Sussex Navy News

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Veterans – Railcard, Government strategy plans

The Government has announced a new railcard for veterans.  It will launch on Armistice Day and initially cost £21 for a year.  Other details are not yet clear but appear to include the usual discounts of a third off eligible tickets, and only being available to those not entitled to other railcard schemes, e.g. Senior, Disabled.

More here and here.

Meanwhile the Government has also published the results of its recently completed consultation on veterans strategy, its report also covering what Government already does for veterans and its plans.

More, report here.

Worthing parade to remember Norway raid

Sailors past and present will march in Worthing next month to remember a naval highlight of the ‘Phoney War’.

On 16 February 1940, boarding parties from HMS Cossack, Captain Philip Vian RN, stormed the German tanker Altmark, which was hiding in a Norwegian fjord.  They released 299 British prisoners taken by the raider Graf Spee as it sank Allied merchant shipping in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Eighty years later, sailors from destroyer HMS Dauntless will join veterans, representatives from the Norwegian Embassy in London, the HMS Cossack Association and local council officials for a service and wreath laying at Durrington Cemetery, Worthing, in tribute to those involved.  The event, at 1100 on Monday 17 February, is being organised by Commander Neil ‘Nobby’ Hall, currently serving with NATO in Belgium and known to many SANO members.

More here.

New crew for HMS Shoreham 

SANO affiliate ship HMS Shoreham has a new crew and CO.

Operating from her forward base in the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain, Shoreham changes her crew of 41 twice a year to maximise her time spent on operations.  Having completed Operational Sea Training and taken part in Exercise Joint Warrior in the autumn, crew 4 of the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron, based in Faslane, have taken over from MCM1 crew 6, who had been on board since June last year.

The new CO, Lieutenant Commander Peter Evans, is confident his ship’s company are well prepared for operations.  He said: “The training and preparation to deploy the ship’s company to the Gulf was thorough and arduous, and started in June 2019.  They have proved their ability to operate in the face of challenging conditions and demanding examiners, and they did so to a fantastic standard.”

Shoreham, pictured below, is one of four Royal Navy mine-hunting vessels permanently based in the Gulf.  She was one of eight ships keeping shipping safe and ensuring the free flow of trade in the Gulf and Indian Ocean over Christmas.

More here and here.

Wales RNR new HQ

Wales’s only RNR unit, HMS Cambria, is on the move.  It has said goodbye to Barry, the town which has been their home since 1980.

A final freedom parade took place through the seaside town ahead of a move just up the road to a new facility in Cardiff Bay in May.  More than 60 members of the unit, together with a ceremonial guard, were led by the Band of HM Royal Marines, CTCRM Lympstone.

The state of the art new HQ building has transformed a former industrial site, barely a mile from the heart of Cardiff, into a gleaming £11m home for HMS Cambria and a focal point for the RN in Wales.  It will serve as a centre for maritime reservists across the region and develop as a hub for naval university cadet training and recruiters.

The building will also include short term living accommodation, classroom suites, dining halls, an armoury, an external rope training area and a parade square.  In addition it will provide a working space for up to 80 personnel, and feature other amenities, such as social and fitness facilities for use by the RNR, RMR and URNUs.

It replaces the existing complex at Sully near Barry and is expected to serve the needs of the Royal Navy and Reserve Forces for the next half century.  The project is being delivered by Wales Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, in partnership with port owner and operator Associated British Ports, South Wales.

Cambria traces its history back to 1947 when it was based in Cardiff Docks.  The present HQ, two converted married quarters at Sully, opened in October 1980.  The unit received the Freedom of the County of the Vale of Glamorgan in April 2012.

More here and here.

On BBC – Life as a submarine CO

BBC Radio Three Counties currently features a programme in Tara Dolby’s “People’s Playlist” series, entitled “Trident, Greenpeace and Russia” with Commodore David Russell, first CO of the first UK Trident submarine, HMS Vanguard, and later Deputy Flag Officer Submarines and leader of the RN’s Kursk rescue mission.

More, listen here – slide forward to minute 3.