Sam is recognised for telling story of typhoon

An area of devastation around the North Coast of Cebu after Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013''''Picture: LPHOT Keith Morgan from ''HMS Daring
An area of devastation around the North Coast of Cebu after Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013''''Picture: LPHOT Keith Morgan from ''HMS Daring
British military dog Mali who has received the PDSA Dickin Medal, the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross with his current handler Corporal Daniel Hatley

NATIONAL: Mali the dog gets top military honour

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A CIVILIAN who helped tell the world of the devastation caused by deadly typhoon has received a top navy award for her efforts.

Samantha Chapman, a Royal Navy press officer based on Whale Island, was on the Portsmouth-based warship HMS Daring in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan struck.

Royal Navy press officer Samantha Chapman who was on HMS Daring at the time of Typhoon Haiyan, and her husband Liam Flatt, who is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and was on HMS Illustrious in the Far East at the time

Royal Navy press officer Samantha Chapman who was on HMS Daring at the time of Typhoon Haiyan, and her husband Liam Flatt, who is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy and was on HMS Illustrious in the Far East at the time

The 34-year-old found herself at the centre of the UK’s aid relief effort in the Philippines, which had been battered by a cyclone that killed more than 6,300 people.

Samantha, a former regional journalist, volunteered to stay on board the ship as the media officer and stayed there until HMS Illustrious arrived three weeks later which she joined to continue to report about the crisis.

Samantha said: ‘My time on HMS Daring for Op Patwin was a test of everything I know – professionally as a PR expert and journalist – but also as a human being by witnessing what these people had lived through and the fact they were still smiling and welcoming us.

For her efforts she was presented with the Chief of Joint Operations Commendation by Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Sir Philip Jones.

Her citation read: ‘She was invaluable is providing a positive profile of the UK’s assistance during this crisis in a manner that exemplified her professionalism and passion for the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Defence and the UK government.’

Sam is married to Liam Flatt – a lieutenant in the Royal Navy.

He was on board HMS Illustrious when she sailed to the Philippines and Sam was able to briefly be reunited with him before flying home three days later.

Samantha added she was both ‘proud’ and ‘honoured to have received the accolade.

‘To be able to tell the story of the kindness and strength of my naval colleagues in their hour of need was an honour and an unforgettable experience,’ she said.

A total of 37 people received awards during a ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base,

Samantha was the only civilian to receive an accolade during the ceremony.