Senior sailors’ mess given a new lease of life

Members of the Warrant Officer and Senior Rates Mess and refurbishment partners from The Nuffield Trust and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity
Members of the Warrant Officer and Senior Rates Mess and refurbishment partners from The Nuffield Trust and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Pictute: LPhot Ioan Roberts

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OUTDATED facilities for senior sailors at one of the area’s naval bases have been given a makeover.

The Warrant Officers’ and Senior Rates’ Mess at HMS Sultan, in Gosport, has been overhauled thanks to a major injection of cash.

It provides a hub for social activities for about 400 service personnel from across the armed forces.

As well as a general refresh, the project has seen the bar facilities updated with a new dance floor, stage and sliding doors, the extension of the snug bar, new study areas and updates to toilet facilities.

In addition, personnel can also enjoy improved games and TV Lounges and the mess now even has its own cinema.

Base Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer 1 Jason ‘Mo’ Morris said: ‘This refurbishment has allowed us to drag the Mess from the 1990s into the modern day.

‘We’ve now provided more facilities during the day time for the classes including revision areas and the bar has also been upgraded.’

As well as providing a space on site where the personnel can bring their families, the mess is also used to support the base’s Blind Veterans UK’s Summer Camp and a community Christmas dinner for elderly Gosport residents.

WO Morris added more people were using it than ever before.

‘Now that it is a nice place to be, people don’t want to sit in their cabins so much but actually come out to the mess, which has got to be a positive,’ he said.

Rear Admiral Richard Stokes, assistant chief of naval staff (support), was the guest of honour at the mess’ grand unveiling.

The overhaul was supported by The Nuffield Trust, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, Rebalancing Lives fund and The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) who were given a government donation in 2015 from Libor banking scandal fines to make the project a reality.

Robert Robson, chief executive of the RNRMC, said: ‘Our aim with this project, alongside our partners, was to produce a modern “home from home” that members of the mess can enjoy.

‘We wanted to place real emphasis on the unsung heroes and the families. Working with others we have delivered a great result and one I know that is having a really positive impact.’