Veterans join Sultan trainees at Divisions

 By Matthew Hibberd

COMMODORE J J Bailey, Commandant Defence College of Technical Training and Deputy Chief Naval Engineer Officer, has paid a special visit to HMS Sultan, the home of Royal Navy Air and Marine engineering, as the guest of honour at the establishment’s Ceremonial Divisions.

Escorted by Captain Jo Deakin, Sultan’s commanding officer, the commodore inspected members of the guard of honour before he presented medals.

In addressing the Divisions, Cdre Bailey said: “As the Commandant of the Defence College of Technical Training I am responsible for a wide range of engineering training, but somewhat closer to home, as your Deputy Chief Naval Engineer and a Marine Engineer, this feels very much like being amongst the home team.

“You represent the future of our engineering profession and like me and many others before you, you are being trained to operate, maintain, diagnose and repair our Royal Navy, at reach, in adversity and possibly under fire.

“As Royal Navy engineers and technicians we want you to be innovative, agile, skilled and professional.

“As professional engineers and technicians in the Royal Navy you have a unique set of skills and we will trust and enable you to engineer the future Navy.”

Presentation of medals

The following presentations were made by the Cdre Bailey:

Silver Certificate of Valediction – Presented to WO1 Latham

Long Service and Good Conduct Medal – Presented to PO Medway.
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal – Presented to PO Riley.

Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp – Presented to WO1 Bolton.

Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp – Presented to CPO Kirby.

Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp – Presented to CPO Spencer.

2nd Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp – Presented to WO1 Branson.

HMS Sultan is home to the Defence College of Technical Training’s Defence School of Marine Engineering and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School where engineers and technicians are equipped with the skills to function as the ‘beating heart of operational capability’, maintaining, repairing, sustaining and operating our aircraft, ships, submarines and vehicles daily on operations across the globe.

Royal Navy, Army and RAF technical training and education is delivered by the Defence College of Technical Training through four Defence schools focussed upon specialisations of aeronautical engineering, electronic and mechanical engineering, marine engineering, and communications and information systems engineering.

The schools are located across six sites with Royal Navy training being delivered at HMS Sultan, Army and Royal Marine training at MoD Lyneham and Blandford Garrison, and RAF training at RAF Cosford, MoD St Athan and RAF Digby.


LOCAL veterans from ‘Buns and Banter’ were among the invited guests for Ceremonial Divisions at HMS Sultan.

The group, which was only started earlier this year, meets once a month at the Lee Hub, Independent Community Library, in Lee-on-the-Solent, and allows veterans to get together and talk, with the visit to Sultan providing members with an opportunity to re-engage with a familiar aspect of service life.

Amongst the group were veterans Christine and Don Currie. Christine helps organise the group. The couple first met as 16-year-olds at HMS Sultan in 1972 and both went on to serve there while in the Navy.

Don said: “It’s a massive privilege for us all to be invited into HMS Sultan today. I first joined here after finishing Raleigh and completing a few weeks at Haslar.

“Over the years I served here in multiple posts from Junior Medic to Chief Medic in the sickbay, it’s always been a good place. I’m still involved here playing in the Volunteer Band, so it’s always been in my system.”

And Christine said: “When I met Don I was still at Brune Park School. I came into attend one of the bops. He was so tall dark and handsome, it was love at first sight and we went on to get married at Haslar, when he was serving there.

“Although I didn’t serve as long as Don, I went on to join the RN serving as a pay Wren within Sultan and local establishments, before having our first son.

“We’ve remained firmly connected with Sultan, our second son also went on to train here, completing his 22 years in the RN as an Air Engineer, our grandchildren have also been part of the cadets band here, so it’s lovely to be invited back again today.”

MAIN IMAGE: The CO, HMS Sultan, Capt Jo Deakin OBE with veterans from ‘Buns and Banter’ at Ceremonial Divisions; gallery, from left, trainees on parade; Cmdre Bailey inspects the Guard of Honour; Royal Navy veterans Don and Christine Currie; Commodore J J Bailey presents a second Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp to WO1 Mark Branson. Pictures by PO Photographer Pepe Hogan and Leading Photographer Chris Sellars