BEING part of the crew of one of the Royal Navy’s newest warships has been a ‘unique’ privilege for experienced police officer Chris Toms.
The 40-year-old, who is a Sergeant with the Metropolitan Police in London, is already a couple of months into his year-long stint on HMS Medway.
The Portsmouth-based vessel is the latest to join the navy’s fleet and is one of the most advanced patrol ships ever built for the Senior Service.
Able Seaman Toms, who lives in Aylesford, Kent, had already been on one deployment in 2016 as a seaman specialist and is excited for his next.
He added: ‘It’s unique situation to be in really because there’s not many brand new Royal Navy ships that come out that you get to serve on as a reservist.
‘We’ve seen it being built up, gone through the training and will hopefully be on it in the Caribbean in January.’
AB Toms trains every Tuesday night at HMS President, the London wing of the Royal Navy Reserve.
He said getting time off his regular job to serve had been easy and added there were skills he had learnt as a police officer – like weapons training – which he was able to use in the navy.
‘Everyone should do this,’ he said. It’s a fantastic opportunity that you won’t get anywhere else.
‘Yesterday I stood under the rotating blades of a helicopter, lashing it down to the deck, fire fighting the week before and we’re out on seaboats next week.
‘Or you could just stay sat in your office in front of your computer - it’s up to you.’