Church of Scotland visit to HMS PERSUModerator Susan Brown gets to grips with life at sea with the Royal Navy. This is her  on board Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit’s training boat HMS Pursuer.

By Gavin Carr

Giant aircraft carrier Prince of Wales; HMNB Clyde, the home of the UK Submarine Service, and Royal Marines from Arbroath’s 45 Commando were among the Royal Navy units visited by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

The Right Reverend Susan Brown and her team were out and about at naval establishments on both the east and west coast of Scotland.

They were there to meet some of the men and women who help protect the United Kingdom and learn more about the Senior Service’s presence across the region.

Speaking of her visit, Mrs Brown said: “The trip was a fantastic opportunity to see some of the work being done by the various arms of the Royal Navy, including HMS Prince of Wales, Royal Naval Reserve, Cadets, Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Navy Unit, Royal Marines, pool drill, Royal Marine Band and the charity Aggie’s.

“It’s also been a chance to connect with the Naval community and to see the rich seam of opportunity for so many skills and also for chaplaincy.

“There’s been lots of chances to talk with all sorts of young people about life and faith.”

The Moderator joins Naval Chaplains and military personnel at HMNB Clyde. L-R: Colonel Tony De Reya, Commanding Officer of 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines; Reverend Dr Marjory MacLean, Convener of the Chaplains to Her Majesty’s Forces Committee of the Church of Scotland; Commodore Donald Doull, Naval Base Commander Clyde; Reverend Mark Allsop, Padre to 43 Commando; The Right Reverend Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; Reverend Mark Dalton, HMS Neptune Chaplain; Venerable Martyn Gough QHC, Chaplain of the Fleet; Reverend Professor Scott Shackleton, Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet; and Father Michael Maloney, Naval Base Roman Catholic Officiating Chaplain to the Military. And perts. and the Moderator visits the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Welfare team in Helensburgh.

Royal Navy Chaplains of all denominations play an important role in the Service, connecting with Royal Navy personnel and providing pastoral care, spiritual and moral leadership.  They also play a central part in giving support to the families of naval personnel.

During her visit, the Moderator was accompanied by Deputy Chaplain of the Fleet, the Reverend Professor Scott Shackleton, and staff from Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland’s office.

Together they spent time with Glasgow and Strathclyde University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) and took to the water with them on board patrol boat, HMS Pursuer, for a sail on the River Clyde.

Glasgow’s Royal Navy Reserve Unit HMS Dalriada was also included, as was a tour of BAE Systems’ shipyard at Scotstoun to see the construction of Type 26 HMS Glasgow.

Later in the week the team were at the Royal Navy’s biggest establishment in Scotland – HM Naval Base Clyde – where they met submariners, Royal Marines from 43 Commando, training staff from Flag Officer Sea Training (North), and conducted a tour of mine hunter HMS Grimsby, courtesy of the Faslane-based First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1).

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The Moderator with staff at BAE Systems in Scotstoun, where they are constructing the Type 26 ships.

While at the base, the Moderator also spent time with naval families and charities, and was present for the awarding of a medal to Naval Chaplain, the Reverend Mark Dalton.

Mr Dalton was given his Long Service and Good Conduct medal by Commodore Donald Doull, Naval Base Commander Clyde, in recognition of 15 years of exemplary naval service.

Captain Chris Smith, Naval Regional Commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “It has been a real pleasure and privilege to host the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland this week and showcase the breadth of the Naval Service in Scotland. 

“We are delighted that the Moderator has given us so much time and shown such interest in our people, their families and the operational activities that takes place in and around Scotland, as well as the wider global operations being conducted by Scottish based Units.” 

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