Save the Children Thanks HMS Bulwark

As Amphibious Assault Ship HMS Bulwark prepared to make her return to Devonport today, Save the Children presented the Captain and members of the Ship’s Company with a ‘Book of Thanks’ for her humanitarian mission in the Mediterranean.

The pages within result from an incredibly successful social media campaign by Save the Children asking members of the public to contribute messages of thanks to Bulwark for rescuing scores of frightened children from their dangerously overcrowded and unseaworthy boats.

Presenting the book on the Flight Deck of HMS Bulwark, the home to 3 Merlin Helicopters during Op WEALD, was Save the Children Director of Campaigns, Kirsty McNeill with Save the Children staff and volunteers.

Of HMS Bulwark’s life-saving mission, Chief Executive of Save the Children Justin Forsyth said: "Save the Children would like to say a heartfelt Thank You to the crew of HMS Bulwark for their life saving work these past months. 

Our mantra was ‘to save lives and lessen suffering’ and that’s precisely what we’ve done.

Captain Nick Cooke-Priest RN

He continued, “Families fleeing unimaginable terror have been rescued and our Royal Navy should feel immensely proud."

During her 60 day mission, HMS Bulwark rescued almost 5000 people from their stricken wooden and rubber boats, including many pregnant women and unaccompanied children, often suffering from exposure, dehydration and sea sickness after their perilous journey from Libya.

Receiving the ‘Book of Thanks’ on behalf of the 450 sailors and Royal Marines of the Ship’s Company, the Commanding Officer, Captain Nick Cooke-Priest said: “At the outset of Operation WEALD our mantra was ‘to save lives and lessen suffering’ and that’s precisely what we’ve done.”

“It is a real honour to receive such a wonderful book, a physical sign of public support in recognition of the success of our mission, and I am proud of my entire Ship’s Company for having made such a difference.”

Along with 3 Merlin helicopters from 814 Squadron in Cornwall providing the ‘eyes in the sky’, HMS Bulwark was directed by the Prime Minister to conduct her Search and Rescue mission in the Central Mediterranean following the public outcry at the tragic loss of life so starkly represented in the Media in April.

Also present during the presentation was MP for Devonport, Oliver Colvile.