Monday, March 16, 2015

Submarine HMS Torbay returns to Plymouth after 6-month deployment


Plymouth Herald/March 16, 2015
THE crew of HMS Torbay have come home to a hero’s welcome as the submarine returns after a successful six-month patrol.
As HMS Torbay entered Plymouth Sound she was followed by a passenger boat crammed with cheering families and friends waving ‘welcome home’ banners.
The happy party followed the submarine to her berth in HMS Devonport and were reunited at an emotional meeting in Royal William Yard.
The nuclear-powered submarine, which carries Tomahawk land attack missiles, has returned after routine underwater deployment.
During deployment HMS Torbay took part in a multi-national exercise where the submarine’s skills at evading surface ships hunting her down were put to the test.
Sub Lieutenant Craig Dymock, one of the newly qualified submariners, completed his exams while on deployment and was presented with his symbolic metal Dolphin’s badge as a result.
He said: “It is an immense moment when you get presented with your Dolphins.
“The culmination of all your hard work pays off in that moment you are presented with them.
“It’s been hard work combining my studying with duties on board. With being on watch and studying to qualify I would be working on average an 18 to 20 hour day.
“Yes it is a lot of work, but you really have to seize the opportunity by the throat and go for it if you want the honour of wearing those Dolphins.”
Naval Writer Christopher King said: “I’ve enjoyed the variety of training that we’ve accomplished and the personnel milestones that I’ve achieved. The variety of cultures that I’ve witness has been eye-opening. But I am looking forward to seeing my girlfriend and getting back on my road bike now I’m home.”
During her deployment HMS Torbay has travelled 19,653 nautical miles, roughly equivalent of once round the world and spent 2,562 hours dived.
Petty Officer Justin Green said: “Seeing my famly after a long deployment and going on holiday with them is what I’m looking forward to most.
“Time away from them is hard but what other career allows you to ease the separation with the fun of go-karting on Christmas Day at a top international track with my shipmates.”
A submarine can only work out what day of the week it is from the menu as there is no indication of daylight or night under water - if it is steak night it must be Saturday, while pizza night equals Sunday and there is always a curry on a Wednesday.
Submariners are a superstitious lot at the best of times and any deviation from this routine is an unacceptable risk in tempting fate.
Whilst keeping bad luck at bay, the chefs in the galley have produced four meals a day for 130 people for the entire 6 months, using 1,902kg of beans, 16,032 eggs and 20,040 sausages.
Not bad considering the galley onboard is no bigger than a kitchen in a small flat - and the temperature in the submarine’s kitchen rarely drops below 40°C.

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