skills and capacities, being able to design, develop and build its own hulls in steel and in wood, engines, boilers and associated machinery, in fact the whole ship.  Well into the 20th Century, they were still listed as Engineers and Boiler makers.  The Great War saw a rapid expansion of the company's activities, but with the cessation of hostilities in late 1918 Vosper existed mainly on refit work.  A major contract at that time was the virtual rebuild of Captain Scott's Discovery for a further Antarctic expedition.  Herbert Vosper retired in 1919, and died in 1934.


Vosper & Co's fortunes changed when Commander Du Cane became managing director in 1931. The Company then concentrated on high speed craft, including yachts, tenders and racing boats.  Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird II was built by the company and took the world water speed record at 141.7mph in August 1939.  In 1936, Vosper & Co. became a public company and changed its name to Vosper Ltd, and a second yard was purchased at Flathouse on the north side of Portsmouth Dockyard.  This yard was later compulsorily purchased by the Admiralty and a new site established at Portchester..."


The company went on to build the exercise minelayer HMS Abdiel and many MCMVs including TON class minesweepers, HUNT class MHSCs and SANDOWN class SRMHs.  It merged with J I Thornycroft of Southampton in 1965.


30 Nov 18 - MWA gathering


Another enjoyable Mine Warfare Association (MWA) southern area monthly 'Dit Session' was held at the Lord Arthur Lee pub in Fareham last night.


Attendees included Dave Annan, Jim Bowen, Dixie Dean MBE, Simmo Duggan, John Gunter, MCDOA member Bill Kerr, Steve 'Stirling' Moss, Peter 'Taff' Reader, Sean Slee, MCDOA member George Turnbull, Stephen 'Bunny' Warren, Peter Whitehead and Yours Truly.  Two others turned up too late for the photo.



28 Nov 18 - Gentlemen Who Lunch


Owing to yesterday's poor weather, the MCDOA's 'Not Quite the Last of the Summer Wine' trio of Barlow, Holloway and Hoole restricted itself to the excellent Blue Bell in Emsworth for its weekly gathering.  The sausage & onion baguettes were scrummy.



27 Nov 18 - HMS Vernon then and now


I snapped this striking painting of HMS Vernon outside the mess at Horsea Island on Friday.  It was produced by the resident Technical Illustration Pool in 1962 and the scene had changed little by the time I joined HMS Laleston at Vernon in March 1973; even the two coal conveyors that crossed the road from the Camber docks to the power station were still there.  A Ton class minesweeper can be seen alongside Maintenance Jetty.



This image of Gunwharf Quays, including the iconic Spinnaker Tower, shows the same area today.



All three of our children were christened in the inverted diving helmet font in St Adjutor's chapel behind what is now the Old Customs House pub in Gunwharf Quays.  The font now resides in St Barbara's church at HMS Excellent.


26 Nov 18 - New CO for HMS Bangor


According to this tweet, Lt Cdr Ben Martin (left) has superseded Lt Cdr Peter Ware as the Commanding Officer of HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 8) .



25 Nov 18 - Doug Barlow's 90th



MCDOA associate member Doug Barlow, whose past ships include three battleships and three cruisers, was the focus of a party last night in Emsworth to celebrate his 90th birthday and the fifth anniversary of his wedding to Jill which made the front page of the Pompey News at the time.


Doug and Jill Barlow taking to the floor


The party was attended by many of their family members and old friends from Doug's life.  There was also a generous birthday treat from Vice Admiral Sir Donald Gosling KCVO RNR with whom Doug had joined up as a boy sailor. 


Guests at Doug Barlow's 90th birthday party


MCDOA member Martyn Holloway arranged a special surprise with the presence of prolific author and adventurer Lt Col Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE RM of Falklands fame who had served with Doug in HMS Fearless and featured him in his book about the ship.


Ewen Southby-Tailyour and Doug Barlow


MCDOA members Martyn Holloway and Rob Hoole with their wives

and Ewen Southby-Tailyour


Doug giving his speech


I am sure all members of our community will join me in wishing Doug and Jill our very best wishes for their future together.


24 Nov 18 - MCDOA Operational Updates, AGM & Dinner: After Action Report


We had some very illuminating operational briefs (thanks to all concerned for your valuable time), a productive AGM and another grand MCDOA Annual Dinner in HMS Excellent's wardroom last night; one of the best yet.  We owe Robin Walker, our Hon Sec, a huge debt of gratitude for the time and effort he put into organising events.






Thanks, Tug, for manning the bar at lunchtime.







As usual, the evening started with many noisy reunions in the bar.




HMS Nelson's Volunteer Band played their socks off for us...







...and the wardroom staff were their usual attentive selves, throwing themselves into the spirit of the occasion.






Everyone tucked into their food with gusto (well done to the galley staff) and followed the loyal toast with some lusty singing.






















After an introduction by our President (Capt Roger Readwin RN), Rear Admiral Jerry Kyd (recently Captain of our new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and now Commander UK Maritime Forces) delivered a stirring speech as Guest of Honour and legendary sailor Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was another notable attendee.


Capt Roger Readwin RN, our President, welcoming our guests


Rear Admiral Jerry Kyd, our senior warfighting Admiral, with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston

to his right


Diners then retired to the bar for coffee, cheese & biscuits or something stronger with which to carry on their exchanges of dits and reminiscences.


Sir Robin Knox-Johnston flanked by Gareth & Rob Hoole


It was particularly gratifying to see members of the 1968 Long MCD Officers' course celebrating their 50th anniversary with their Course Officer.


LMCDO '68 course members Dave Forsey MBE, Mike Emary and Bob White MBE

with their course officer Peter Waddington


Special mention should be made of our old friends Chris Deere and Jim Penman (both RCN) who flew over from Canada specifically for the occasion.




Postscript: Justin Hains found a pair of St Vincent Association cufflinks in a black box as he was leaving Excellent Block (with a sore head) on Saturday morning.  If the lucky individual emails him at this address, he will post them on.


23 Nov 18 - Operational Awards


Congratulations to CPO(D) Kris Fenwick and LS(D) Si Wharton on their award of the Queen's Gallantry Medal and to LS(D) Matt O'Brien and AB(D) Josh Smith on their award of the Queen's Commendation for Bravery in today's Operational Awards.  Also, congratulations to CPO(D) Chuck Norris on his award of a Fleet Commander's Commendation.


From the London Gazette:





22 Nov 18 - Death and funeral of ex-CD1 Leo Whelan


AORNFCD Secretary Troy Tempest has informed me that Leo passed away during the night of Friday 9 October.  He suffered a heart attack while on the second day of a holiday in Lanzarote with his wife Lili.  There has been some delay repatriating his body but his funeral will take place at 1115 on Tuesday 27 November at Cardross Crematorium near Dumbarton.  Family flowers only.  Donations in lieu to the RNLI.


Leo has contributed much to this site as a search using his name on the Home page will reveal.  In particular, look at the photos in Mike Gillam's article titled 'The Far East Fleet Clearance Diving Team' in the website's Dit Box.  Also see the entry for 2 Dec 09 in News Archive 28.



I am sure all members of our community will join me in extending our sincere condolences to Lili and to Leo's other family members and friends.


21 Nov 18 - Recent tweets


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


Royal Navy


5 Nov 2018 - Teamwork makes the dream work!  HMS Grimsby, HMS Hurworth, HMS Enterprise, HMS Cattistock, HMS Ramsey on Exercise Trident Juncture in Norway.





2 Nov 2018 - HMS Cattistock, HMS Hurworth HMS Grimsby and HMS Ramsey have thrown their weight behind Trident Juncture as they join HMS Enterprise in the Norwegian fjords.


2 Nov 2018 - Alongside the minehunters, Fleet Diving Unit 3 have been deployed to conduct their own mine warfare operations on the shoreline near Rovik, a small port village north of the city of Trondheim.  


HMS Enterprise


4 Nov 2018 - Fond Farewells to HMS Ramsey, HMS Cattistock, HMS Grimsby & HMS Hurworth as our part in Trident Juncture 18 comes to an end.  It's been a blast!


4 Nov 2018 - Four Royal Navy mine hunters, supported by HMS Enterprise, have had a highly successful Exercise Trident Juncture 18.  The UK's mine counter measures capability is world class.


4 Nov 2018 - What did you do on this beautiful Sunday Morning?  HMS Enterprise, HMS Hurworth, HMS Ramsey, HMS Grimsby & HMS Cattistock rafted together to transfer drill mines, stores & dits.  This is a Life Less Ordinary, a life Made In The Royal Navy.


3 Nov 2018 - The white ensign flies day and night.  This is HMS Hurworth during a night rafting.  The red-over-white-over-red lights show "restricted in ability to manoeuvre".


1 Nov 2018 - Our operating area is getting busy!  An amphibious task group has arrived - that's why we've been clearing mines.  A genuinely impressive display of NATO capability.


31 Oct 2018 - Keeping the mine hunters on task 24/7 is our job.  Here HMS Hurworth takes a suck of fuel, some water and some food.  Our engineers helped them fix a defect, then they were straight back to mine hunting 24/7.


31 Oct 2018 - Trident Juncture 18.  Another busy day (Just How We Like It).  Supplying fuel, water, food, stores, engineering support and command - keeping the task group at sea.  We Also Do Survey.


30 Oct 2018 - Busy Days in Trident Juncture 18!  Thanks go to Warrant Officer Valverde of the Marine Nationale (the French Navy) for this amazing photo of us.  That's some skill with a camera.


30 Oct 2018 - Not a periscope view - actually iPhone and binoculars - but a spectacular image by HMS Cattistock.


29 Oct 2018 - We were privileged to have HMS Cattistock raft with us today.  Even accounting for the fact we've sped it up by a factor of 4, this was a fast, accurate approach and a brilliant piece of shiphandling.  BZ!


27 Oct 2018 - Love Norway.  Lots of boat work, beach survey and mine counter measures stuff.  Great training, great allies, great location.  Trident Juncture 18.


26 Oct 18 - Photos by HMS CATTISTOCK of us sailing from Kristiansund, straight into a rainbow and Exercise Trident Juncture.  Just looking out for unicorns now...


Navy Lookout


3 Nov 2018 - HMS Enterprise supports Fleet Diving Unit during mine warfare exercises in Norwegian fjords during exercise Trident Juncture.


Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force


18 Nov 2018 - Lt Cdr Alex Coleman climbed 29,029 ft up the stairs of RFA Cardigan Bay last night (up and down Everest!) raising £500 for Prostate UK and the RNA - 22hrs 46mins,  BZ!



11 Nov 2018 - The UK's MCM Force, RFA Cardigan Bay and HMS Dragon remember the fallen on the flight deck of Cardigan Bay.


12 Nov 2018 - More images from Remembrance Day 2018. 


HMS Bangor (MCM1 Crew 2)


19 Nov 2018 - A little bit of inspiration for Monday Motivaton provided by our maritime colleagues at the RNLI.


19 Nov 2018 - It’s Book Week Scotland so the Gunnery and Operations Officers are spending lunch time choosing new books to read from HMS Bangor’s extensive library.  Everything from Fiction to GCSE/Highers textbooks are available for all onboard.


13 Nov 2018 - See our Air Defender colleagues in HMS Duncan in action: Monday nights on Channel 5, a rare insight into what your Royal Navy does whilst over the horizon protecting the UK’s interests around the globe.


12 Nov 2018 - With HMS London being announced as the latest name of one of the Royal Navy’s fleet of Type 26 Frigates, all the Warfare Officers on board are keen to know what they’re going to rename the London Bridge Simulator in the Navigation Training Unit at HMS Collingwood.  


HMS Blyth (MCM1 Crew 5)


14 Nov 2018 - It was a pleasure to host divers from the US Navy and US 5th Fleet Expeditionary MCM Company on board BLYTH; great talk and exchange of ideas, showcasing our interoperability for COMUKMCMFOR and Defence Ops.


14 Nov 2018 - Faslane Flotilla Cdr, Cdre Jim Perks addresses the Ship's Company on his visit to forward deployed units in Bahrain. He also took the opportunity to recognise the hard work of our senior Communications Specialist, who has done some outstanding work recently in the Gulf.


29 Oct 2018 - HMS BLYTH are 1 month into a 5-month hot weather PCS uniform trial.  Half of the crew have the new kit, half the old.  It's an improvement, feels better, lighter and breathable say the crew.


HMS Brocklesby (MCM2 Crew 3)


11 Nov 2018 - Crew 3, conducting Maritime Security Operations at sea in the Gulf, took time out to hold a service in memory of all those who have died in the service of our country.


9 Nov 18 - A great pleasure to show three veterans from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea around our ship and demonstrate what Royal Navy minehunters deliver on operations in the Gulf. 


8 Nov 2018 - And here's the view from the Bridge!  Being able to operate globally also means being able to maintain and repair the ship anywhere in the world.  A huge team effort.


8 Nov 2018 - ...and of course it wouldn't have been possible without Crew 3's Marine Engineering Department too!


4 Nov 2018 - Volunteers from Crew 3 helped clean up the Salmabad Cemetery in Bahrain last week.  The cemetery includes a number of service graves dating back to the 1960s.


2 Nov 2018 - Crew 3's Divers shared experiences with the Dubai Police EOD Unit during a recent visit to the U.A.E.  We welcomed Joint Force Support Group Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force staff based in the UAE for a taste of life onboard.


1 Nov 2018 - Bahrain RFC 3-1 BROC.  The Bumblebees were beaten by a couple of late goals during a hard fought game.  Well played and thanks again for hosting us!


12 Oct 2018 - An epic sunset as we left Bahrain earlier this week – you can only get views like this at sea.


10 Oct 2018 - Regular training and teamwork keeps Brocklesby’s 30mm aimers ready for anything!


HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 8)


29 Oct 2018 - Like Crew 8’s old friend Lewis Hamilton (now 5 times world champion - congratulations!) CATT took a pit stop alongside HMS Enterprise today to replenish stores at sea; increasing endurance and time on task.


28 Oct 2018 - Amazon Prime?  How about Enterprise Prime?  CATT was in need of some urgent stores, so less than an hour after placing our ‘order’ HMS Enterprise provided a 5* door to door service.


26 Oct 2018 - An epic journey by CATTISTOCK to make the start of Trident Juncture.  In the North Sea, CATT experienced 5m swells forcing her into in Stavanger before transiting through the fjords allowing her to make the start of the exercise.


HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 7)


25 Oct 2018 - This is by far the fastest I’ve been in a Sandown - just missed the 21.4kts photo.



HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1)


31 Oct 2018 - HMS Hurworth rafting with HMS Enterprise to replenish fuel and stores in the stunning Norwegian fjords during Trident Juncture.


HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 6)


11 Nov 2018 - All of the poppy wreaths from today's Remembrance parades will be brought to the British cemetaries. We've had a busy time cleaning the graves ready for their arrival.


11 Oct 2018 - Brilliant night of go-karting at the Bahrain GP race track.  Many many thanks to the RNRMC for helping us with the funding to make such an event possible.  Definite teambuilding plus ahead of Saif Sareea 3.



HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 1)


 31 Oct 2018 - Crew 1 in HMS Ramsey have been conducting MCM ops in the fjords of Norway as part of Trident Juncture.


HMS Shoreham (MCM1 Crew 3)


19 Nov 2018 - Commanding Officer of CMF Bahrain Gulf security task group CTF 152 visited Shoreham yesterday.  We showed him our mine hunting capability & what we can do for maritime security.  The two Commanding Officers exchanged mugs and coins too!  


CMF Bahrain


18 Nov 2018 - Capt Al Fodary, Commander of CTF 152 who conduct maritime security in the Gulf meets up with HMS Shoreham for a demonstration of a minehunter's capability as they continue operations on behalf of CMF Bahrain.


13 Nov 2018 - Thanks to Farringdon Detached FC from Sunderland for donating HMS Shoreham's football kit.  We look forward to putting it to good use.


5 Nov 2018 - While on Saif Sareea 3 HMS Shoreham took part in the fire power demonstration for Op Omani Lion dress rehearsal.  MCMVs make sure the waters are safe before the Royal Marines conduct amphibious ops and project maritime power ashore.


4 Nov 2018 - HMS Shoreham can remain at sea for long periods thanks to support from RFA Cardigan Bay.  Here they are rafted up so HMS Shoreham can receive fuel.


21 Oct 2018 - Incredible sight of an inquisitive juvenile Whale Shark checking out HMS Shoreham off the coast of Oman as we conduct Saif Sareea 3.




19 Nov 2018 - RNMB HUSSAR, the Unmanned Surface Vessel for the RN Sweep Demonstrator, has been safely shipped from Scotland to HMNB(P).  Seen here alongside her sister workboat, RNMB HAZARD, in 2 Basin.


1 Nov 2018 - Future vision of the Minehunting and Hydrographic Vessel (from open source information).  MASTT were involved in the initial design and planning phase of the vessel.


6 Oct 2018 - Euronaval 2018: French Navy Mine Warfare & Thales USV for MCM.


20 Nov 18 - HMS Hurworth charity challenge



One warship, two divers, 550 miles, who will win?  For Portsmouth Hospitals Charity because not every journey is smooth sailing from the start.  Please support this effort:


"On Saturday 1 December 2018, two adventurous crew members from HMS Hurworth will be racing the ship back from HMNB Clyde to her home port of Portsmouth, 550 miles away on the south coast.   This is alll in an effort to raise money towards all important equipment for the neonatal intensive care unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth. 


To make the challenge a little more interesting, the team will be armed only with a backpack, £30 and, hopefully, an enterprising competitive edge in a bid to be the first team across the line in the Dockyard, and hold the bragging rights over one of her Majesty’s finest warships for years to come. 


If £30 and a backpack didn’t sound like enough hard work, the team of two must; Pass through 12 counties using 12 different modes of transport along the way. 


This may sound like a tough journey, however it is nothing compared to the difficult start a premature born baby and its family may face in the earliest stages of life. With a small challenge and hopefully a kind donation from yourselves we are hoping to make the lives of all involved that little bit easier.  


The Portsmouth Hospitals Charity aims to serve the patients of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust by providing additional facilities, education and equipment to both patients and staff.  The charity supports all of the wards and departments throughout the Trust, so from new borns to neurology, bones to brains, you can choose to support the particular area of the hospital that is close to your heart.


Thank you for all your donations,


All the crew on board HMS Hurworth"



Sponsor Richard Chumbley and Mark Peters here:


JustGiving: Man Versus Ship


11 Nov 18 - Lest we forget 


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

  Robert Laurence Binyon




7 Nov 18 - Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE


The Royal Navy website contains this article reporting the completion of Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE which stretched from Reykjavik in Iceland to Narvik in the Arctic Circle and Trøndelag in central Norway.  This was the biggest NATO exercise of the year and involved 50,000 military personnel, over 10,000 vehicles and seven Royal Navy ships among a 65-vessel force with Royal Marines from 45 Commando on a US assault ship and Fleet Air Arm Merlin helicopters hunting submarines.


Participating RN MCMVs comprised HMS Grimsby (MCM1 Crew 7), HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1), HMS Cattistock (MCM2 Crew 8) and HMS Ramsey (MCM1 Crew 1), all supported by their mother ship, the survey vessel HMS Enterprise.


6 Nov 18 - SDU1 blows ordnance in Devon


The Dartmouth Chronicle website contains this article (including video) reporting yesterday's disposal, presumably by members of Plymouth based Southern Diving Unit 1 (SDU1), of an item of unexploded ordnance found on the beach at Blackpool Sands in Devon. 



5 Nov 18 - HMS Hurworth in the spotlight


A few weeks ago HMS Hurworth (MCM2 Crew 1) hosted Alfie Boe for a day at sea, filming his new TV programme, Home Front Heroes (see entry for 21 Sep 18 in News Archive 63).  The show will be aired tomorrow on BBC One at 0915.  


Postscript:  For those who missed the programme, it can be watched again here on iPlayer until 5 December.  The relevant sequence starts at minute 24:07:


Home Front Heroes: Series 1 Episode 2. Alfie Boe



19 Oct 18 - RN Minewarfare Heritage: New book


According to Heritage Books, its American publisher, 'Nightraiders', the second volume of the trilogy that started with 'Home Waters', might be out before Christmas.  The book will cover the RN, USN, RNLN and RAN minewarfare battle against the Japanese in the Pacific during the Second World War.




The trilogy's third volume, titled 'Enemy Waters', will deal with minewarfare (minelaying, minesweeping and naval bomb & mine disposal at sea and on land) against Germany and Italy during the Second World War and is due to be released next year.  It will include a description of HMS Vernon's role in the design of mines and mine countermeasures including a description of the role of the 'P' Parties as the forebears of today's Clearance Diver sub-branch.  From their inception in late 1943, the ‘P’ Parties were formed by the Admiralty’s Director of Minesweeping, under the auspices of HMS Vernon in Portsmouth.  On 1 October 1944, 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.


As co-author, I will be donating the proceeds from all my sales towards Project Vernon, the campaign to erect a monument at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to celebrate the minewarfare & diving heritage of HMS Vernon which previously occupied the site.  Personal sales of signed books have added £1,000 to the kitty so far with more expected.


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 in News Archive 63).  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 promoted to Rear Admiral (wef 28 Oct 2018) as 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 (MCM1 Crew 5)


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


HMS Ledbury (MCM2 Crew 6)


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.




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).



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