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Life on the ocean wave

Published on: 11 February 2020

The nature of the duties, often at very short notice, of HMS Tyne, our affiliated Royal Navy ship, is such that invitations to go aboard are invariably at very short notice - the two we received recently certainly were. 

We’re always excited to receive such offers and thrilled that we were able to muster a crew on both occasions.

Early January saw four Liverymen, Paul Jackson, William Emus, John Absalom and Young Butcher, Rachel Barnwell (pictured above) being entertained by Captain CDR Jon Browett and crew on an overnight visit from Portsmouth while Master Tim Dumenil, Past Master Ian Kelly, the Clerk and Liverymen John Absalom, Chris Godfrey, Ray Playford, Barry Wilson and Nigel Cooksey boarded for two short visits in the Port of London earlier this month.

From Portsmouth early sightings of our two new Aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, moored one behind the other, set the scene for a spectacular “hands-on” visit.

On board manoeuvres included marvelling at the ship’s company practising a man overboard drill, which involved launching one of the ship’s two sea boats, a Rib while Tyne was still steaming ahead.

Little did our crew know that they would be lowered into the very same Rib wearing dry suits, boots and helmets as Tyne travelled at around 20 knots. This was quite an experience, as was bouncing off the tops of the waves, hanging on for dear life while taking turns at the helm - to say nothing of experiencing being physically hoisted back on board with a rope and a wire cable while still in the Rib.

Watching the crew on live ammunition firing practice at a large orange plastic target some 100 metres away with a 20mm cannon was exhilarating although our “crew” had been pleased to record that all appropriate safety procedures had been observed to a fault.

Apparently, Liverymen pulling the trigger and letting loose some 20-30 shells in quick succession was a never-to-be-forgotten exercise.

Needless to say our intrepid crew were entertained throughout in true Navy fashion, experiencing the Bridge, the hospitality of the Captain’s quarters and the mess while exchanging stories and escapades of a life on the ocean wave between members of HM’s Navy, and adventures in the meat industry from Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Butchers.

Inevitably, once our team found their sea legs, nothing was going to stop them adapting to life at sea. All agreed it had been a fantastic experience and were sorry to leave HMS Tyne… possibly something to do with having to climb down a wobbly ladder to board the boat ferrying them from Spithead to the Royal Navy Dockyard and home!

Thanks were extended to Captain Browett and the crew of HMS Tyne for a very special experience.