Crowds enjoy Raleigh Open Day

Over 3,000 people from the local area and further afield took the opportunity to take a look around HMS Raleigh on 1 Aug.

The Royal Navy training base in Torpoint threw its gates open to visitors for a free event for families, veterans and those interested in a Service career.

Highlights of the day included the chance to take a close look at a Wildcat helicopter and a Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boat.  The Royal Marines were on hand with an unarmed combat display and a climbing wall.

Other attractions in the arena included a junior and senior Field Gun run performed by the Carbeile Junior School and HMS Raleigh teams. 

The Devon and Cornwall police dogs and their handlers and horses from the Royal Naval and Royal Marines Stables were also on show. 

Members of the Royal Navy Raiders parachute display team dropped into HMS Raleigh to close the event.

Among the families travelling to Torpoint were Vicki Nimmo, her daughter, Maya Cox and Vicki’s father, Andrew Nimmo, from Somerset. 

Vicki said:  “We’ve come to the open day for a few reasons.  My daughter is interested in joining, my dad was here 50 years ago and my sister was also here. 

“It’s been a nice day.  It’s nice to see dad enjoying it and Maya’s buzzing.  We spoke to a lovely girl earlier who was really full of enthusiasm.”

For Andrew Nimmo there had been number of changes since he first walked through the gates.  He said:  “There’s a lot of concrete, no wooden blocks anymore.  It was all wood in those days.  The parade ground is exactly the same.

“It was the best days of my life.  The advert on the television is right.  Once you are in the Royal Navy, you are made in the Royal Navy.  It stays with you forever.  It’s been a wonderful day out, but that’s the Royal Navy.  I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Visitors were also able to look around the Royal Navy Submarine School, try their hand at fire-fighting at the Royal Navy School of Maritime Survival and meet recruits in their accommodation block. 

Chefs and stewards from the Defence Maritime Logistics School gave a cookery display and invited a group of lucky diners to taste their creations.

Jennifer Orton, from Plymouth, was visiting with her two sons Ryan, aged nine, and six-year-old Archie.  She said:  “We came to the Open Day a couple of years ago and had a good day then, so decided it would be a good thing to do again.  It’s free and the boys love it.”

Traditionally HMS Raleigh has opened its gate to the public every two years.  This year’s organiser, Lieutenant Ross Lyth, said:  “The aim of the event this time was to build on the success of previous years and show people a little bit about what we do at HMS Raleigh and introduce them to the wider Naval Service with the Royal Marines and the Wildcat helicopter for example.  It’s been a great day and we are delighted that so many people have taken the time to come along.”

It’s been a wonderful day out, but that’s the Royal Navy. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

Andrew Nimmo