UK: 3,000 People Crowd to HMS Raleigh during Open Day

Around 3,000 members of the public took the opportunity to take a look inside HMS Raleigh when the Royal Navy training base opened its gate to the public on Thursday 28 July.

Local people, holiday makers, potential recruits and veterans looking for a trip down memory lane were among the visitors. Visitors travelled from a far afield as Yorkshire to attend the event.

Matthew White, aged 24, from Doncaster, is half-way through the recruitment process to join the Royal Navy as a submariner.

He travelled to HMS Raleigh with his mother and step-father, Barbara and Gerald Caygill.

He said:

“Coming to Raleigh has spurred me on even more to join. I’ve been to the Submarine School and spent a lot of time there. It’s been good also speaking to some of the recruits.”

For Saltash resident Diane Conn, the open day satisfied a childhood curiosity. She persuaded her friend Kathy Elliott, from St Germans, to come along with her.

Diane said:

“I went to school in Torpoint and always wanted to come to HMS Raleigh. It’s been fabulous. We really enjoyed the cookery demonstration and sampled all the food.”

“I don’t think we’ve seen everything, but it really has been a lovely day out.”

A group of 15 veterans, who are members of the Newport Royal Naval Association travelled from South Wales to attend the day.

Gordon Williams, who organised the trip, said:

“We came because we are all ex-Navy and want to keep in touch with the Service. We’ve been made very welcome and have had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.”

“I’ve got a lovely photo of me aged 16, on the steps over there on the parade ground. It’s lovely to come back. We’re all very proud to be Navy and to be here today.”

Former sailor Paris Campbell-Martin drove five hours from Essex to show her 13-year-old son Cameron Campbell-Gore and his best friend Joe Bailey what it is like to be in the Royal Navy.

She said:

“I passed out of HMS Raleigh 20 years ago. I was one of the first WRENs to go to sea. Sam has recently joined the Sea Cadets and I wanted him to see what I had experienced in the Navy.”

“We’ve had a fantastic day. The boys have held all the guns. For me it’s been very nostalgic. Plymouth has really changed since I was last here, but this place doesn’t seem any different.”

“I could literally put my uniform back on and there’s my accommodation block. I can remember it all really clearly.”

The Mallett family from Stowmarket decided to come to Raleigh a day early. Their son, Ben, aged 17, is on parade today (Friday 29 July) to mark the completion of his 10 weeks initial naval training.

Mervyn Mallett said:

” The whole family have come down today to see Ben pass out which we are really looking forward to. The PT centre and activities have given us a huge insight into what they have to do in their training.”

Highlights of the Open Day included the chance to watch Royal Navy recruits undergoing their 10 week training course.

In the Royal Navy Submarine School, visitors were able to try their hands at Morse code and listen to the sounds of the ocean, gathered by the cutting edge sonar equipment used on submarines.

Interactive touch screens in HMS Raleigh’s new heritage and communication centre allowed visitors to find out about the Royal Navy’s illustrious past.

Younger guests were challenged to put their creative skills to the test and design a warship in a competition hosted by VT Flagship.

As well as displays showing the diverse range of training carried out at the establishment, visitors were also able to look around a Royal Navy Lynx helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, based at Yeovilton and other military equipment and hardware.

Musicians from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Plymouth showed the range of their talent, playing two functions sets performing popular music from the charts and then took on their more conventional role providing a marching display finale to the event.

Commander Mick Harris, the Commander HMS Raleigh, said:

“We’re delighted that so many people took the opportunity to visit us. We hope they’ve gone away with a real appreciation of the range of training we carry out here and the quality of our people.”


Source: royalnavy, August 2, 2011;