HMS Dragon’s crew looking forward to getting home

SORTING Leading Seaman Sean Baldwin sorts through 170 bags of mail. Picture: L(Phot) Dave Jenkins
SORTING Leading Seaman Sean Baldwin sorts through 170 bags of mail. Picture: L(Phot) Dave Jenkins

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As a youngster, Leading Seaman Sean Baldwin was keen to look after himself and not rely on others.

And with a father who had spent 24 years in the Royal Navy, the path he wanted to take was obvious.

The 26-year-old radar operator, from Havant, joined the service and in a twist of fate ended up serving with his father on board Portsmouth-based HMS Edinburgh, before taking up his current position with HMS Dragon.

‘We tried to keep our lives separate and didn’t let it interfere with our careers,’ says LS Baldwin.

‘We kept it as professional as possible, but I guess it was pretty unusual.

‘I have always been keen to look after myself and make my own money.’

A dominating part of LS Baldwin’s job is watching the radar screens and monitoring patterns of life in the Gulf.

Over time, the ship is able to build up a picture of regular maritime life on the waters, which helps spot any potential threats.

‘Looking at these patterns of life helps us build up that picture and helps us identify what is out there,’ adds LS Baldwin.

‘When we do alongside visits to dhows out on the water, we don’t want to keep visiting the same dhows, because they will start feeling hassled, so it’s important to have that pattern.’

LS Baldwin talks regularly on the phone with wife Gemma, 27, daughter Mia, five, and son Harrison, one.

He also sends letters back to his daughter’s school, where they have set up a display board in Mia’s classroom for the class to learn about HMS Dragon.

He says: ‘At times it gets a bit hard. I have a family so sometimes I feel like I’m missing out on what’s happening at home.

‘But on the other side, when I am at home we have a lot of time together, which I take full advantage of.

‘I probably wouldn’t get that with another job.

‘It will be good to get back.

‘Everyone is really looking forward to going home now, we have worked hard and that’s the navy way.’