Himley Hall Armed Forces Day 2015

      The SWA had been invited back to this year’s Armed Forces Day at Himley Hall, Dudley, West Midlands, after a very successful event last year.
      Four SWA members were displaying RN ships, Trevor Davis, Gordon Tiley, Monty Chappell and myself, Adrian Clutterbuck with support from respective wives and partners.   The day started overcast, but the sun broke through the clouds at lunchtime for a very hot afternoon.   Thanks, Gordon for bringing along your gazebo.   There were a number of highlights during the day which I shall mention.
      Firstly Trevor managed to get his Yamato battleship drift into the thick weed and had to be abandoned for a while.  It took an hour before it could be rescued.    Photo shows the large amount of weed wrapped around the propellers and rudder.   A check later revealed only one working prop shaft - the other 3 jammed solid (back to the dockyard).
      The real HMS Daring, a type 45 destroyer is affiliated with Birmingham, and Officers and Petty Officers were visiting the Armed Forces Day as Official Guests.  They spent a considerable amount of time with us on the SWA stand, asking questions about the Association and the Warships on display.  Photos show Gordon talking with Senior Officers on the stand and later demonstrating his HMS Rodney to some of the crew.   HMS Rodney as a model is very impressive, with a working smoke unit, signal lamps, search lights and traversing gun turrets.  Added to this is the sound effects from the film “Sink The Bismarck,” namely lookouts and officers in action – all fed through speakers on the model and co-ordinated with the gun movements and firing – as I say very impressive!  Rodney is also fully operational on the water.
      When Gordon had finished his demonstration one of the Daring crew was heard to say “MM, better than the modern real ship!!”  However due to the official secrets Act we cannot name the person or confirm the comment.
      The last of the photographs show Trevor deep in conversation with a Lieutenant Commander from HMS Daring.  But what was the question that put young Trevor on the spot?  Caption competition?
      From the RN visit I found out further details of the real ship.  HMS Daring was the first Type 45 of her class and is at the forefront of the Royal Navy’s modern technology.  With a complement of 190, she can react to the current full spectrum of military activity.   An example of this is Daring has had a very busy life since her commissioning in 2009, but her most recent success was her circumnavigation of the globe from May 2013 to February 2014.   During this time she conducted important radar trials in the Pacific Ocean, helped relieve the stricken islands of the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan struck in late 2013 and conducted wider regional engagements in the Far East Asia over Christmas 2013 and early 2014.   Daring is now (June 2015) alongside in Portsmouth undergoing essential maintenance (all information written in the public domain).
      Overall an excellent day and already the SWA has been asked to provide another display stand at the 2016 Armed Forces Day at Dudley.

                                                                                               Adrian Clutterbuck
                                                                                                        Area I C Representative.