UK: Royal Navy Sailor Gets Medal for 17 Years of Service

Royal Navy Sailor Gets Medal for 17 Years of Service

A Portchester sailor has been presented with a medal for 17 years of service to the Royal Navy while serving on the icebreaker HMS Protector.

In an unusual setting, Leading Seaman Scott Black was given the medal standing on an iceberg off Detaille Island on the edge of Antarctica – one of the most remote places on earth.

With HMS Protector gathering data about waters around the small, uninhabited island, Scott was presented with the ship’s Long Service and Good Conduct medal by HMS Protector’s Commanding Officer Captain Peter Sparkes

Originally from Oldham, Scott joined the Navy in 1996 and served in frigates HMS Montrose and HMS Northumberland before moving to the Fishery Protection Squadron.

As aanassistant Fisheries Boarding Officer he served in Her Majesty’s Ships Lindisfarne, Guernsey and Hurworth and, during time ashore, the junior rating worked at Whitehall before moving to an appointment with NATO at Estoril, Portugal.

For his efforts with NATO Scott was awarded the Admiral’s Commendation for improving operational capability within the headquarters.

He joined HMS Protector in 2011 and lives in Portchester, near Portsmouth, with his wife Nina and three children Eloise, Rhys and Hayden.

“Seventeen years of dedicated and professional service to the country and Royal Navy is a significant milestone and something to be celebrated,” said Captain Sparkes.

“LS Black is a superb example and role model for junior sailors in HMS Protector; it was a privilege to present him this award whilst in the breathtaking scenery of Detaille Island.”

The remote island, situated at 66°52′S 66°48′W, from 1956 to 1959 was home to ‘Station W’ of the British Antarctic Survey, but was forced to close when solid sea ice prevented it from being resupplied for the season.

Operating in Antarctica throughout the austral summer, Portsmouth-based HMS Protector was asked to visit Detaille to collect hydrographic data and to remove building waste from ongoing restoration works by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

Arriving at Detaille in almost perfect weather conditions, Protector sent her survey motor boat, James Caird IV, to clear a safe channel to the island, allowing the 6,000 tonne ship to nudge her way through the sea ice and take position against the backdrop of a stunning vista, and spectacular ice flows.

Naval Today Staff, March 21, 2013; Image: Royal Navy