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January 2009

28th January 2009

Portsmouth Bound

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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. 

26th January 2009

First Flight in a Merlin!

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After the joys of groundschool before Christmas, today I flew my first instructional sortie in the Merlin. 

 

23rd January 2009

My First Post.

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As I write this I am in transit to a two month deployment to the middle east. While this is not a new experience to me I find myself musing upon the unique challenges that the new group of people I am deploying with will bring. To start with, unlike my previous deployment, I am not the junior member of the watch having had a few “fresh out the box” AET’s joining the squadron recently. Furthermore many my seniors ,while far more experienced then I, have never been deployed to this location on this operation before which is in contrast to my previous deployment in August ‘08 where the majority were veterans of the operation.

       I look forward to seeing how this plays out over the next couple of months.

Chris.

 

What a Ship! First Impressions of a T45 at Sea

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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.

20th January 2009

The Blog Begins

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Hello Shippers, this is my first entry in what will hopefully be a relatively amusing account of what a Royal Navy Medical Officer gets up to at sea.

I am onboard HMS RICHMOND which is a type 23 frigate. We left Portsmouth on Monday morning in procedure alpha, where we all get in our number 1 uniform and line the upper deck. Many families and friends braved the cold wet weather to stand on round tower and wave us off on our deployment to the Gulf as part of Operation Telic, the UK’s contribution to the international coalition of warships conducting maritime security in the region.

19th January 2009

Made It - DARING Goes to Sea

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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. 

Early Summer Sun, Jan 2009

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I’m writing this blog on my laptop looking out over one of the most spectacular natural landscapes I have even seen. I’m in Stellenbosch, South Africa.

10th January 2009

Will We Make It to Sea?

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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.