UK: HMS Richmond Returns Home
As part of her Atlantic Patrol Tasking, HMS Richmond has conducted an informal visit to the British overseas territory of Saint Helena to provide support to their emergency services and also engage with key personalities on the island. The visit also provided the opportunity for one of Richmond’s sailors to return home for the first time in over 12 years.
Saint Helena’s introduction to HMS Richmond came via the ship’s helicopter which was tasked ahead of the ship’s arrival to undertake an aerial survey of the island.
This was carried out at the request of the island’s emergency services to assist with the development of their disaster recovery plans.
Once the aerial survey was completed, and with the ship safely anchored off the capital Jamestown, the Ship’s Company hosted a number of visits from the islanders, affectionately known as “Saints”.
During the day this included several school visits and a media interview with the island’s radio station, whilst in the evening the ship hosted the island’s Governor and a number of VIPs at an official reception.
For one member of the Ship’s Company, the visit to Saint Helena proved to be particularly emotional.
Leading Seaman Warfare Specialist (Electronic Warfare) Jamie Fowler left his family and his home in Saint Helena over 12 years ago to pursue a career in the Royal Navy.
Returning now for the first time, LS Fowler enjoyed an emotional reunion with his family ashore before welcoming them onboard for a tour of HMS Richmond.
The visit culminated with tea with the Commanding Officer before witnessing the presentation of LS Fowler’s 3rd Good Conduct Badge.
Commenting on the reunion, LS Fowler said:
“Of the 12 years I have served in the Royal Navy, without doubt one of the proudest moments in my career has got to be visiting my home island whilst serving in HMS Richmond.
“Having the opportunity to show my family where I work and live whilst deployed has been fantastic and for them to see the Captain present my 3rd Good Conduct Badge has been the icing on the cake!”
When LS Fowler left St Helena in 2001, he travelled by sea to Ascension Island where he caught an onward flight to the UK where he commenced his Royal Navy career at HMS Raleigh.
Jamie now lives in Portsmouth with his wife, Dione, and son, Tyrell.
HMS Richmond is currently undertaking a seven month deployment where she will promote British interest and provide a continuous presence in the Atlantic.
Press Release, September 12, 2013; Image: Royal Navy