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13 November 2014

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You are in: Devon > Events > Events and Listings guide > In the Navy

navy Days 2009

Seeing the Royal Navy in its best light

In the Navy

September sees the biggest naval base in Western Europe open its doors to around 35,000 people - and it's not just for big boys who like their toys - there's something for the whole family to see at Devonport in Plymouth this year.

Navy Days in Plymouth 2009
5-6 September
Ticket hotline: 08445 787878

Putting together Plymouth Navy Days is a massive operation and after a three year break - the last Navy Days at the Devon base was in 2006 - work on the 2009 event begins towards the end of 2008.

At the helm is Commander Neil Trathen who heads the team which has been drafted in to co-ordinate everything at the nerve centre in Plymouth's Royal Naval Dockyard.

This year sounds like it's going to be even bigger and better than ever.

Commander Trathen says his task is to book the various displays and make sure the frigates and destroyers are available too. 

HMS Daring

HMS Daring

"We have to put our bids in for the ships well in advance to Fleet HQ and staff there see which ones are free to come along."

This year, one of the main attractions is the 21st century destroyer HMS Daring.

"This Type-45 destroyer is the Navy's newest ship", says Commander Trathen, "and this is the first time she'll be open to the public in the South West."

One of the Navy Days team, 20-year-old Joshua Gorst, has already spent four months on this state-of-the-art destroyer.

"If people climb aboard this ship after being on a previous destroyer they'll notice a massive shift in technology, " says Joshua.

"The most striking thing is its appearance from the outside."

Overall there will be 11 ships, including the Dutch vessel HNLMS Walrus, and three submarines, including a Hunter-Killer nuclear sub, as well as the usual helicopters, fighter planes and historic aircraft.

Royal Marines

Members of 42 Commando, just back from Afghanistan

Another major coup is the opportunity to meet some of the members of 42 Commando Royal Marines, which people tend to forget are very much part of the Royal Navy, even though they appear more land then sea based.

Many of them have just come back from operations in Afghanistan where a number of lives were lost.

Navy Days is an opportunity for the public to ask the service personnel all about the jobs they do - from the junior ratings to the Commanding Officers.

After spending nearly a decade as an aviator and a navigator for the Navy, Lieutenant Becca Filtness is now a reservist and has been called back to co-ordinate the air displays over the River Tamar.

She says along with aerial acrobatics, people will also be able to see what the Navy does at sea when it comes under attack.

"People still feel it's quite a novelty to be a woman and in the Navy, but it really isn't. We've been here for 19 years now, so we're quite used to it.

"Women now do almost every role that the men do apart from a few trades."


Visitors will see spectacular air displays

Putting on a show like this would cost anyone else an arm and a leg, so in monetary terms if the Navy had to pay for everything it probably wouldn't get much change out of £250,000. 

But the two-day event has to pay for itself, so although sponsors like Babcock put some money into the pot, everything that happens on the day needs to be paid for from ticket sales.

That's why it's good when some of the Devonport based frigates are already here - HMS Bulwark and HMS Ocean are just back from operation Taurus - and it's free for them to park up at Devonport.

For Commander Trathen, Navy Days could have been a logistical nightmare but the team, it seems, is confident that everything will go according to plan. All they need now is good weather.

You can find out more, including the price of tickets, by clicking the link at the top of this page.

last updated: 19/08/2009 at 14:30
created: 13/08/2009

You are in: Devon > Events > Events and Listings guide > In the Navy

BBC Radio Devon At Navy Days 2009

BBC Radio Devon will be at Plymouth Navy Days 2009, bringing you a flavour of the nautical activities.

Friday 4th September:

Gordon Sparks will be based at the naval base to preview the weekend on his Plymouth Breakfast Show from 6am-9am.

Saturday 5th September:

David FitzGerald will be broadcasting his mid-morning show from the base. Join him from 9am-midday.

Sunday 6th September:

Fitz is back for more and will be live on air from 2.30pm - 4.30pm.

Plus, in the run up to the weekend, Richard Green will be featuring Plymouth Navy Days in Kev Hutchings's Snapshot Of Devon as part of the Afternoon Show each day that week.

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