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A day with the Royal Navy for local students

2 November 2017
Battling through a darkened ship to find an item of stores was among the challenges faced by local school children during their visit to HMS Raleigh.

Around 150 students from schools in Plymouth and Saltash attended the open day hosted by the Defence Maritime Logistics School (DMLS) at the Royal Navy training base in Torpoint.

Aimed to give the visitors an insight into the role of the Royal Navy Logistics branch, the students were taken on a tour of each of the training squadrons.  There, instructors and trainees were waiting with practical exercises designed to explain the different jobs undertaken by chefs, stewards, writers and supply chain logisticians.

At the supply chain squadron the students became members of HMS Dreadnought’s Ship’s Company, tasked with searching their way through the storerooms to find a vital piece of equipment as the ship suffered damage and the lights went out.

In the writer squadron the visitors had to prepare a ship for its arrival in a foreign port, matching the currency with different countries around the world. This reflected the writers’ job as the ship’s HR and administrative specialists, dealing with cash, pay and other tasks.

In cooking I’ve been thinking why do the Navy need chefs and why don’t they just pack up food when they go away, but I now realise that’s not the case because it will take up too much room.

Leon Peacock, aged 12

Over at the catering school the students learnt how to prepare nutritious and wholesome food with limited resources, as well as icing cakes that were later served to them as part of their lunch, and saw a demonstration of flambé cooking.

Leon Peacock, aged 12, said:  “In cooking I’ve been thinking why do the Navy need chefs and why don’t they just pack up food when they go away, but I now realise that’s not the case because it will take up too much room.  If they packed a case it probably wouldn’t fit down a submarine.  The day has been really fun and I’ve learnt a lot.”

The groups were also shown the secondary roles carried out by members of the Logistics branch, including fire-fighting and first aid.

Summing up her day, 11-year-old Shaenae Bennett said:  “I’ve learnt how to march.  I’ve learnt how to decorate a cake.  I’ve learnt how to salute and I’ve learnt how you have to train. I’m really interested in what goes on in the Navy.”

Students from Coombe Dean, Heles School, Saltash.net, Eggbuckland, Marine Academy and Sir John Hunt attended.

The visit was co-ordinated for the schools by Sarah Newberry of St John Hunt School.  She said:  “All the students are now aware of some of the many different roles that are available to them in the Navy.  They were very engaged and it’s been a great day.

Everyone attending had shown an interest in the Royal Navy or had family members serving or previously serving. The children taking part were aged between 11 and 15 years.

Lieutenant Commander Simon Boon, acting Commandant of the DMLS, said:  “This is the third open day we’ve held here at the DMLS and as always our staff have enjoyed hosting our guests.

"This time we have opened our doors to younger students and we hope that this experience may have inspired some to come and join us in the future.

"Yet no matter what career path they may choose in the years to come, we hope that all of them will take away something from today as an explanation of what we do, why and how we do it.”

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