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HMS St Albans shadows Chinese warship

HMS St Albans was on Sunday (14th) shadowing a Chinese warship in the English Channel.

St Albans Commanding Officer, Commander John Cromie, said: “Today HMS St Albans, conducting routine maritime security operations, is monitoring the progress of the Xian as she transits close to the UK coastline.  This is normal business for the Royal Navy, keeping watch over UK waters at all times.

More here.

Marines at Spean Bridge commemorations

The first weekend of July saw Royal Marines in commemorations at the iconic Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge, near Fort William. 

The marines, of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group based at HMNB Clyde, turned out in support of the annual Royal Marines Association parade at the memorial.   

They also conducted a seven-mile speed march the day before, following the original route of their World War II predecessors when starting commando training.  The route ran from Spean Bridge station to Achnacarry, home to the wartime Commando Training Depot.  Volunteers would arrive by train at Spean Bridge, jump down to the track and clamber up the opposite platform, with kit, then march the seven miles to Achnacarry.  Training took place over large parts of Lochaber, which came to be known as “Commando Country”; it was highly intensive, often using live ammunition.  Anyone failing any part of the course caught the next train south, returned to his unit – “RTU’d”.

The service at the Commando Memorial; Marines of today and veterans (Crown Copyright 2019).  Speed march 2018

More here and here.  There are Commando museum exhibitions at the Spean Bridge Hotel and Fort William’s West Highland Museum.

A Forces’ Rising Star of 2019

A naval air engineer and sportswoman has been named one of the Forces’ Rising Stars of 2019.

Lieutenant Commander Hazelle Garton, an inspirational figure on the cricket pitch, golf course and in helicopter hangars, was singled out by judges of the We Are The City awards out of more than 1,000 nominees.  The awards champion the UK’s leading female figures, each year picking 100 role models from all walks of life.  Lt Cdr Garton, who’s been in the Royal Navy since 2008, was named in that top 100 – and in the top five in the defence world.

Her day job is in the Merlin Delivery Team at Defence Equipment & Support, Yeovil, ensuring helicopters leave the facility for front-line Fleet Air Arm squadrons to the highest possible standard.

Hazelle Garton with other winners (plus Maj Gen Duncan Capps and newsreader Jane Hill); with her award, and boss Cdr Polly Hatchard; and on the cricket pitch.  Crown Copyright 2019

More here.

RN Photographic competition

Pictures ranging from emotional homecoming scenes to fiery explosions are among those featured in the Navy’s annual photographic competition, the Peregrine Trophy Awards.

The images of operations, training, equipment and sport are the work of RN and RM photographers.  They are charged with telling the stories of sailors and Marines around the world through still imagery and video, taking them on deployments with warships and commando units wherever they go.  This year’s Peregrine Trophy Awards go to Leading Photographer Sam Seeley, as Photographer of the Year, and Fleet Regional Photographic Unit West, based at Plymouth, as the team submitting the best portfolio.

Two of this year’s entries are below (Crown Copyright 2019).

More here and here.