Sailors get comfy in new accommodation block at Portsmouth Naval Base

Able Seaman Connor Berry sits in one of the rooms at the navy's new accommodation block. All pictures: LA(Phot) Dan Rosenbaum
Able Seaman Connor Berry sits in one of the rooms at the navy's new accommodation block. All pictures: LA(Phot) Dan Rosenbaum
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HOOFING, Gucci and quality are all words you will hear from those in the naval service to describe something fancy or good.

And they can all be used to describe the standard of a new £15m accommodation block built for sailors and marines at Portsmouth Naval Base.

Naval ratings and Royal Marines musicians enjoy a game of pool in the communal area

Naval ratings and Royal Marines musicians enjoy a game of pool in the communal area

The 270-bed living quarters at HMS Nelson were officially opened yesterday by the navy’s Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Jones.

He unveiled a plaque on the ground floor of the new five-storey Falklands Block which will be used by trainees at the nearby Royal Marines School of Music and by Royal Navy junior rates.

Vice-Adml Jones, one of only a small number of Falklands veterans still serving in the Royal Navy, said: ‘It is particularly poignant that I am opening Falklands Block as I am wearing my South Atlantic medal having served on board HMS Fearless in 1982.

‘My memories of serving in the Falklands are extraordinary and it is important that we keep those memories alive for future generations.

It is particularly poignant that I am opening Falklands Block as I am wearing my South Atlantic medal having served on board HMS Fearless in 1982

Vice-Admiral Sir Philip Jones

‘This kind of building epitomises the way we have to house and enable young people to go about their business.’

Sailors and marines who have now moved into the new accommodation say it far surpasses the ageing Britannia Block, which is being demolished soon.

Musician Jessica Garrod, 21, of the Royal Marines School of Music, said: ‘It is really nice here.

‘The best thing is the large communal room where we can all meet, socialise and play pool.

‘The cooking facilities are good too.’

Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Thomas Hopper, 20, said the quality of accommodation makes a big difference to morale.

‘The old Britannia Block was honking,’ he said – using the naval slang term for something which smells bad.

‘But this place is much nicer.

‘It’s just much better quality, with better showers, bigger rooms, and a bigger communal area.’

The name of the new block came out top in a vote involving junior ratings at the naval base – the poll coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Falklands campaign.

Able Seaman Connor Berry, 19, added: ‘The rooms and bathrooms are a lot bigger than where I’ve stayed in the past and there is a lot more to do.

‘The communal room is excellent.’

Construction of the building began in 
2013.

Schoolchildren were invited to bury a time capsule, containing photographs, coins and toys, beneath the foundations.