Bleeding out

Deploying is easy. Now comes the hard part.

On 9 December the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) returned home. Flags were waved, bands played, snogging photos were taken and many articles were written (a selection below). The deployment statistics are remarkable and unless you’re part of the group that thinks the whole thing should have taken place in the channel, enough to make you very proud.

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The art, science and bluff of ship handling

Two recent incidents at sea have drawn unfavourable attention to the business of moving a large objects around on the water. The first was an error large enough to be visible from space and bunged up a canal that carries a significant percentage of global trade:

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Water, water, everywhere, and yet you wouldn’t think

Today’s Times Weekend published an article called Horrible Histories: The Woeful Second World War. What follows is 2800 really interesting words on the blitz, the home guard, the RAF, shelters, rationing and then a chronology of how the war unfolded. It was only when I got to the end that I realised there wasn’t a single mention of the Royal Navy. Or any navy. Or the maritime. Not one. 

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The Chief of the Defence Staff

First published on 21 Feb 21

There has been a spate of coverage recently speculating that the current Chief of the Defence Staff’s (CDS) time-in-post is coming to an end. It has quietened down for now, and indeed the date may now have slipped until after the Integrated Review. Of one thing we can be sure, when it looks to be imminent (again), speculation as to his successor will crescendo.

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Plane Sailing

When warships and warplanes go off to die – a comparison

Author’s note. I wrote this well over a year ago when the Tornado fighter jet flew for the last time after 40 years of service. This week’s decommissioning of HMS Bristol and the dismembering of ex-HMS Berkeley, and associated outpourings of grief, reminded me that I never published.

It occurred to me during the various celebrations and flybys to record the demise of the venerable Tornado that ships of the Royal Navy never depart for the breaker’s yard with such, if any, fanfare. ‘You can’t do a fly past in a ship’ seems like an obvious reason but I wondered if there was a more profound reason. Spoiler – there isn’t.

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