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The RN’s in his Blood – veteran engineer thanked for 45 years’ service

16 February 2024
Congratulations to Robert ‘Blood’ Reid whose 45 years of service to Navy and nation were singled out by one of the RN’s senior officers.

Commodore Paul Pitcher – Commodore Surface Flotilla – thanked the Warrant Officer 1 for his commitment and dedication in front of his colleagues in Portsmouth Naval Base.

Robert walked through the gates of HMS Raleigh at the end of January 1979.

Britain was in the grip of strikes in the so-called ‘Winter of Discontent’. Blondie’s signature tune Heart of Glass was No.1. Quiz show Blankety Blank was brand new on the telly, as was David Attenborough’s Life on Earth and Christopher Reeve as Superman was pulling in the punters at cinemas nationwide. You could pick up a family home for £15k while the Ford Cortina was the nation’s most popular motor. And the Navy’s first Harrier carrier HMS Invincible was still being completed.

Having completed basic training, Robert specialised as a Marine Engineering Mechanic (forerunner of today’s Engineering Technicians) and then began his front-line career: nine ships from Leander-class frigate HMS Diomede, through minesweepers and patrol vessels to helping to bring HMS Dauntless into service from build and most recently aboard the UK’s largest warship HMS Prince of Wales, coordinating training for new joiners.

One of the few RN personnel still serving today from the Falklands conflict of 1982, he also helped protect shipping in the Gulf in the mid-80s during the tanker wars at the height of the Iraq-Iran conflict.

Today he shares his 45 years’ knowledge and expertise as a damage control officer with Fleet Operational Standards and Training Team (FOST), delivering key training to the rest of the RN to ensure they can cope with accidents and major incidents at sea.

“On a misty Monday morning I was privileged to congratulate WO1 Reid as he marked 45 years of service to his country. Few can match a career such as Blood’s!” said Cdre Pitcher.

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