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Electronic Warfare Specialist receives inaugural best student award

7 August 2017
A recent graduate from HMS Collingwood’s Maritime Warfare School (MWS) became the first recipient of a new award that honours a former Electronic Warfare Specialist who was killed in the Falklands War.

Petty Officer Electronic Warfare (POEW) David Bell from POEW Qualifying Course 1603 received the ABEW Steve Heyes Award for Best Student of the training year in a ceremony at the Base recently. 

The award, sponsored by Cobham Aviation, was named after a young Able Rate who was killed whilst serving aboard HMS Ardent in 1982.

Steve Heyes is already commemorated within the Base with a tree and a classroom within Lewin Building named after him, ensuring his name is already synonymous with Royal Navy Electronic Warfare Training within the MWS.  

This was particularly evident with the support he provided to students on the Leading Seamen EW course who benefitted from his clear and concise coaching and mentoring style.

Chief Petty Officer Craig McDonald

This new award is presented to the top POEW student as assessed by all EW training staff, who has achieved outstanding results in both theory and practical assessments, whilst displaying the qualities and leadership expected of any EW Senior Rate.

Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Craig Mcdonald explained why POEW David Bell, who is currently serving as Electronic Warfare Manager aboard HMS Montrose, was selected for the award.

“From the early stages of the course he displayed maturity and leadership in abundance.  

“This was particularly evident with the support he provided to students on the Leading Seamen EW course who benefitted from his clear and concise coaching and mentoring style.”

David was presented with the award by Mrs Christina Nelson, ABEW Heyes’ widow, in the presence of the Commanding Officer of HMS Collingwood Capt Andy Jordan ADC, staff from Cobham Aviation and members of the HMS Ardent Association.

Mrs Nelson also donated two photographs of ABEW Heyes to be part of a display within Lewin Building.

Speaking after the presentation, David said, “I’d only been on board HMS Montrose a week when the Captain asked me to see him in his cabin.

“There he showed me the email, shook my hand and said “Congratulations”. It was a really pleasant surprise.

“It’s a shame that it was only myself from the course that got the award because we had such a good class and if I had my way, I’d give it to the whole class!”

David’s wife Stephanie made the journey from Plymouth to watch the presentation and admitted she felt very proud.

“He works very hard and puts everything into all that he does and it’s really nice for me to be here to witness it all. It’s lovely – I’m a very proud wife!”

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