London’s Royal Naval Reserve Members Secured Olympic Games

London’s Royal Naval Reserve Members Secured Olympic Games

They are not just assisting the effort at the Olympic Park, North Greenwich Dome, Greenwich Park and other events in the capital, but also the security shield around Weymouth Bay, where HMS Bulwark is acting as a floating command centre for a joint military-police effort.

Among the President team supporting Operation Olympics are:

Lieutenants Sara Howitt and Katie Kendrick

When many of her Royal Naval Reserve (RNR) colleagues took a well-earned rest after the Olympics, Lt Sara Howitt and Katie Kendrick remained afloat in RFA Mounts Bay off the South Coast as members of the Royal Navy’s maritime security team.

In civilian life Brighton-based Sara, 39, is an engineering consultant specialising in the design of air, land and maritime unmanned systems for the defence and security markets.

Katie, 36, from East Sheen, is a strategic management consultant with Mayfair-based the Nichols Group when not performing her naval duties. Swapping their civilian jobs for their RNR roles as amphibious warfare officers, Sara and Katie spent the Games working as “Ship to Objective Manoeuvre” (STOM) watchkeepers.

That role involved co-ordinating boat movements and short-notice tasking for the Royal Marines, 17 Port and Maritime Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, Royal Navy diving units, the Dorset Police and the ship’s company.

Sara said:

My mobilisation has been such a rewarding experience. It has given me the chance to support the security of the Olympic sailing events while gaining valuable experience in my RNR branch. Fortunately I’ve been able to watch an event or two as well.”

Katie added:

It was a great honour taking part in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant back in June. And also being able to play an active role supporting the security of the Olympic sailing events has made this such a memorable year.

Sara joined the RNR in 2008, having previously spent seven years in the University Royal Naval Unit (URNU) while completing a BSc in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Glasgow.

Her reservist career has taken her so far to France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Albania and Italy.

Katie joined the RNR in 1999 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 for seven months where she worked in an Operations Centre in Kabul as Deputy Chief of Media Operations.

She holds the Afghanistan Operational medal, the NATO medal for operational service in Afghanistan, the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal and the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

In addition to her time in landlocked Afghanistan, Katie’s sea time in the RNR has taken her to Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Poland.

With its strong connections with Britain’s naval heritage, Greenwich Park was the obvious choice to focus the major effort of the Maritime Reserve’s security efforts for the London Games. More than 270 Maritime Reservists nationally helped provide the security at the venue, including 27 from HMS President alone.

Before arriving at Greenwich Park, the reservists were trained for eight days in civilian-style conflict management, personnel and bag searching, and X-ray machine operation. They lived at Chatham Barracks for the duration of the Games, travelling in early each day to the Greenwich venue.

Sub Lt Claire Lamont, 29, originally from West Kirby, is a solicitor working with Eversheds LLP in Birmingham and London in civilian life. She was appointed a team leader at Greenwich Park, primarily responsible for the operation of two airport-style security lanes.

I managed a team of ten people,” Claire said.

Our roles were as wide ranging as operating the security lanes to guarding the cross country jumps in a thunder storm while members of the public walked the course.”

Claire found the whole experience rewarding personally, despite the 4am wakeup calls:

I enjoyed being a part of the London Games and know that it was a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.

There was a great team spirit amongst all my reserve colleagues, and the members of the public we were dealing with were cooperative, friendly and happy to see the Armed Forces running the security for the venue.”

Claire joined the RNR in 2011. After initial sea time in HMS Bulwark, she recently passed her Fleet Board examinations to gain her commission.

Claire attended West Kirby Grammar School where she was a member of the Combined Cadet Force. She went on to study Law at the University of Cambridge, where she was a member of the URNU. Claire lives in Westminster today with fiancé Richard Notley, also a member of the RNR at HMS President.

 CPO Keith Bartram and PO Tim Bell

CPO Keith Bartram, 56, from Hertford and PO Tim ‘Dinger’ Bell, 50, from Dagenham, also provided venue security at Greenwich Park. Keith and Tim were appointed second-in-charge of security teams welcoming the public to the venue.

As a member of the capital’s Royal Naval Reserve unit I have been proud to be part of the security team making the London Olympics and Paralympics safe for the visiting public,” Keith said.

Keith’s wide ranging RNR career has taken him to the USA, Norway, Yemen and a number of Mediterranean and Caribbean countries.

A communications specialist, a highlight of Keith’s career was his mobilisation to Yemen in 2007 to train members of the Yemeni Navy in this important skill. He also served full time with the Royal Navy as a communications instructor at HMS Collingwood in Fareham from 2009 to 2011.

Keith holds the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal with three clasps, and the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals. He lives in Hertford with his wife Teresa, daughter Ella (13) and son Tor (11).

Working in a team alongside Keith, Tim found the whole experience one of the highlights of his RNR career.

This was one of the most enjoyable drafts I have had,” Tim said.

To be part of the team ensuring that the London Games went off safely, and that the security measures actually made arriving at the events fun for the public, is something I will be proud of all my life.

A local territory support engineer with NCR in civilian life, Tim joined the RNR in 1992. He is a specialist ‘skill at arms’ instructor, teaching RNR personnel to be safe and accurate when using firearms. He also assists with ceremonial training.

Tim was mobilised from 2008 to 2009 leading force protection teams in the northern Gulf guarding Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in port and at sea.

In this time he visited Dubai, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and South Africa. Throughout his wide-ranging RNR career Tim also visited the USA, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Portugal and Spain, where he spent a period deployed in a Spanish aircraft carrier.

Tim holds the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal with clasp, the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and the Iraq medal. He moved to Dagenham in 1994, where he lives today with his wife Margaret and son Billy.

Lt Catherine Fearon and WO Tony Matthews

Lt Catherine Fearon and WO Tony Matthews mobilised for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as watchkeepers in the Port of London Authority Operations Room in Gravesend to monitor shipping entering the River Thames.

Catherine, 38, a Strategy and Risk Manager at Anglian Water in civilian life, said:

It is an exciting time for London with the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am just pleased to be doing my bit to ensure the events go as smoothly as possible.”

A member of HMS President, Catherine spends most of her RNR time as the Officer-in-Charge of the London unit’s Medway Division satellite unit in Chatham. Medway Division acts as a base for Royal Naval Reservists living in the Kent and Sussex areas.

Since joining the RNR in 2001, Catherine has taken part in a number of NATO exercises in Scotland, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Norway. She holds the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and was awarded the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal earlier this year.

Mobilised alongside Catherine is her second-in-charge at Medway Division, Tony Matthews. Tony, 54, has lived in Gravesend all his life. A sales executive with UPS when not performing his naval duties, Tony joined the RNR in Chatham in 1982.

On top of all he does with his civilian job and the RNR, Tony somehow finds time to travel widely as a DJ. He can be heard online with his own jazz, funk and soul programme on Stomp Radio.

I’ve loved every minute of my time supporting the Olympics,” Tony said.

So much so that I’ve even been working as a ‘Games Maker’ in my time off.”

Tony received the Lord Lieutenant of London’s Meritorious Service Certificate in 2002 and appeared in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List as the winner of the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal.

In a career of notable achievements, he was the first Warrant Officer in the RNR, and later the first ever to be appointed Command Warrant Officer, a role he performed from 2007 to 2011.

An eventful and colourful RNR career has taken Tony on exercises and operations to the USA, Poland, Bermuda, Gibraltar, France, the Azores and the West Indies.

President is home to more than 200 south-east-based Reservists. They were among the more than 300 Maritime Reservists nationally who mobilised alongside their Regular colleagues as part of Operation Olympics, the huge effort by the UK Armed Forces that made the London 2012 Olympic Games possible.

Cdr Eugene Morgan, HMS President’s Commanding Officer, added:

This has been a significant year for HMS President and our personnel. We were centre stage for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant and have played a key role supporting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

It has been an absolute privilege to be in this position. We look forward to continuing the very full part we play in the life of the capital and to whatever challenges lie ahead.

Press Release, August 31, 2012