Sailors teach children about life on HMS ST Albans

Sailors from Portsmouth based Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans have been to Solent Infant School in Farlington to tell pupils what it’s like to live and work on board a Royal Navy warship.

The children have been learning about all things maritime in their topic called ‘Ahoy There’ and were keen to hear about the Royal Navy directly from the experts.

Pupils heard about the Navy’s role providing security at sea, the fight against modern day smugglers and pirates and how the crew are trained to fight fires on board.

As more than 35 of its pupils come from service families the school has developed close links with the navy in recent years.

I sent regular email updates to Orin’s class whilst we were away so it’s been great to meet some of the children who followed our travels and re-unite Hoggee bear with his class-mates.

Lieutenant Commander Jamie Walker

The ship took the relationship further, by inviting the school teddy bear ‘Hoggee’ to join the 220 crew on their recent nine-month deployment to the Middle East - sending back regular photos of the bear with stories of the ships travels.

Lieutenant Commander Jamie Walker, who organised the visit, is the ships Marine Engineering Officer and proud dad to six-year old Orin, a year two pupil at Solent Infant School.

Lt Cdr Walker said: “I sent regular email updates to Orin’s class whilst we were away so it’s been great to meet some of the children who followed our travels and re-unite Hoggee bear with his class-mates. 

“We sailed more than 38,000 miles and visited ten different countries so there was always plenty to talk about.”

The crew took along naval uniform and fire-fighting kit for the children to try out and answered lots of questions.

Leading Chef Helen Byrne talked about feeding hundreds of people on a busy warship and her role in the firefighting team whist Leading Engineering Technician Neil White spoke about looking after the huge engines and machinery on board.

Sub Lieutenant  Alfie Sadler, a young officer in training on HMS St Albans, loved his afternoon at Solent Infants and said: “I was a teaching assistant in a primary school before I joined the Navy so it was great to back in a school environment telling the children what it’s like on board ship.

“They had so many questions and really enjoyed hearing all about the Royal Navy.”