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A busy year for HMS Enterprise

Passing Drake Island

13/04/2012

The last 12 months have been varied and busy for the officers and crew of HMS Enterprise, the Royal Devonshire Yeomanry’s affiliated ship. Having transiting the Suez Canal in late May, it was a fast passage across the Mediterranean with a whistle stop visit in Gibraltar before finally returning home after a long period in the Middle-East.

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There is no rest for the wicked however and August kicked off the Shakedown phase of getting the mighty ‘E’ up to the standard required to re-deploy in November.

The training began in earnest with the visit by the Devonport Flotilla Operational Assurance Visit team. Over the two day period that the team were embarked the ship was put through several training serials including man overboard exercises, fire exercises and live weapon testing.

The ship then spent the next six weeks being put through its paces – being attacked, burnt, flooded and gassed on a regular basis (all ‘for exercise’ of course!) to prove her ability to set to sea safely as part of the Operational Sea Training package.

This was followed by a short maintenance period in October when substantial work was carried out throughout the Ship in order to repair defects, maintain existing systems and upgrade to new systems. It also involved adding that extra lick of paint so that the Ship will be able to face the challenges of the less benign weather during her next deployment to the South Atlantic.

To round off a busy period back in UK waters HMS Enterprise strengthened ties by hosting her Affiliates on board for a day. Ninety six affiliate members joined the ship for the day; these included the Ship’s Sponsor Lady Forbes, the Worshipful Company of Cutlers, the Royal Devonshire Yeomanry, Tiverton Sea Cadets and school children from both Heathcoat and Two Moors Schools.

Members of a local Royal British Legion also joined the Affiliate Day’s activities that included Firefighting, Seaboat and Weapon/Force Protection displays as well as sea bed sampling in the Baltic Room.

Enterprise then sailed in November for the South Atlantic where the weather presented a significant challenge to our normal activities.

Within 4 hours the wind and sea can go from calm and pleasant to near-gale conditions, lumpy seas and stormy skies. Eventually the wind turned to southerly and all of a sudden the small part of South Atlantic we were in looked very much like the Southern Oceans; we gained a different perspective on how far south we really were. The 4-metre waves soon proved too much even for us and we sought shelter in harbour.

The ship turned her bows northwards again in February and is now back in the UK after a long trip home (and an all-too-short stop over in Barbados!). She will be taking part in a multi-national joint force exercise based in Faslane, Scotland, before completing another maintenance and sea training package and then deploying to the Middle East once again in the summer.

With such a variety of operations and locations the last year has been an amazing experience for the ship. We have steamed close to 30,000 nautical miles and the galley has produced over 63,000 meals including 7.3 metric tonnes of potatoes!

We have proven our capability in all latitudes, but we’ve not forgotten our friends and made sure we had our favourite Royal Yeomanry over for a visit. We are proud of affiliation with the Yeomen and are looking forward to the next opportunity to host.




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