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Issue: 24 July 2014

Southport sailor lends a hand in West Africa

A Royal Navy sailor, from Southport, has been helping with the renovation of a small West African school in Guinea.  Leading Seaman Warfare Specialist John Haslam, 25, from Southport, was part of a team of sailors who assisted in painting and generally improving the SABU School in Conakry, Guinea. As a member of HMS Iron Duke's 200 strong ship's company he was there on a visit as part of the ship's 6 month deployment.  The SABU School recently moved to new, and safer, premises in the Capital City, but the building was largely derelict.  John helped with painting some of the new classrooms, before taking part in an impromptu game of football and trying his hand at West African tribal dancing with some of the school's pupils.  John said:-  "Working with the school was special to me; it gave me a totally different outlook on life and has changed me as a person forever. Being able to help the people of the community and SABU School is by far the most satisfying thing I've ever done with the Royal Navy."

HMS Iron Duke sailed from Portsmouth on June 20 on a routine 6 month deployment to patrol the South Atlantic.  Her visit to Guinea is the 1st visit by a Royal Navy ship in 15 years and her arrival was met by a band and reception party. Staying for 4 days, in company with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Black Rover, the ships played host to members of the Guinean Navy as sailors gave lessons on navigation, seamanship and firefighting techniques.

For John, this is his 2nd deployment since joining the Navy 5˝ years ago.  When at sea John works as an Operation's Room supervisor and is responsible the smooth running of the Operation's Room, leading a 5 man team to ensure it is ready to react to threats from multiple environments including air and underwater threat.   John added:-  "I am very privileged to work in the Operation's Room, arguably one of the most important compartments on a warship. It can be a very demanding and complex environment and it is satisfying to see a team of people work seamlessly together tying in all of the Ship's different sensors and weapon systems."

As Iron Duke continues with her deployment, it will see her visit much of West and South Africa as well as British territories in the South Atlantic before she is due to return to Portsmouth in December.

"Lights Out!" - Marking the 100th Anniversary of the start of the 1st World War

AS a mark of respect for all those who died and to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the start of the First World War, people are being encouraged to light a candle in the house. This is between 10pm and 11pm on Monday, 4 August 2014. We are asked to extinguish all lights except 1 which could be a candle or single light. Limited edition commemoration candles are available in Southport Marks & Spencer and in other large M&S Stores for which all profits go to the Poppy Appeal of the Royal British Legion. "The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, uttered these words on the eve of Britain officially entering the 1st World War. Exactly 100 years later we are inviting millions of individuals, households and companies to join together in a national moment of reflection..

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