Bye, bye, baby, Baby goodbye
AB Calum Ballingall with his baby daughter Olivia on board HMS Shoreham.
By Lucy Ashton
Faslane-based Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Shoreham has left her home port at HM Naval Base Clyde to embark on a 6,000 mile journey to the Gulf region.
The 40 men and women on board the Sandown Class Mine Counter Measures Vessel (known as an MCMV) waved farewell to friends and families as they set sail from the Argyll and Bute Base to take over from sister-ship HMS Bangor who has spent the past three-years in the Middle East.
Sailing the ship was Crew 3 from the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1), the Faslane-based force which forms part of the UK’s dedicated Mine Warfare Battle Staff.
“I am immensely proud of my crew, who have worked hard this year to ensure the Royal Navy’s mine counter measures capability remains first class,” said Lieutenant Commander Adrian Visram, Commanding Officer of HMS Shoreham.
“We are looking forward to putting our training into action during our Gulf deployment, carrying out seabed surveys and working as part of an international force helping to keep the region’s sea lanes safe.”
During the deployment HMS Shoreham will meet with Portsmouth mine hunter HMS Brocklesby and work closely with the US Navy Fifth Fleet as part of the 30 nation Combined Maritime Forces and Gulf Cooperation Council.
In preparation for the mission, the crew has recently completed a gruelling five-week Operational Sea Training (OST) package as well as participating in major multi-national exercise Joint Warrior in April.
Able Seaman Elliott Pendrous (22) from the West Midlands, who took part in the training package, said: “The Operational Sea Training has prepared us well for operations. We have conducted a vast range of evolutions, ranging from diving and live explosions to gunnery. Now this team is ready to conduct whatever task is given to us in the deployment ahead.”
For one member of the crew the Gulf deployment will be particularly poignant. Ship’s engineer Warrant Officer Paul Hutchinson (58) from Kent, will make his final voyage with the Royal Navy on board HMS Shoreham having previously served with HMS Norfolk, HMS London and HMS Westminster.
“As my 27 years in the Royal Navy draws to a close, I can say I have some fantastic memories and have visited places many people don’t get to see,” he said. “I hope to make the most of my retirement trip!
“I will miss the Royal Navy, but I’ve got many plans for retirement, starting off with walking from Lands’ End to John O’Groats next year.”
Meanwhile, for Able Seaman Dylan Toomey (24) from Sunderland, Shoreham’s Gulf mission will be his first with the Royal Navy.
“I am excited to deploy for the first time,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the work in the Gulf but also for the chance to experience some different cultures and different cuisines.”
HMS Shoreham and her crew leaves HM Naval Base Clyde on deployment to the Middle East. AB Dylan Toomey, on his first deployment and WO Paul Hutchinson on his final deployment before retiring from the Royal Navy. AB Lily Brindley says a tearful goodbye to her family. AB Ryan MacPhail with his son Nathan before his departure to the Gulf. Pictures by the Royal Navy