Navy shows off its bomb disposal expertise

VISIT The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Paula Riches, with Cdr Paul Jones, commanding officer of HMS Excellent
VISIT The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Paula Riches, with Cdr Paul Jones, commanding officer of HMS Excellent
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ROYAL Navy divers provided 15 mayors and council chairmen from across Hampshire with an insight into the world of diving and bomb disposal at Horsea Island in Portsmouth.

As part of a civic day organised by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Paula Riches, members of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Diving Squadron demonstrated their equipment and explained their tasks.

Commanding Officer of Fleet Diving Squadron Commander Mark Savage said: ‘Although Royal Navy divers are employed across the world and are supporting mine and bomb disposal operations in the Arabian Gulf and Afghanistan, the teams do a great deal of high profile work around the county.

‘This was an opportunity for our visitors to look behind the scenes and see the range of skills and capability we deliver.’

The Lord Mayor and her guests were briefed on the huge breadth of tasks performed by the squadron which included underwater engineering, clearing assault beaches of sea mines, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) disposal and search and rescue missions.

The visitors were then given access to some of the specialist equipment and hardware that support these roles and witnessed live explosive demonstrations of how to deal with car bombs and underwater mines.

Councillor Riches, who had arranged for the local authority visitors to dress in 1940s theme outfits following a trip to the D-Day museum in Southsea, said: ‘Portsmouth enjoys a tremendous bond with the Royal Navy and it was fantastic to share this experience with all the Hampshire mayors and chairmen.

‘We thoroughly enjoyed meeting truly professional individuals who are justifiably proud of the work they are called upon to do.’