We felt both proud and honoured to be invited guests on board HMS Defender , the latest of Her Majesty’s Navy’s Type 45 Destroyer, during her visit to Plymouth Devonport dockyard , just prior to he sea trials and deployment to the Middle East. Dream-a-Way is indeed very fortunate to have been adopted by the Ship’s Company as one of their charities.
Sadly on the day we visited the rain was pouring down but this did not dampen our enthusiasm in any way as we were off on an adventure that very few people are invited to enjoy .We arrived early at the dockyard ,and after security check , members of the ships company jumped into our vehicles and guided us to the dockside to avoid us having to walk in the rain , where this futuristic and impressive warship was moored.
Arrangements had been made for our vehicles to park right alongside HMS Defender and at the top of the gang plank,we were security checked again by a group of armed Royal Marines on the helicopter launch pad before finally going into a hatchway, where we were warmly greeted and taken through to the Officer’s mess and offered hot drinks to make up for the cold inclement weather outside.
Commander Nash introduced us to senior members of the ship’s company which included many specialists with exceptional skills in many subjects , and we set off upon a guided VIP tour during which many of these specialists explained to us the use and technical aspects of the enormous range of equipment including their helicopter , boarding boat and explained the capabilities of the many systems and specialist pieces of equipment on board this very special ship.
These specialist had an in depth knowledge of the equipment and also explained the logistics of another very important part of the ship’s company who provide proper meals each behind the scenes, round the clock to keep the ship’s company well fed and in peak condition.
We were conducted up to the bridge and able see the modern computerised controls, and permitted to visit many of the special areas on board and given an opportunity to see just how the ship’s company act as a team each one relying upon and trusting their ship mates coming together in a cohesive, and a very effective and powerful unit.
The tour was over far too quickly , but it left us all talking about the exciting experience and grateful to the entire ship’s company who were off within 12 hours out to a very rough sea on their final sea trials before deployment.
HMS Defender’s deployment is for many months and we would all like to say thanks to the entire ship’s company and our gratitude for the tremendous job that they do maintaining safety for shipping in many parts of the world , well done and thanks again
Tim -Trustee of Dream-A -Way