URNU Acquaint with the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron, Summer 2011.
After rather a scary landing due to a very short runway I arrived in Gibraltar where I would be spending the next two weeks; but this wasn’t just a holiday in the sun.
Every summer for the past few years, nine URNU students have been given the opportunity to spend two weeks with the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron (RNGS), with three students on each phase.
The Squadron plays an important role in Gibraltar and are tasked with maintaining British sovereign waters by ensuring there are no incursions from foreign boats, and ensuring the safe passage of HVUs (High Value Units) into Gibraltar by providing an escort.
The unit has two Patrol Launches, HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, and a number of RHIBs. During our time with the squadron we went on patrol with both the Patrol Launches and the RHIBs. This gave us the chance to take part in an escort and a gunnery practice.
In between patrols we were able to visit other military units on Gibraltar. We saw the decompression chambers at the Royal Navy Clearance Diving Unit and on a visit to the RAF EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) Unit, we were able to drive the robot and try on the bomb disposal suit.
We also visited the Unit which monitors shipping transiting the Gibraltar Straits ensuring no foreign ships enter British sovereign waters, and Monkeys Caves where empty shells are kept and processed once they have been fired. (Some shells dated back as far as World War II!)
In addition to spending time with the Squadron, we saw the tourist attractions on the rock, such as the WWII and the Siege tunnels inside the rock and the Barbary apes chasing one of the other URNU students on top of the rock!
The weekends provided a chance to enjoy the Gibraltar sunshine and relax by the pool. A few nights were spent sampling the nightlife in Casemates and at the marina, as well as having a few JCs at the “Donkey’s Flip-flop.” We even crossed the border into Spain for some delicious tapas.
Our trip provided an insight into the crucial role the Royal Navy still plays in Gibraltar and how they work with other units to ensure safety is maintained on The Rock.
I feel very privileged to have been given the chance to spend time in Gibraltar with the RNGS and did not want to come home, but after an amazing two weeks, it was time to face that runway again!