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Welcome to Jack Speak

This blog offers an unlimited view of the Royal Navy, because it’s written by the people who truly understand what it means to be a part of this exceptional service – the Royal Navy personnel themselves.

We are delighted to be the only one of the Armed Forces to have created a blog and hope you’ll enjoy sharing our Life Without Limits.

27th April 2009

HMS DARING - Now We’re Flying… And I’m Leaving

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Whilst news of my final blog may not fill too many people with sadness, for me it has a particular melancholy feel to it.  I was informed about 2 weeks ago that I was to leave DARING at the beginning of May, to take up a new appointment as Commander of UK’s Amphibious Task Group.  A fantastic job, but brings to an end my intimate relationship with DARING with a great deal of unfinished business.  

Hard Going in Hyeres

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I have finally returned home after a tough week competing in Hyere, France.  The regatta was plagued by light winds and long delays making for frustrating and difficult conditions.  Hanging around in dinghy parks and on the water is something you have to get used to in Olympic sailing but I’m sure we didn’t hang around this much even in China which is saying something.

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24th April 2009

Back in the UK.

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Well it’s been a hectic 3 months with many big operations on our aircraft. I am home 5 weeks later then I initially anticipated as I came back to the UK on a cargo ship with a Merlin in the hold, rather then jetliner. Going through pirate alley we were not attacked, although the MAERSK Alabama the American ship that was on the news, was only 50km behind us. We arrived in Southampton yesterday and after getting our precious cargo airborne it was time to go on leave. Now I look forward to the next three weeks and hope to be able to unwind after 3 months away.

22nd April 2009


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So I said “arrivederci” to Naples and “hola”, or more accurately “hello” to Gibraltar. As Gib’ is a funny mixture of about 70% British, 10% Spanish and 20%, well, Gibraltarian.


20th April 2009

National Trials - 1st

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For the last three weeks I have been training in Italy in a new pair getting ready for the final national selection trial. The training has been long and hard as usual, but I’ve had a bit of added freshness in the form of Alex Gregory. He is a young new talent to the rowing team (from the sculling team) and everything we seem to do in the boat goes well. It doesn’t always work that way in new boat due to different shapes, sizes and rowing techniques - but it turns out that we were a good match.

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10th April 2009

International Debut - 5th!

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 ZX3R2576.jpgWell, our international debut has just come to an end and we have surpassed our own expectations and probably surprised quite a few people.  The aim of the regatta was to settle into some racing and identify what areas we needed to concentrate on to keep taking our training forward at the fastest possible rate.  To find ourselves in the hunt for medals and to finish 5th overall and top British boat was truely amazing.

Hot!!! This Isnt Hot…well Ok Its a Little Warm

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Welcome to another instalment of my blog. We have been very busy with a joint forces exercise, as well as another stop in Turkey and the ever so tricky transition through the Suez. Its been all go, but we still found time to get out and enjoy the heat we are having with some flight deck sports even though a few (Including me) are paying the price for thinking sun cream isn’t really necessary.

8th April 2009


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It has been a busy past two months for the tower. Myslef and another controller recently fully qualified, which marks the end of a long and stressful journey! We have now headed into Easter Leave.


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6th April 2009

Exercise Early Night

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I just got back from the weekend exercise “Early Night” which ironically doesn’t involve a great deal of sleep. We did our first proper insertion march (marching a few miles from the transport to an operating area carrying rifle, fighting order/webbing, and a toppers burgen). It wasn’t too taxing in terms of fitness but personally I need to build up my shoulders before the next exercise as they definitely werent used to carrying all that weight.

The weekend covered a detailed teach and practical exercise to improve our map reading and navigation skills. Other highlights were being taught how Marines select a Harbour position (place from which to operate, conduct personal adminisration and sleep), and how to defend this site from the enemy. To achieve this we practiced putting up a Bivvy (waterproof cover to sleep under) and then at random points in the night we practiced packing all equipment away and being ready to fight or flee as a unit from the designated emergency RV point in under 4 mins. This was given a real life feel when in the early hours a very surprised patrolling army troop tripped one of the traps we had laid and lit the sky with pyrotechnics, causing us to jump into action the way we had been taught.

30th March 2009


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Last time, we were licking our wounds after our formal training period with the Flag Officer Sea Training Staff.  Three weeks further on, we are concentrating on developing our warfare ability in the early stages of the long road to operational service.