West Cornwall MP Andrew George welcomed over forty naval ratings and officers from Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose to Parliament last week. The group, made up of trainee air engineering technicians and aircraft handlers and their mentors, travelled to Westminster as part of their training.
Mr George explained to his guests how Parliament keeps abreast of defence matters, related his experiences visiting Naval and other personnel in Helmand province on two previous occasions and shadowing the work of the Royal Navy for 22 days in 2009/10. He also explained why he voted against military action in Iraq and Syria. He took questions.
Former Armed Forces Minister Nick Harvey MP talked to the group about the relationship between the Government and the Navy, before several of the ratings gave presentations on their areas of study, including the Penlee Lifeboat Disaster.
Following tradition, the youngest rating in the group presented Mr George with a plaque inscribed with the official crest of the HMS Seahawk.
Chief Petty Officer Air Engineering Technician Jon Walsh, who leads the trainees, said: “The Naval General Training Organisation at RNAS Culdrose is committed to highlighting the importance of Naval Heritage during the Phase 2 training package. Knowledge of our Heritage is viewed as a key ingredient in the production of all qualified Fleet Air Arm Ratings. To be offered the opportunity to deliver Heritage presentations with Nick Harvey in attendance and to be hosted by Andrew George has been a fantastic experience. Personnel from RNAS Culdrose were also invited to tour the House with expert guides giving a detailed explanation of the nation’s seat of power. I would like to thank Andrew George and all the staff at Westminster who enabled this amazing visit to be realised.”
Andrew George said: “It was a privilege to host the next generation of air engineering technicians and aircraft handlers in Parliament. They are an impressive, highly professional and competent group. The future of the Navy looks encouraging with these young people. The plaque has pride of place in my office!”
Attached is a picture of Andrew George with WO1 Andrew Lewis, (Phase 2 Training Warrant Officer) (left), Chief Petty Officer Air Engineering Technician Jon Walsh, (Phase 2B, Air Engineering Training Officer/Divisional Officer) (right), and ratings representing The Royal Navy School of Flight Deck Operations, Merlin Depth Maintenance Facility, 824 Naval Air Squadron, 771 Naval Air Squadron and 849 Naval Air Squadron.