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Paul Bennett

Moving Onboard HMS DARING

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My name is Captain Paul Bennett, I joined the Royal Navy in September 1985 and spent the first 15 years my career in sea-going appointments.  I trained in HM Ships Blackwater and Hermione, navigated HMS Cygnet in Northern Ireland and HMS Birmingham for a deployment to the Arabian Gulf.  Following Principal Warfare Officer training, I served in HMS Westminster as the Operations and Gunnery Officer including a period in the South Atlantic.  I have commanded HMS Biter, the patrol vessel of the Manchester Universities Royal Naval Unit 1991-1992, the Minehunter, HMS Atherstone 1998-1999 and, from 1999-2000, the destroyer HMS Exeter, the highlight of which was a return to the Gulf.  Ashore, I have served in the rank of commander as the Fleet Operations Officer and as the maritime desk officer to the Director of Operational Capability in the MOD.  I was selected for promotion to Captain in June 2003 and spent 3 years in the Fleet HQ, with responsibility for Above Water Capability and Maritime Security.  In 2007, I attended the Higher Command and Staff Course and subsequently served for 6 months in Baghdad as the advisor to the senior Iraqi hierarchy in their Joint Headquarters.  I assumed command of HMS Daring, the first T45 destroyer, in May 08.

I live in Chichester with my wife Kay and our two daughters Chelsie (17) and Grace (14).  When not kept busy by my family, I maintain ‘enthusiastic amateur status’ in my sporting interests of running, mountain-biking, sailing and rowing. 

 

Posts by Paul Bennett

27th April 2009

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

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HMS DARING ar Sea

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.  

30th March 2009

SHOOTING DOWN AIRCRAFT AND ATTACKING SUBMARINES – THAT’S MORE LIKE IT

1 person rates this

 Daring1

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.

9th March 2009

T45 STANDS UP TO SCRUTINY

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We have spent the last 2 weeks being put through our paces by the staff of the Flag Officer Sea Training.  We were alongside for one week and then spent 5 days at sea putting the theory into practice.  Called ‘Preliminary Sea Training’, the period is designed to check out our routines, our ability to deal with peacetime incidents and an opportunity to be exposed to new skills that will stand us in good stead as we start to develop T45 warfighting ability. 

23rd February 2009

T45 Back at Sea and Proving Her Warfighting Credentials

6 people rate this

After a week alongside spent catching up with maintenance as well as some defect rectification we are back at sea.  The week in Portsmouth allowed us to settle into our new base port, to face-to-face with the support agencies that answer our requests for help and, even, for some, some leave. We sailed in good shape with all machinery in proper working order.  We proved it of course, by sprinting across to Portland, testing everything to its full extent …..not quite the gently running in period that we might do with our cars.  We do indeed stop in 5 ship lengths from full ahead to full astern!

5th February 2009

T45 Meets the Royal Marines

6 people rate this

The Entry to Portsmouth was a quite awe-inspiring experience for the Ship.  Despite the fog, there were hundreds of people lining the front as we slipped into Harbour.  I had never experienced such a welcome before and it was a really powerful and delightful illustration of the interest and support that people have for the Royal Navy.  Having said all that, I think we are right to be excited (I would say that wouldn’t I) – the most capable Air Defence Destroyer in the World – Defence, the RN and British Industry deserve to be animated bout the achievement. 

28th January 2009

Portsmouth Bound

4 people rate this

We are now cutting across the English Channel after a 2-hour stop off DARING’s affiliated Island of Guernsey.   With press onboard, the weeks of planning for our first entry are starting to become reality.  Once again, there have been some challenges, not least the weather.  The Irish Sea was at its worst on Saturday night and many of the Ship’s Company were introduced to the dubious pleasure of sea-sickness.  All well by Sunday lunchtime, when we took a couple of hours off to do a Concept 2 rowing competition.  Two machines were set up on the Flight Deck and while the engineers did some full power trials and the Ship threw up a huge wake, a few brave souls rowed their hearts out.  We have also completed a series of aviation related exercises, in preparation for the arrival of a MERLIN helicopter while at anchor on Monday. 

23rd January 2009

What a Ship! First Impressions of a T45 at Sea

28 people rate this

We have had a frenetic start to our time at sea after sailing last Friday.  We were exposed to the tender ministrations of the Flag Officer Sea Training Staff (again!), to ensure that we settled down into our sea-going regimes.  It was not a gentle start.  Two man overboard exercises, machinery breakdown drills, fires and floods, even before we made it out of the Clyde.  While all this was going on, we had the excitement of a Hurricane Force 12 storm.  We were hidden behind the Isle of Arran so we didn’t get the full force, but 70 knot winds are testing at the best of times.  The Staff left on Sunday and we have spent the last 3 days taking on some ammunition and then having our underwater noise signature checked.  Both evolutions took place at the Northern reaches of the Clyde estuary, with snow capped mountains and, pleasantly calm seas.

19th January 2009

Made It - DARING Goes to Sea

6 people rate this

As I write this, DARING has just made her first tenmative steps as a warship at sea.  Following a rigorous period of training, to which the Ship’s Company responded fantastically, we were given the final approval to sail on Friday morning by the Commodore Portsmouth Flotilla.  The Ship was well-presented, preparations to sail had been put in place and we were excitied, and a little nervous, about the prospect.  We made our way out of the Clyde and will engage in exercises to prove our ability at sea.  A great relief to have made it, a real achievement by everyone and it keps DARING moving forward. 

10th January 2009

Will We Make It to Sea?

5 people rate this

Happy New Year!

The Ship’s Company responded well to the challenges of running this new warship over the Christmas leave period.  Everyone is now back onboard and we are sprinting towards that final hurdle, endorsement to go to sea.  Briefings, exercises and a great deal of individual research are underway with a growing anticipation, and a little trepidation, of the moment that we cast off from Glasgow and sail for Portsmouth. 

17th December 2008

Onboard and Loving It!

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We marched onboard HMS DARING and claimed her as our new home last Wednesday (10th Dec).  It was a brilliant, crystal clear, cold Glaswegian winter day and, with the exception of the General Alarm (that started sounding half way through my speech and finished as soon as the Ship’s Company had marched onboard!), the event was a great success.  Well done to bVT and UK Defence Industry for building such an excellent ship and, for the Ship’s Company, a warm welcome to the newest ship in the Navy.