Royal Navy engineer puts skills to the test

Onboard HMS Illustrious
Onboard HMS Illustrious
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A SAILOR will be carrying out vital work on the high seas as he and his team train for hostile situations.

Royal Navy engineer technician Peter Richardson, 33, is helping to co-ordinate one of the service’s biggest practice operations, to help the force test its capability.

Cougar 13 sees the UK response force task group honing maritime skills thousands of miles from home through exercises with allied countries.

Peter, 33, who attended Monkwearmouth School, will take part in the first of several exercises, Albanian Lion, around the Albanian city of Vlore. Royal Marines will land and move inland through a fictional hostile state.

Dad to Owen, 12, Noah, eight, and Teddy, 11 months, Peter will work on the HMS Illustrious to make sure everything is in working order on the ship.

Exercises are played out under Action Stations, meaning crew members either work six or eight- hour patterns day in, day out, for the entire time.

Four Royal navy ships and five Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are taking part in the exercise, along with Royal Marines embarked in HMS Bulwark, County Durham’s adopted warship, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Lyme Bay, as well as Army commandos.

Peter, who joined the Royal Navy four-and-a-half years ago, having already served eight years in the Army, said: “My first ship was Ark Royal, and I stayed with her right till the end, and think I’ll be staying with Illustrious until she decommissions too at the end of next year.

“This is not my first Cougar, but these deployments are always a busy time for the ships taking part.

“But that is the nature of training – we need to be ready for every eventuality.”