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Raleigh Open day attracts visitors from near and far

28 July 2016
Around 5,000 people from Torpoint, Plymouth and further afield have taken the opportunity to take a look behind the gates of HMS Raleigh during the establishment’s Open Day.

The training base was open to the public from 12 noon to 5 pm. 

Key attractions included a display by the Royal Navy Raiders Parachute Display team when seven Service personnel dropped from the sky onto the establishment’s parade ground to the delight of the crowds.

There were also performances by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Plymouth, military working dogs and Field Gun runs featuring HMS Raleigh’s Field Crew and the Carbeile School Junior Field Gun teams.

From the veterans who travelled from all over the country, to people on holiday in the area, those within in the local community and our own families and friends, we were delighted that so many people took the opportunity to attend.

Captain Rob Bellfield RN

Visitors were invited to look around the Royal Navy Submarine School and also see where the Royal Navy trains personnel to deal with emergencies at sea, including floods, fires and first-aid. 

An accommodation block where recruits live during their initial training was open to give the public a taste of life as a trainee sailor and visitors were also invited to put their best foot forward and join in with a marching lesson.

Kate Morgan from Worcester was visiting Devon on holiday with her parents.  She said:  “I love the Navy, but I can’t tell you why because I don’t know. 

“I just find it fascinating.  I’ve loved the day, the marching and in the gym. 

“Living in the accommodation blocks I’d imagine would be really hard, especially if you came here and didn’t know anyone.”

Paula Moon, from Newton Abbot, was among the visitors taking a trip down memory lane.  She said:  “I served here at HMS Raleigh as a WREN and I was here in the 70s when Princess Anne came and laid the first stone for the new buildings. 

“I’ve been going around trying to remember where the rooms were that we slept in and somebody has now told me where they were, so I can picture it a bit more.”

Bernie Crean’s son Chief Petty Officer Shaun Crean has recently joined HMS Raleigh as one of the instructors. 

Both were surprised to find out that one of the training divisions is named after their ancestor, Warrant Officer Tom Crean, who sailed with both Scott and Shackleton on their expeditions to the Antarctic. 

Bernie is originally from Liverpool and now lives in Devon. He said:  “Tom is a claim to fame in our family. 

“I grew up with all the tales of him and family members used to go over to Annascaul in Ireland, where he was from, for various celebrations.  

“When I was growing up he wasn’t that well known and in Ireland he was known as the Forgotten Hero. 

“My grandad used to tell me the tales and referred to him as my great-uncle.  He probably started to come to prominence again in the 70s when people started asking who he was.  

“I didn’t realised until I came here that he was one of the people who found Scott’s body. 

“I was pleased and proud to hear that a Division had been named after him.  If you look at the photographs of Tom, you’ll see that we’ve all got that Crean nose.”

Other attractions of the day included various stands and demonstrations including a cooking demonstration by chefs and trainees at the Defence Maritime Logistics School based within HMS Raleigh. 

Visitors could also step aboard a Royal Marines Offshore Raiding Craft and take a closer at other military vehicles. 

Captain Rob Bellfield, the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, said:  “It’s been a fantastic day. 

“Our main focus was to make it a day that all members of the family could enjoy and give people the chance to find out a little bit more about what we do here, the Royal Navy and the Armed Forces in general.  

“From the veterans who travelled from all over the country, to people on holiday in the area, those within in the local community and our own families and friends, we were delighted that so many people took the opportunity to attend.”

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