Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal paid a special visit to HMS Sultan on Friday 18 October 2013 as the Guest of Honour at the establishment’s Ceremonial Divisions. In addition to inspecting the Guard of Honour the Princess Royal presented awards and medals to worthy recipients.
Escorted by Captain Trevor Gulley Royal Navy, the Commanding Officer of HMS Sultan, throughout, Her Royal Highness spoke to several members of the 96 man Guard before presenting the awards.
On completion of the parade the Princess Royal saluted the marching platoons and the Royal Marines Band Collingwood as they ‘marched past’.
The Princess Royal spoke to each medal recipient as she presented their award, one of which was Chief Petty Officer Marine Engineering Darren Collins, who is currently serving as a Divisional Officer within the Marine Engineering Training Group, Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE), HMS Sultan.
He was awarded a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal for 15 years Service. During Darren’s career within the Royal navy he has completed deployment to Libya, serving onboard HMS Liverpool as part of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector(2012), Afgahanistan and Iraq (both 2003) and he has also served on numerous other ships including HMS Richmond, HMS Trafalgar, HMS Turbulent and HMS Nottingham.
When asked what they talked about Darren said,
“I was a little bit nervous but Her Royal Highness puts you at ease. We had a good chat and she asked me about my medal and congratulated me on my career.
“I could’ve picked up my medals six months ago but when I heard it was ceremonial divisions – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
“It’s a great honour to have them presented by Her Royal Highness.”
In addition to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, other VIPs in attendance included the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Rear Admiral (Retired) John Lang, the Mayor of Gosport Councillor John Beavis and his wife Mayoress Christine Beavis.
As part of the Defence College of Technical Training, HMS Sultan is the home of Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE) and the Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival School (RNAESS) whose primary function is to supply the Front Line with engineering Officers and Ratings of the highest quality.
In addition the Establishment plays host to The Admiralty Interview Board (AIB), The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA), The Nuclear Department of the Defence Academy and the HQ of the Defence College of Technical Training.
The Royal Navy Establishment is home to members of all 3 services and operates as part of Royal Air Force No 22 (Training) Group. The Establishment’s mission is to be ‘A unified, vibrant and trusted RN Training Establishment aiming for excellence in all that we do’.
Press Release, October 24, 2013; Image: Royal Navy