Visit to HMS Northumberland 3rd April 2008
On behalf of The Worshipful Company of Bowyers, John and Lesley Ellery accepted the invitation to attend a cocktail party on board HMS Northumberland during the time she was visiting "Home" in North Shields, between exercises. She was due to sail to Dublin the next day.
100 key local dignitaries, business personnel and "sponsors" were invited to the gathering on Thursday evening 3rd April 2008. The weather was perfect - 15 degrees and blue sky. They were invited back the following day for a full tour of the ship.
HMS Northumberland is painted with radar reflecting paint, has a crew of 180, a third of whom are female. In the engine room there are 3 Rolls Royce Gas Turbine engines, and apart from servicing times, is devoid of personnel. To keep fit, a number of the crew run round the deck - 7 circuits is equivalent to one mile.
John and Lesley met a number of ratings and officers and were lucky enough to meet with Chief Petty Officer Shane Marsh - who asked to be remembered to the The Master! He is responsible for the maintenance of the Seawolf missile system that is installed on the Type 23 Frigate. These missiles travel at mach 2.1 - 5 miles in 5 seconds!! John and Lesley were lucky enough to witness a full simulated Air Defense Exercise in the control room which was a true eye opener. The crew were dressed in anti-flash white fireproof uniform. They also made a visit to the cockpit of the £55million Merlin helicopter. It accommodates 16 people, and has a total range of 800 miles, including 2 hours hovering time.
The Captain - Commander Martin Simpson was also delighted to meet them as representatives of The Bowyers and was very interested to hear more about us.
The evening ended with the Captain taking the Sunset colours to "The day thou gavest Lord has ended"
A great experience and one that will not be forgotten!