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HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior Featured Print

HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior

HMS Exeter is shown in the foreground with HMS Illustrious, taking part in Exercise Neptune Warrior.
Having spent two years embarking periodically in HMS Invincible as the High-Readiness Aircraft Carrier, 801 NAS had just returned from 6 weeks training with HMS Illustrious, in order to assist in her preparations for the role. Embarking for the second and third phases of her Operational Sea Training (OST) package, together with 849 Squadron A Flight Sea King Mk 7s and a Sea King Mk 6 of 771 Squadron, 801's Sea Harrier FA2s tailored their flying to provide progressive training for all of HMS Illustrious' newly formed crew.
After two weeks of combined Fixed and Rotary Wing flying operations, HMS Illustrious next embarked the RAF Harrier GR7's of 1(F) Squadron, who soon adjusted to the unique demands of operating from an Aircraft Carrier at sea. It was at this point, after three intensive weeks that HMS Illustrious and her Tailored Air Group (TAG) were assessed to be fit to continue into Phase 3 of OST, where a highflying rate would be integrated into a tactical scenario.
Following a brief port visit to Newcastle, in order to refresh all embarked personnel and conduct essential maintenance, HMS Illustrious sailed with her full complement of TAG for Exercise Neptune Warrior. This Exercise had an extremely large number of multinational participants, ranging from HMAS Anzac (an Australian Frigate), to a Dutch Submarine, and was conducted in the challenging waters of the North-West Scottish coast. Neptune Warrior pitted two large Naval Task Groups against each other in a complex Political scenario, and enabled the TAG to operate in a Maritime Strike role, focussing on the GR7s Strike capability.

© Crown Copyright

HMS Campbeltown silhouetted at sea enroute to Gibraltar in 2007 Featured Print

HMS Campbeltown silhouetted at sea enroute to Gibraltar in 2007

A backlit HMS Campbeltown sails south towards Gibraltar for the first stop on her 7 month deployment to the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.
The ship is the third of the Type 22 Batch 3 frigates and the second Royal Navy warship to bear the name. Campbeltown was built by Cammell Laird Shipbuilders Ltd in Birkenhead, and was launched on 7 October 1987; entering service on 27 May 1989.
The name of HMS Campbeltown has a distinguished record of Royal Navy service. These are Battle of the Atlantic 1941-1942 and St. Nazaire 1942, which is often referred to as "the greatest raid of all" as it had the largest number of Victoria Cross medals awarded for a single operation.
The ship's motto is "Victoria Fortes Sequitur" which translates as "Victory Through Strength". The crest is of a Bog Myrtle bush, a plant only found in the area surrounding the town of Campbeltown in Argyll, Scotland, the ship's affiliated town and one with which close ties are maintained. HMS Campbeltown is the present platform that young Naval Officers carry out their Initial Sea Training

© Crown Copyright

Blues and Royals at Horse Guards Featured Print

Blues and Royals at Horse Guards

Pictured are Blues and Royals horses at Horse Guards.
The Blues and Royals were formed in 1969 from an amalgamation of the  Royal Horse Guards, which was known as "the Blues" or "the Oxford Blues", and the Royal Dragoons, which was known as "the Royals".
As a result of the Options for Change Review in 1991, the Blues and Royals formed a union for operational purposes with the Life Guards as the Household Cavalry Regiment.
However, they each maintain their regimental identity, with distinct uniforms and traditions, and their own colonel. The Blues and Royals currently has two reconnaissance squadrons in Windsor, which are part of the Household Cavalry Regiment, and a mounted squadron in London as part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.
Instead of being known as the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons, the regiment is known as the Blues and Royals and is therefore the only regiment in the British Army to be officially known by their nickname as opposed to their full name.
On ceremonial occasions, the Blues and Royals wear a blue tunic (inherited from the Royal Horse Guards, also known as "the Blues"), a metal cuirass, and a matching helmet with a red plume worn unbound, and against popular belief the regiment's farriers wear a red plume like the rest of the regiment but do not wear the metal cuirass. In addition, the Blues and Royals wear their chin strap under their chin, as opposed to the Life Guards, who wear it below their lower lip.
On service dress, the Blues and Royals wear a blue lanyard on the left shoulder, as well as a Sam Browne belt containing a whistle. In most dress orders, the Waterloo Eagle is worn on the left arm as part of dress traditions. 
The Blues and Royals, as part of the Household Division, does not use the Order of the Bath Star for its officer rank 'pips,' but rather the Order of the Garter Star.

© Crown copyright