Proud Naval Reservists from HMS King Alfred, Portsmouth’s Royal Navy Reserve Unit represented the Senior Service on 13 June by leading the Colour Party bearing the White Ensign into Winchester’s Shipping Festival.
Chief Petty Officer Ken Turley, Petty Officer Ian Lane and Leading Hand Miranda Cracknell-Burt led an impressive, colourful array of Ensigns and Standards into the ancient flower-filled cathedral for the annual service of dedication which celebrates and gives thanks to God for the continuing prosperity of the shipping industry and the safety of seafarers.
The Festival’s organisers, Southampton Master Mariners Club were delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to the Winchester cathedral’s special seafarer’s service.
A keen and accomplished sailor The Princess Royal supports numerous maritime organisations.
She is a Master of Trinity House, Patron of the Missions to Seafarers and recently agreed to become a Stowaway of the Master Mariners club based in Southampton.
Commanding Officer of HMS King Alfred, Commander Anthony Stickland RD RNR was present at the Service accompanied by the RNR unit’s Chaplain, Reverend Bernard Clarke.
Cdr Stickland said:
“With the cathedral looking magnificent, bedecked with flowers, the numerous Standard bearers made a wonderful sight, I was very proud that HMS King Alfred’s Naval Reservists were bearing the White Ensign on behalf of the entire Naval Service.
“Winchester has a deep history associated with the Saxon King Alfred so it is entirely appropriate that HMS King Alfred was there to support this important dedication in Winchester, the ancient capital city of England and county town of Hampshire.”
Two other members of the Royal Naval Reserve were also present, Captain Nigel Bassett and Lt Cdr Andrew Robinson but on this occasion not wearing the Senior Service’s uniform.
Lt Cdr Robinson wore his ceremonial robes as the Chief Executive of the Diocese of Winchester while Captain Nigel Bassett was also present in his civilian capacity as a Master Mariner and Senior Marine Pilot in Southampton Port.
The Princess Royal read the lesson at the cathedral while the Evening Service of Dedication was conducted by the Bishop of Southampton, the Right Reverend Jonathan Frost by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter of Winchester.
Also on parade were the Red and Blue Ensigns of the Merchant Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary, HM Coastguard, and Army Ensign worn by Her Majesty’s Army vessels.
The National Ensigns were received by The Very Reverend James Atwell Dean of Winchester.
The Royal Naval Association, the Association of WRNS, the Royal Marines Association and Merchant Navy Association carried their Standards.
Cadets from the Southampton, Winchester and Portsmouth units of the Sea Cadets Corps carried the flags of the Mission to Seafarers, the Apostleship of the Sea and the Sailors Society.
They also carried flags of Shipping companies and organisations associated with Southampton.
Press Release, June 17, 2013; Image: Royal Navy