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First new Royal Navy award to crew of HMS Talent

Crew of veteran hunter-killer submarine HMS Talent are the first winners of a new award recognising those who go above and beyond the call of duty.
25 September 2020
Crew of veteran hunter-killer submarine HMS Talent are the first winners of a new award recognising those who go above and beyond the call of duty.

The sonar team from the Faslane-based boat – Talent’s ‘eyes and ears’ beneath the waves – are the inaugural recipients of a Royal Navy Commendation.


The new awards replace the long-standing commendations presented by the Fleet Commander – focusing on operational effectiveness – and the Second Sea Lord – rewarding efforts across all lines of development.


Under the Navy’s Transformation programme, they’ve been merged and renamed to enhance their significance – and make receiving a commendation a particularly special moment in someone’s career.


In Talent’s case, she’s been heavily in demand this year and last, and the sonar operators stood out in particular among an already impressive crew.


It is down to them to constantly listen out for potential threats to the Trafalgar-class boat: hostile submarines, hostile ships, hostile aircraft – all can be identified by a well-honed team and Talent’s impressive sonar suite.


It’s a challenging, painstaking job, one made all the more demanding aboard the T-boat by a busy programme and considerable fluctuations in personnel.


As a result, the lean-manned and junior department often sacrificed leave and personal downtime to maintain and improve the submarine, and also helped with the training of other departments to maintain safety and preserve seamanship standards. 


Throughout the small and extremely busy team demonstrated excellent leadership and dedication – making them worthy winners of the new distinction.

The award of the first Royal Navy Commendation to Talent’s sonar department is a significant achievement, and justly reflects the hard work and dedication that each member of the team has consistently demonstrated while on operations.

Commander Paul Jamieson

“Talent spent her 30th birthday at sea, away from home – where she’s spent much of her life. We can proudly say that age is no barrier to delivering excellence.”


The award was presented on the back of yet another demanding patrol by the attack submarine – played out against the backdrop of the global pandemic.


Talent helped train the submarine commanders of tomorrow by hosting trainees on the Silent Service’s (in)famous command course, Perisher – widely regarded as the most mentally-challenging military selection course in the world.


The T-boat also linked up with The Flying Tigers of 814 Naval Air Squadron for a winching exercise, with a Merlin helicopter hovering just metres above the T-boat, the powerful draught from its rotors compounding the difficult nature of transferring crew.


The submarine has also worked with the RAF’s new P8 Poseidon patrol aircraft, as the aviators tested their ability to hunt submarines by peppering the ocean with hi-tech sonobuoy listening devices in the hope of picking up the submarine’s movements.


And Talent joined forces with HMS Queen Elizabeth to help develop some of the tactics submarines will use to protect the carrier and her task group for many years to come.

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