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Membership of the Company is drawn from the security industry in its widest sense and includes leading security professionals from the industrial and retail sectors, serving and retired members of the police and armed services, security consultants, academics, heads of security for corporate businesses, investigators, and electronic surveillance companies.

The Clerk - Adrienne Harper

Phone: +44 (0) 1256 395036‬
36 Queens Rd, North Warnborough, Hampshire, RG29 1DN

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WCoSP Visit to Gibraltar to visit HMS MEDWAY

Since 2020 HMS MEDWAY, our Royal Navy Affiliate and a Batch 2 River Class Offshore Patrol Vessel, has been deployed to the Caribbean to provide support and humanitarian aid in the event of a hurricane or other natural disasters and to assist regional law enforcement on counter-narcotic operations.  Visiting the Ship in the Caribbean has always proved difficult logistically so when HMS MEDWAY arrived in Gibraltar at the end of 2023 to undergo maintenance, the Commanding Officer, Commander Jon Fletcher MBE and the XO, Lt Cdr Carla Higgins, kindly suggested and subsequently extended an invitation to visit to the Master Russell Penny, Past Master Steve Emmins and Middle Warden Sue Jones, with spouses/partner.  As you can imagine, there was no hesitation in making airline bookings (!) and all 6 visitors duly arrived in Gibraltar over 7/8 March for an excellent and action-packed programme over 2.5 days.

Once all had gathered the first visit was to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron (RNGS).  We were met and hosted by Lt Henry Kilby, the Commanding Officer of HMS DAGGER, a Cutlass-Class Royal Navy Patrol Launch with a maximum speed of over 40 knots, designed for demonstrating sovereignty and coastal force protection duties. During an excellent light lunch Lt Kilby briefed the group on RNGS’ mission which is to uphold the security of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and to protect British, NATO and Allied ships which pass through.  He provided a brief summary of the highlights of an operation which had occurred the previous evening involving the illegal activities of a Spanish Government Vessel which was challenged by RNGS and the vessel exited territorial waters shortly thereafter.  RNGS operate 365 days a year with both the Cutlass-Class ships and Pacific 24 Seaboats with a readiness profile that keeps them at no more than 1 hour’s notice for sea, 24 hours a day.

After the briefing it was time to board and experience the capabilities of HMS DAGGER, both in speed and turning ability.  Once out at sea the Master took the helm and enjoyed being in the driving seat during a brief period when a Spanish Government Vessel entered British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. HMS DAGGER intercepted the vessel and she quickly exited, as they clearly realised the combined efforts of the Royal Navy and the Worshipful Company would be too much to challenge.

Back on shore it was a short drive to visit HMS MEDWAY, where we were hosted by Commander Fletcher, Lt Cdr Higgins and officers in the Wardroom for tea and cakes.  Joining them were Officer Cadets from the Royal Naval College Dartmouth who were there for ‘on board experience’.  It was interesting talking to them about their training course and forthcoming graduation in April.  During the tea ‘International Women’s Day’ was acknowledged and celebrated.

Dinner in the evening followed at a restaurant with Cdr Fletcher, Lt Cdr Higgins and some of the crew and this gave us all time to relax and chat informally.

The following morning the group, together with Cdr Fletcher, Lt Cdr Higgins and some of the Ship’s company had an enlightening 3-hour tour of the WW2 tunnels, conducted by Commander Mark Fitzsimmons.  Within the labyrinth of tunnels, laid out on many differing levels and all interconnected, inside the limestone rock that is Gibraltar, it was planned that a Garrison could live, feed, work, as well as store ammunitions, fuel and all essential resources should the worse-case scenario of a siege by Spain or Germany ever occur.  By all accounts the rock excavated from within became the hardcore for a new and essential runway constructed on the old Gibraltar Racecourse.  Furthermore, until recent land reclamation by the Gibraltar Government, there were said to be more miles of tunnels within the rock than on the isthmus itself!  The greater history connected with all the tunnels (from the late 1700s to the present day) is far too long and complicated to describe here but our tour was highly educational and fascinating – and in 3 hours we all achieved quite a few ‘steps’!  

After a break and lunch it was back to HMS MEDWAY for a Reception & Capability Demonstration.  We were welcomed on board by Commander Fletcher and made our way to the Bridge where we met the Commander British Forces, Commodore Tom Guy, his wife and other guests.  Over drinks we watched a very impressive Capability Demonstration which included a mock attack on HMS MEDWAY, a fire drill, a visit to the medical section to learn the procedure on how to deal with someone who had been ‘shot’ and finally to the engine room where maintenance works were ongoing to MEDWAY’s 2 MAN 16V STC Diesel engines.  

Then it was back to the Bridge for the formal Presentations.  The Master had great pleasure in presenting the Mike Welply Memorial Award and Certificate to Leading Engineering Technical Darren Wallace and offered the Company’s congratulations for an outstanding achievement.  

By order of the Court the Master had the privilege of presenting Commander Fletcher with his Honorary Freedom Certificate.   

By exception, and with the Court’s agreement, the Master presented a surprise Honorary Freedom Certificate to Lt Cdr Carla Higgins for her exceptional commitment to the relationship between HMS MEDWAY and the Worshipful Company.

The Master also presented a Company plaque to HMS MEDWAY.  

Equally surprised, and eternally grateful, was Middle Warden Sue Jones who was presented with a framed print of HMS MEDWAY by Lt Cdr Higgins, in recognition of her role as Point of Contact over the last few years.  

The Master, PM Steve Emmins and MW Sue Jones were each given a bottle of HMS MEDWAY branded gin, all of which thankfully made it safely back to the UK!

The evening activities centred around a certain England/Ireland rugby match, watched with the Commander, Lt Cdr Higgins and some of the Ship’s Company at an Irish bar (O’Reillys) followed by a dinner at a nearby restaurant.

The Sunday was more relaxed with a visit to the Rock, St Michael’s Cave and a Mother’s Day Lunch at Mons Calpe Restaurant, with a phenomenal view.  

The weekend visit was exceptional.  It was proof that the relationship between HMS MEDWAY and the Worshipful Company is at its best and that is only achieved with those involved who make it so.  It was such an honour and privilege to be invited and to meet Cdr Fletcher and so many of the Ship’s Company – and to witness at first hand their professionalism, dedication and teamwork spirit.  Our sincere thanks to Cdr Fletcher, Lt Cdr Higgins, Cdr Fitzsimmons and Lt Kilby for giving up so much of their valuable time over the weekend.  Finally a huge thanks to the Ship’s Company of both HMS MEDWAY and HMS DAGGER who made us feel so welcome.  The weather in Gibraltar may not have been the same as in the Caribbean but we certainly felt the warmth and sunshine from all who hosted us.  Thank you and we wish both HMS MEDWAY and HMS DAGGER safe, happy and successful sailings in the future!

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