HMS Hurworth give West End star Alfie Boe taste of life at sea

West End star Alfie Boe learnt all about the Seafox mine disposal system as he spent a day aboard HMS Hurworth for a Remembrance season documentary.

The singer – whose clocked up over one million record sales in addition to pulling in punters in top shows such as Les Miserables – features in one of a series of programmes for the BBC about famous people experiencing a taste of what their ancestors went through in the two world wars as part of its coverage leading up to the Festival of Remembrance and November 11 ceremonies.

In Alfie’s case, that meant a day with the Portsmouth-based minehunter for a 21st Century glimpse of what his grandfather endured in WW2 aboard RN minesweepers keeping the sea lanes around the UK clear.

While the Fighting Aces – as Hurworth’s crew like to be called – couldn’t recreate wartime conditions, the tail end of Storm Ali created rough conditions in the Channel for the Hunt-class ship for an authentic flavour of a patrol.

Having seen Alfie perform on TV, it was a privilege to meet someone so talented in their field. I was also struck by how interested he was about life in the Royal Navy and how we operate – but that’s understandable after hearing about his family’s connections to the service,

Diver ‘Mac’ McMenemy

Sailors treated their guest to a tour of the vessel, the ‘tight’ 25-man mess, a fire-fighting demonstration and then got down to the business of minehunting, from scanning the seabed in the ops room to Seafox being prepare for launching to investigate – and possibly destroy – underwater explosive ordnance. 

“Having seen Alfie perform on TV, it was a privilege to meet someone so talented in their field. I was also struck by how interested he was about life in the Royal Navy and how we operate – but that’s understandable after hearing about his family’s connections to the service,” said Diver ‘Mac’ McMenemy.

His Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Heward, added: “It was really great so see Alfie interact with the ship’s company and for him to gain an understanding of what life might have been like at sea for his family during the war.

“It was also an opportunity for the ship to demonstrate how important the UK’s mine hunting capability is to the safety of our international trade.”

Hurworth’s crew are spending the autumn training in the UK before heading out to the Gulf in 2019 to take charge of one of two Hunt-class ships based in Bahrain as part of the RN’s permanent mine warfare force in the Middle East.