Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Latest Blog from HMS Daring

Good Morning Campers,

Sorry but it’s been a little while since I have been able to get on here and tell you about what I’ve been up to. Well, it’s been hectic as usual and right now I’m sat in the Chart House but the ship isn’t moving , in fact DARING is sat in dry dock having a little bit of engineering work done to her. It’s the first time she’s been out of the water since she was launched in 2006. What a sight she is too – have a look at the photo of some of my shipmates ranging her anchor cable into the dock bottom. HUGE!

A brief visit to Den Helder in Holland at the end of June gave us the opportunity to present Daring to the Royal Netherlands Navy and have a Ship’s Company photograph taken in the glorious sunshine. We returned to take our affiliates and families to sea for a Day out in the English Channel. It’s the one opportunity in the year that we get to say thanks to all those who have supported us in some way or another. The day was enjoyed by all, with the Ship’s helicopter even making an appearance. The day wasn’t all fun and games for the Ship’s Fighter controllers were conducting a radar trial with Royal Navy Hawk jets who, after the trial, came in low and fast to wow those watching on the upper deck.

You might have noticed some service personnel on your TV screens whilst the Wimbledon competition was running this year. Daring also sent a couple of her Ship’s Company to help steward the event. One of our guys gave the father of Serena and Venus Williams (Richard) a Daring Baseball cap and he’s photographed here wearing it at the final between Serena and her opponent Vera Zvonareva. Serena went on to win.

So there’s a lot to be done now to get DARING ship shape in time for Navy Days but I’d say we’re on track and I’m looking forward to refloating DARING in the dock as I wasn’t here when she went in!

Navy Days takes place from Friday 30th July - Sunday 1st August. For more information or to buy tickets visit: www.navydaysuk.co.uk

Monday, 5 July 2010

Final Armed Forces Day blog....pulling together with wartime spirit due to power cut!

Well… this is my final blog about Armed Forces day, and to be honest I’m not quite sure where to start or how to explain the day but I’ll try.

On Saturday morning on my way to work I overheard someone explaining that Portsmouth had a power cut. I didn’t know then quite what effect this was going to have on the rest of the day. I walked into work with nerves and excitement, only to be met by some very worried faces. The power had cut off on the Friday night and the dockyard had no power. Now out of everything that could go wrong that had been running through my head over the days before, all the double checking I’d done, the last thing I expected was a power cut! No power meant no event right? My heart was pounding as we waited to for any news. We kept ourselves busy and started the set up, but I couldn’t get the thoughts out my head, how disappointed will the public be, will I be, or even worse, the veterans be? How could we let no power stop us remembering and thanking the people that have fought for us. As we all grouped together and got everything ready there was a sense of unity and Britishness.

Finally the news came in that the event could go ahead. I don’t think the word relieved does the feeling I got justice. Now the manic rush to get everything sorted. The field kitchen didn’t need electric, so that could go ahead, the band (bar the electric piano) could play, which meant the lindy hopper dancers would still be able to come. Unfortunately it meant no cups of tea and coffee could be served (just when a cuppa would have gone down nicely!) but we had squash and drinks at the ready. Thanks to the many volunteers we had everything was ready to go.

At about half past one I glanced down the dockyards to see swarms of people walking up, this is it I thought, the past few months hard work was about to pay off. As the event got into full swing with the lively music and the dancing, everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves, young and old alike. The arena seemed full of life, and excitement. The rationed food went down well, with many people willing to try the war time recipes, and the field kitchen kept people intrigued. The veterans got the chance to share their experiences with the public, which was the main point of the event, and I got to chat to a few of them as well.
The event was a huge success with over 1000 people coming down, and yes the weather held out for us! Armed forces was all I’d expected and more, and from the comments and feedback we have had everybody seemed to enjoy it, it was certainly bigger and better. Anyway, better go and start planning next years!

Rowannah Martin-Cottee
Events Assistant
National Museum of the Royal Navy