North East patrol vessels visit London

HMS Example recently set out from her home port of Newcastle, for an adventure down south, picking up her sister vessel, HMS Explorer, on the way.

Both vessels were deploying for the Autumn deployment, which will see all 14 ships and crews of First Patrol Boat Squadron (1PBS) in Portsmouth for 1PBS conference and Squadron Exercise (SQUADEX), an important part of the cycle of P2000 operations.

The first port of call for both ships was a brief stopover in Great Yarmouth, and then through a very choppy sea to London. For some of the crew and University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) students embarked, this was the first time coming up the Thames and into the nation’s capital.

Officer Cadet (OC) Lennon-Butler said, “It was an amazing opportunity to be able to see all of the famous landmarks from a completely different perspective, and is an opportunity I never thought I would have!”

Once berthed next to the iconic Tower Bridge, both vessels undertook various tasking.

The first was a day with the coastal forces heritage trust, discussing the plans for a new museum which will be opened in Gosport. This will document the fascinating history of the Coastal forces in the Royal Navy, as well as featuring two vintage coastal force patrol boats (one from WW1 and the other from WW2). 1PBS is a direct descendant of the WW2 coastal forces, and as such retains close ties to the trust. 

It was an amazing opportunity to be able to see all of the famous landmarks from a completely different perspective, and is an opportunity I never thought I would have

Officer Cadet Lennon-Butler

In the afternoon, Example had the privilege of taking veterans of the trust to sea on a modern day inshore patrol boat, with the Commanding Officer (CO) getting quite jealous when one of the veterans described his gas turbine powered fast patrol boat from many years ago!

Anyone who is interested in the Coastal forces Heritage Trust and their work, can find further information on their website: http://www.coastal-forces.org.uk/.

On the next day, both ship participated in delivering the Navy Board to Greenwich Old Naval College, and returning them to HMS President. During the day, Explorer, followed by Example became the senior ship afloat in the RN for a very short period, whilst embarking the First Sea Lord!

This was an outstanding opportunity for the crews and students to meet the guiding body of the Royal Navy, whilst demonstrating the versatility of 1PBS and the P2000 ships.

Alongside both of the above, the ships were regularly taking small groups up the river as part of the month long celebration of Totally Thames, this was a rare opportunity for members of the public to interact with RN personnel underway, and a chance for a waterside view of their home city.

The Executive Officer (XO) of Example, Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Stroud said, “It was good to be able to interact with the general public, and to be able to show off the ships, in such a prestigious environment”.

On completion of their hectic week in London, both ships then proceeded on passage south to Portsmouth, and to prepare for the long awaited SQUADEX.