Sherwood seven honour Her Majesty The Queen
Seven proud Royal Naval Reservists from HMS Sherwood were among those representing the Senior Service on parade for Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee.
Petty Officers Rob Howe and Cathy Gibbons; Leading Seamen Jill Richards and Lorraine Richardson; and Able Seamen Richard Cooke, Becky Hancock and Sarah Newby from the Nottingham Royal Naval Reserve Unit joined the Armed Forces Muster at Windsor.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to march in the grounds of Windsor Castle before the Queen,” said AB Cooke, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire. “It gave me the opportunity to show my pride in my role within the Royal Naval Reserve and my devotion to my Monarch.”
PO Gibbons, from Beeston in Nottingham, who has served in the RNR for 14 years, shared similar sentiments:
“This was a significant event for Her Majesty and Great Britain and it was an invitation to a really important and incredibly rare celebration – I had to say ’yes’.”
“Giving the eyes right to the Queen at such closed quarters and receiving the Duke of Edinburgh’s personal salute made me feel like they were proud of us,” she added.
In the Royal Naval Reserve PO Gibbons is an instructor in the Initial Naval Training Branch, responsible for training new recruits. In civilian life Dr Gibbons is an academic at the University of Nottingham’s Graduate School, where she trains research staff and students in transferable skills and research methodology.
“It was an opportunity to raise the profile of the Maritime Reserves and raise my profile as a Reservist, especially with my work colleagues – who don’t get to see what I do – and my employer who supports my Reserve Service,” said PO Gibbons.
PO Rob Howe has been no stranger to ceremonial duties during his 25 years in the Royal Naval Reserve. This has included being the escort to the Sovereign’s Colour at Horse Guards Parade and being a member of the Royal Guard during the 2005 Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
“This was a one-off event that will never happen again in our lifetimes – we were making history – and I enjoy ceremonial duties,” said PO Howe.
“It was important to represent the Royal Naval Reserve and HMS Sherwood in particular.”
For the Petty Officer, from Hinckley in Leicestershire, the Royal Navy is also an important part of his civilian life as he works in submarine engineering for Rolls Royce. However, he will use his Naval skills as a Maritime Trade Organisation specialist when he deploys to the Middle East later this year in support of anti-piracy operations. This follows an earlier mobilisation to Iraq as a Gun Commander on the Phalanx Weapon System in 2008.
As the HMS Sherwood Reservists paraded with over 2,000 other servicemen and women they were cheered by family and friends who were among the thousands of well-wishers who lined the streets of Windsor.
“Marching with other servicemen and women to the military bands, and with the crowds supporting us, we all grew a few inches,” said PO Howe. “On the day everything came together and it was exciting.”
To close the celebrations, a magnificent 78-aircraft flypast from all three Services took place, including Fleet Air Arm Lynx, Sea King and Merlin helicopters, and Navy and RAF Hawks flying in an “E II R”.
“The flypast was tremendous,” said AB Cooke.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations are not over yet for the “Sherwood Seven”. More Reservists from HMS Sherwood will join them to parade as part of the Thames River Pageant this Sunday. PO Gibbons will be a member of the Guard and Colours Party, which will present the Royal Naval Reserve Colours.
The Royal Naval Reserve recruits people from all walks of life into roles as diverse as amphibious warfare, intelligence and nursing. If you are looking for a new challenge or you want to find out more call HMS Sherwood on 0115 9296373.