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‘Super Stoker’ Kevin recognised for his five decades of commitment to the Navy

7 April 2021
The ‘Chief Stoker of Chief Stokers’ is the latest sailor to be recognised for his massive commitment to the Royal Navy.

Chief Petty Officer Kevin Hewson has spent more than 5,000 days separated from loved ones in a career which spans five decades.

That service, beginning in 1979, makes him the latest recipient of the LSA5K certificate (plus a financial reward) – presented to a very select group of matelots.

The award was introduced last year, one of a series of initiatives and rewards to better recognise the efforts of some of the stalwarts across the Royal Navy who go above and beyond every day.

The Longer Separation Allowance 5000 Days Award acknowledges any sailor who has spent more than 5,000 days (over 13½ years) away from their base port or unit.

The marine engineering mechanic (mechanical) – aka stoker – has experience under his belt which counterparts say make him the chief stoker of chief stokers.

Having clocked up service in HMS Rhyl, Juno, Norfolk (the destroyer, not the later frigate) and carrier Ark Royal and a rare operational tour ashore in Yemen, Kevin has completed five chief stoker drafts and acted as deputy CO of the marine engineering departments seven ships (deep breath: Marlborough, Southampton, Gloucester, Richmond, Endurance, Monmouth and Montrose).

He was one of the team responsible for saving Endurance when the ice ship almost sank when her engine room flooded off Chile in 2008.

His travels have taken him as far afield as the Great Lakes and down to the Antarctic, along with numerous deployments to the Gulf (including the first war in 1990-91).

A generation of marine engineering ratings have either worked with him in the ‘tanky' section or have been quizzed by him during their seagoing engineering boards.

And as a fire-fighting and damage control expert – drawing on his first-hand experiences on Endurance – he passing on his knowledge as a ‘wrecker’ in the final 18 months of his career at Fleet Operational Sea Training (South) in Plymouth.

He’s still keen to add to his 5,000 days – and the RN will help him when they send Kevin back to the Gulf to train HMS Montrose’s crews in theatre.

He received his award from Commander FOST, Commodore Andrew Stacey.

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