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Raleigh sailor recognised as PTI of the year

23 October 2017
A sailor now based at HMS Raleigh has been recognised as the Royal Navy’s top physical trainer thanks to his work on board HMS Portland.

Leading Physical Trainer (LPT) Fraser Bricknell was presented with the Tony Tyrwhitt-Bettridge  trophy by Captain (Capt) Iain Cull, head of Naval Physical Development. 

LPT Bricknell was a member of HMS Portland’s Ship’s Company for a nine-month deployment, which saw the Type 23 frigate travel over 40,000 miles through the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and Indian, Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans.

The 27-year-old’s attitude and drive to make HMS Portland a fitter, healthier and more active unit singled him out for recognition and had an impact on every member of the ship’s company.  

He went over and above to develop the boarding team’s strength and conditioning to enable them to do their job and that’s the link to the operational output of the ship

Capt Iain Cull RN

He contributed to both the operational capability of the ship and the morale of those on board. 

In 18 port visits he arranged 18 fixtures for the ship’s sports team and set up a programme of adventurous training which 72% of the crew took full advantage. 

LPT Bricknell integrated well with the Royal Marines on board, which culminated in a re-creation of the 90 mile yomp across the Falklands undertaken by the Commandos during the 1982 conflict.  The team completed the walk in three days.

LPT Bricknell said:  “We were in the Falklands for Christmas.  The walk was really hard-work. 

“I think I underestimated how hard it would be, but finishing the walk was my highlight of the deployment.  I will never, ever forget that walk. 

“All the locals came out, including some Royal Marines who were there in 1982 and remained there to make their home.  There were hundreds of people applauding us as we finished.”

LPT Bricknell originally joined the Royal Navy as a submariner in 2007, but achieved his long-term ambition to become a physical trainer four year ago. 

HMS Portland was his first ship and as the PTI one of his additional roles was to drive the ship in and out of harbour. 

LPT Bricknell said:  “It scared the life out of me the first time I had to take the ship into harbour, but really it’s just a case of copying what the Captain says, although there is little room for error.  It’s crazy driving towards a jetty with a massive ship.”

LPT Bricknell also found being on a surface ship much different to being on a submarine.  He said.  “It was hard to get used to at first. 

“The watches on a submarine are six hours on and six hours off, but on the ship I was a day worker.    I was the only physical trainer so I’d take three or four circuits every single day, including a morning abdominal session at 5.30 am. 

“Even in Antarctica and South Georgia we were all there in full kit and head-gear with ice everywhere doing sit-ups on the flight-deck.” 

Accepting the award LPT Bricknell said:  “It feels good to be singled out.  The branch in my opinion is one of the most professional in the Royal Navy and really hard-working.  To be honest I never really considered the award.  I thought I was just doing my job and doing what I was expected to do.  I’m mega proud.”

The Tony Tyrwhitt-Bettridge trophy is named in memory of a well-respected Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer Physical Trainer.  

Capt Iain Cull said:  “This is a prestigious award.  We had a significant number of nominations and all those nominated were very operationally focussed and very good, but we had to pick somebody.

“In LPT Bricknell’s case he was at sea, not only doing his core role, but he had a high level of fitness and was engaged with the Command and the boarding team. 

“He went over and above to develop the boarding team’s strength and conditioning to enable them to do their job and that’s the link to the operational output of the ship.”

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