In addition to its enduring commitments around the globe and long-term missions such as the Gulf and Afghanistan, the Royal Navy is frequently called upon at short notice to carry out vital, unexpected tasks.
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Over the past decade alone, the men and women of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have demonstrated their ability to act at immediate notice in events which have often shaken the world.
They were dispatched to prevent Sierra Leone descending into anarchy and civil war, helped pull British – and foreign – civilians out of the Lebanon in 2006 amid fighting between the forces of Israel and Hezbollah, and dashed across the North Atlantic to deliver aid to the people of Haiti in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Among the more unusual missions carried out have been repairing the harbour at Tristan da Cunha, and ferrying home several hundred soldiers and civilians from northern Spain in April 2010 when a volcanic ash cloud grounded most air traffic in northern Europe.
Most recently, Royal Navy vessels have been sent to the Gulf of Sirte to support United Nations Security Council resolutions and protect the free peoples of Libya in their struggle with the regime of Colonel Gaddafi.
That mission off Libya – codenamed Ellamy – saw cruise missile strikes against the regime’s military machine launched from HMS Triumph, mines dealt with by HMS Brocklesby and HMS Liverpool firing her 4.5in gun in anger, as well as directing the Coalition aerial effort in Libyan skies.
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