Following extensive re-training, I flew to Belfast to join HMS Cornwall in February 08. It had been over 24 years since I'd last served on a ship, so it was all rather strange at first.


The first thing that hit me was the sheer size of it and the amount of spare room there is onboard. There are plenty of compartments that are largely unoccupied, so there is always somewhere to go if you need a quiet moment alone.


The second thing I noticed was the friendliness of the ships company. Right from the start, I was made to feel very welcome.

After some sick leave, I re-joined HMS Cornwall on her return to Plymouth only to find that my job had changed. I was now to do what I originally joined her for, Marine Engineering Departmental Coordinator or ME Depco for short.


My job was basically as a manpower coordinator. Overseeing the training of the young lads (Engineering Technicians), Sanctioning leave, writing watchbills and heading up the Standing Sea Emergency Party. It was a day work job (what a novelty) but the privilege of two B.O.S.T's in 6 months enabled me to feel more comfortable in my new surroundings and ready to accept the Captains promise of the rest of the year stooging around the Mediterranean Sea (Fun in the Sun). I wondered vaguely if my tropical uniform still fitted.

 I qualified as Officer of the Day, for the first time in over 30 years service, so, alongside, I was actually in charge of the ship on a roster basis (Pretty scary stuff). Fortunately, there was always help and advise at hand.

Whilst being used to sharing a bunk space with 24 others, moving into a bunk space of similar size with only 4 beds made a tremendous difference. The ship is big enough to be comfortable without being so big that you get lost.


As an ex-submariner, you are given a year to find your feet and to settle into the new way of life. To that end, I was initially asked if I could assist Mike Eggins, the Chippy as he was short handed. I am quite happy to help out where needed, but there was an awful lot to learn before I could start to become effective and Mike was a good teacher.


We sailed from Belfast to the Arctic Circle for an exercise called Armatura Borealis in Norway. This

In 2009, the ship deployed as part of the SNMG2 NATO Taskforce to the Mediterranean, but after we had deployed in April the programme changed meaning Cornwall would be conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Despite the disruption to our families this was a very successful deployment and did much to enhance the media’s impression of the ship since the Iranian hostage incident in 2007.  In August, during Ramadan, my wife, Anita joined me in Dubai for a fantastic week during the mid-

I am not sure that my wife, Anita, could cope with another period of extended separation, so following many discussions at the highest level, I took the very reluctant decision to leave the service.

After formally submitting notice to leave the Royal Navy on 5th April 2010, the MEO of HMS Cornwall pulled out all the stops to get me off the ship before she again deployed east of Suez on counter piracy operations.

During this deployment, we were visited by CinC Fleet, Admiral Trevor Soar, who, whilst visiting the mess, took the opportunity to present me with the clasp to my Long Service and Good Conduct medal  rewarding my 30 years of loyal service to the Royal Navy.

is an annual exercise involving the ship supporting the Royal Marines operating in Norway. We arrived in Tromso a week or so later for a few days. This was a wonderful opportunity to try my hand at skiing. Unfortunately as skiing to a Norwegian is like riding a bike to an Englishman, there was nobody available to give lessons. Consequently it was a baptism of fire that ended up with me in hospital with torn ligaments in my right shoulder. Two days later and I was on a flight out of Tromso heading towards Heathrow with another skiing casualty. My short career as an Olympic ski jumper had ended abruptly.

deployment standoff. Dubai is a wonderful place, and although many of the ships company had been before, this was my first visit. The ‘holiday’ was simply fantastic and we will return when (a) it is cooler and (b) not Ramadan.

Returning to Devonport in mid December to a brass band and 100’s of families waving and cheering on the jetty saw the end to the longest deployment of my career and it would be fair to say, Anita did not enjoy being alone for the 8 months since sailing in April.


Due to a large number of the ships company being replaced including the Captain, Executive Officer and all the Heads of Department, the ship was again tasked with completing another B.O.S.T in readiness for another long deployment East of Suez.

X-ray of my right shoulder

Having had a brilliant final sea job on HMS Cornwall, surrounded by some cracking lads and lasses I had the desire to organise a mess social event that would enable me to wear my Mess Undress for what would turn out to be the last time. With the assistance of the Warrant Officer CT in his capacity of the Social Secretary, I arranged a formal dinner/dance Ladies Night at Boringdon Hall near Plymouth. This turned out to be a splendid evening, as far as I can remember.


I finally left HMS Cornwall on 7th July 2010 to join the Trademasters Organisation in SFM. This would give me 9 months to plan what I was going to do next.

Yes, I was sorry to be leaving, but also looking forward to the challenge of a new career.


Batch 3 Type 22

Primary Role


Pennant No



5100 tons








2 x Rolls Royce Spey gas turbines (high speed)
2 x Rolls Royce Tyne gas turbines (cruising)


1 × 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mk.8 gun, Goalkeeper CIWS, Sea Wolf anti-missile system, 2 × Quad Harpoon missile launchers, 2 × 20 mm Close range guns, NATO Seagnat Decoy Launchers, Two Magazine launched anti-submarine torpedo tubes