HMS Dauntless Visits Lisbon, Portugal
HMS Dauntless visited Lisbon in Portugal on her journey to the South Atlantic, bringing a new crewmember – Percy the bear.
This is the Navy’s latest globe-trotting mascot, enjoying his first foreign port on the maiden deployment of Britain’s most-advanced warship, HMS Dauntless: Lisbon in Portugal.
The bear was donated to the Type 45 destroyer by one of her affiliates: the Percy Hedley Foundation.
The teddy, looked after aboard by 23-year-old communications expert AB(CIS) Danielle Nowakowska, will be providing regular updates on the Portsmouth warship’s progress during her six months away for the foundation, which supports children and adults with communication and language difficulties in the Newcastle area – Dauntless’ affiliated city.
As yet the Geordie bear doesn’t have an official name (despite being onboard for two years) – a competition to give him a proper moniker is imminent, which means he can be entered in the ship’s book… and earn official ship’s company status. He has, however, very originally been nicknamed Percy by the 200 souls aboard – a name which is likely to stick.
“He has been with us for a long time now and he knows the ropes, I’m not sure if he understands me when I talk to him, but I’m pretty sure he is excited to be going on this deployment and all the new places we’ll get to visit,” says Danielle, pictured above with the cuddly toy on Dauntless’ sprawling flight deck – and Lisbon’s famous Cristo Rey statue in the background.
Pictures of the bear onboard have been regularly sent back to the Percy Hedley Foundation, to keep the children there amused over the last two years, with crew members from the ship also visiting when their busy programme allows.
“If he keeps growing in popularity at the rate he is now, I will have no choice but to promote him for his services to morale” said Captain Will Warrender , the ship’s Commanding Officer.
‘Percy’ is one of three teddies officially deployed presently on Royal Navy vessels: Lt Rocky is ‘helping’ submarine HMS Triumph on her patrol in the Middle East, while Prince Bishop is enjoying the sights of Scotland aboard flagship HMS Bulwark, currently leading the biggest military exercise in the UK for years, Joint Warrior.
As for Dauntless, she’s bound for the South Atlantic and is planned to return to the UK in November, after a deployment which will provide maritime security to British interests throughout West Africa and all British overseas territories in the wider southern ocean.
Naval Today Staff , April 26, 2012; Image: royalnvay