‘The Leeds RNA along with a party of 5 led by Lt Col Samantha Shepard from the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery based at Catterick and a party from the London Dyers Association were invited to travel down to Plymouth to enable HMS Vanguard re-establish her affiliation links. Commander Steven Waller who recently took over from Commander Martin Gill welcomed all affiliates to the naval base. The affiliates were accommodated in HMS Drake’s wardroom and senior rates messes.
A tour onboard the Falkland veteran submarine HMS Courageous a British Churchill-class nuclear-powered fleet submarine which served in the Royal Navy. HMS Vanguard is undergoing a major refit and the affiliates saw her from a distance. Following lunch in the dry dock crew facilities the affiliates then experienced life onboard a submarine in two simulators joining in some exercise simulations. A visit then took place onboard the type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland and their crew were keen to show us their pride of their ship.
In the evening Captain Steve Waller and his officers and ships company hosted all the affiliates at a mess dinner. It turned out to be a fantastic experience for all the affiliates.
The Royal Navy is still in good hands but somewhat smaller than when we were serving.