A Portsmouth Harbour tour reveals the state of the Royal Navy

In sunny Portsmouth last Saturday we decided on a tour of the harbour, along with many other sightseers. Less crowed on a weekday, but then it possibly wouldn’t have been such a lovely warm and sunny day.

The announcer, on the boat, said that we’d missed seeing th HMS Queen Elizabeth, which had recently sailed to America. I know it was a weekend, but there didn’t appear to be any activity in the Naval Dockyard that we could discern from our tour boat.

It’ll not need saying, but yours truly knows little about naval matters, these are my observations, that’s all. I’ve written about what I’ve seen in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, HERE, and HERE. Photos follow of Saturday’s visit.

  • The first nval vessel we encountered was M921 Lobelia, a minehunter of the Belgian Navy.
  • Next we saw HMS Medway P223.  She arrived in her home port of Portsmouth for the first time only a few days ago. She is the second of the new River class offshore patrol vessels.
  • Next we passed HMS Defender D36, one the six £1billion Daring class air defence destroyers, back in service having completed an almost 2 year refit.
  • Then we passed HMS Dragon D35, which had not long returned from a six month tour of duty in the Middle East.
  • Inside the dockyard we saw three Daring class destoyers in various stage of readiness, HMS Daring D32, HMS Dauntless D33, HMS Diamond D34. That’s five of the six destroyers not on patrol. Two of the six Dauntless and Diamond are not capable of deployment, Dauntless is classified as a training ship, and Diamond suffering from mechanical issues.
  • In various parts of the Naval Dockyard, were two redundant RFA Fleet Tankers, and survey vessel.

I appreciate that ships require replenishment, maintenance, and the crew home leave after an overseas deployment. My conclusion is that we need all of the Daring class destoyers to be operationable. With shortly to have two Elizabeth class aircraft carriers who will need to be accompanied by capable warships, not ageing frigates.

 

A feast of bands and drums at RMAS Heritage Day

We return from a week away in a hot climate to attend the Heritage Day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on a typically cool summer’s day.

Attendance at the Heritage Day seemed lower than in previous years. It can’t have helped that the day started with light rain, which thankfully soon passed, such that it remained dry for the rest of the day. There were fewer attractions this year, made up by a feast of band performances on the Old College square.

We enjoyed a Gurkha Bhat meal, always a treat at the Heritage Day, which we ate while watching a succession of bands and drums. Sadly the Royal Logistic Corps Silver Stars Parachute Display Team show was cancelled due to the windy conditions. Here are our photos of the day. There’ll be an article following about the pace sticking demonstration.

June 2019 local events diary No9: Frimley Green Gardens Open: Sunday 9th June

A big oops – have omitted the floriferous Frimley Green Gardens Open Day event on Sunday 9th June. We’re regular visitors to the gardens, always begining with cake and tea on the Green.

I’ve added the event to my diary recap list HERE.

June 2019 local events diary recap UPDATED

I’ve mentioned eight events [now nine, plus an Aldershot event] in June happening in and around Surrey Heath. Here’s a recap of them in date sequence.

At last I got to visit HMS Belfast moored by Tower Bridge

Just over a week ago I corrected a personal failure, never having visited HMS Belfast when I worked in London in the 1970’s, nor on the hundreds of visits to London since then.

After a luchtime event, a friend and I, took a river taxi to the World War II warship, and enjoyed every minute of our visit, such that, my friend and I, were, I’m sure, the last to leave.

We ventured down into the Engine Room, and further down into the Boiler Room. We marvelled at what it was like for the sailors, when underway, and when at action stations, who negotiated the walkways, steps, numerous trip hazards, and chances to bang one’s head.

There were plenty of reminders of the actions she was involved in. She is moored in a great location, just up river from Tower Bridge, and opposite the skyscrapers of the City of London. The views of these and the river traffic added to the pleasure of the visit.