Appropriately, the first Service visit of the Master's year was to the Senior Service and HMS Dauntless, reciprocating the attendance at the Installation Dinner of Senior Naval Officer, Lieutenant Commander James Fickling, who was our host for the day, although Lieutenant Paul Coyne accompanied us to the end.
Organisation was again in the capable hands of Past Master Michael Wren.
Dauntless is currently a "Harbour Training Ship" while she awaits a change of propulsion systems and a refit, about which we were informed when the World Traders visited last year.
The visit started with a presentation by the Master, himself the Son of a Royal Naval Lieutenant Commander, to a visibly surprised Chief Petty Officer Duncan Suggitt of the World Traders' Best Sailor Award. He received a framed certificate and a cheque. The whole ship's company was turned out to watch this.
We had a tour of the whole ship including the hi-tech Operations Room. Dauntless and its fellow Class 45 destroyers have equipment which is the envy of the Us Navy, and gives valuable back up in missions to the Arabian Gulf and elsewhere. The bridge is vast, and we were told that the accommodation for officers and ratings are far superior to anything the Navy offered before.
The pride of the engineers in the "kit" was heartening. These are men and women who will serve the nation well in civilian life too.
We were guests of Dauntless too on a tour of the Mary Rose Exhibition, which reopened in July after a major upgrade. We were accompanied by a guide in Tudor costume, himself ex Royal Navy. This is one of the most impressive displays of English and Welsh history (Scotland was independent at the time), and we cannot recommend it too highly. A must for adults and children