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Dunkirk to Amsterdam
10 April 2017
HMS Example set sail for Europe having completed the transit down from Newcastle to Ramsgate. The first destination on the continent was the historic town of Dunkirk.

Due to Operation Dynamo Dunkirk is full of historical importance, with many museums and monuments commemorating ‘Dunkirk spirit’, which enabled the rescue of over 330,000 men during World War II.

Looking around the beach, it was moving to think of all the thousands of men and women who lost their lives here in 1940.

Next was the transit to Zeebrugge, the busy port leading to the city of Bruges. Being an industrial trading town, this gave the cadets the opportunity to make the most of the working day and ensure HMS Example was in ship shape in Bristol fashion.

Taking in the sea view as the sunset, the YOs and cadets had a well-deserved RNR, enjoying the local cuisine and infamous Belgian beer.

The next journey took the crew down the canal to the beautiful medieval city of Bruges, full of Neo-Gothic Flemish architecture.

Basking in the sunshine, HMS Example cruised down the waterway, which made a welcome change from the temperamental nature of the Channel.  

Due to the idyllic conditions, the cadets could square away the ship before arriving in port and head straight to the city of Bruges to explore. The cadets enjoyed local delicacy whilst sat in the sun in the main square, admiring the picturesque scenes and blue skies.

The final transit was to Amsterdam and was the longest journey of the deployment. However, after two weeks on board and well into the routines and duties on HMS Example, the cadets could enjoy the smooth journey with excellent sailing conditions.

The Navs Yeo even went as far as to say, "On the parts of ship and handling of ropes, the students did 'knot' disappoint."

HMS Example sailed from Bruges to Amsterdam in convoy with HMS Explorer and were able to meet the students on board and spend the last night of deployment in style, taking in the splendour of Amsterdam at night.

Overall, the deployment gave the students invaluable experience, not only learning the ropes, but also working alongside the excellent ship’s crew; this meant the cadets could develop their leadership and team work skills, whilst exploring the sites on route.

Working and living together in such close quarters has undoubtedly strengthened friendships and the students will take home fond memories of their Easter deployment.

Written by Katie Reid (URNU Student)

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