UK: VS Trainees Lend a Hand to Southampton Maritime Festival Realization
Victory Squadron (VS) trainees and staff based at HMS Collingwood, Fareham, supported the inaugural Southampton Maritime Festival that was hosted at the Southampton Docks over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.
Warrant Officer 2s Sam Salt and George Boardman took a team of 12 VS Trainees down to Southampton, in their No 1s uniform, to lend a hand.
Duties carried out included acting as car park attendants, marshalling the public on and off of the Dunkirk Little Ships that were open to visitors, and answering photo-calls from members of the public that wanted their pictures taken with a real-life sailor in uniform!
The Southampton Maritime Festival was held in conjunction with the welcoming back into service of the Steam Tug Challenge, a Dunkirk Little Ship that has just undergone a million pound refit in Shoreham, funded by the Dunkirk Little Ships’ Restoration Trust (DLSRT).
The Challenge was escorted back into Southampton Docks by the Motor Torpedo Boat (MTB) 102, the Bluebird of Chelsea and the Tahilla, which are part of the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships (ADLS).
Trainees from VS have had a longstanding affiliation with the ADLS and have, in the last 12 months, taken part in events such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant and the Thames Veterans’ Cruise.
The Maritime Festival was attended by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, the Patron of the DLSRT and an Honorary Admiral of the ADLS.
As well as being introduced to Veterans that took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk, he also took the time to talk to Engineering Technician (Weapon Engineer) Matt James and Able Seaman (Warfare Support) James Phillipson, Phase 2 Trainees who have previously assisted in the restoration of MV Dorian.
Further support provided by VS included the attendance of Lieutenant Commander Jane Coackley, the Officer in Charge of VS, who was welcomed onto the Bluebird of Chelsea to have lunch with some of the VIPs that are affiliates of the DLSRT.
Warrant Officer Salt said;
“The sunny Bank Holiday weather helped to make the festival a memorable occasion and the success of the event should ensure that it becomes an annual occasion to look forward to for many years to come.
“The trainees involved had a great time and enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with members of the public who were, as always, delighted to see the young sailors who are the future of the Senior Service.”
As part of VS’s work with ADLS they also provide support to the DLSRT and on a weekly basis they send one Leading Hand and three holdover trainees to Southampton Docks to assist in the restoration of MV Dorian, an old Dunkirk Little Ship that was ravished by fire in the 1970s.
Press Release, May 22, 2013; Image: Royal Navy