CCF Firefighting and Damage Control at HMS Excellent

This week our CCF Royal Navy Cadets have been battling the heat in more ways than one, as they participated in firefighting and damage control training at HMS Excellent on Whale Island, Portsmouth. At the Royal Navy Firefighting School, cadets learnt how to tackle different types of fires, and practiced using extinguishers, reel hoses, and thermal infrared imaging cameras. They then used their training to fight a large blaze in an engine room of a mock frigate section in which the Royal Navy usually run training simulations for new recruits.

Our cadets also had the fantastic opportunity to experience the Damage Repair Instruction Unit, a large simulator of the interior of a ship that has sustained various types of damage causing flooding. Cadets had to work together to prevent high pressure water from flooding a damaged compartment by sealing holes with hammers and wood. It was great to see everyone courageously leap into action as the ship started sinking and throw themselves into repairing the damage; staff in the DRIU praised our cadets for their performance, commenting that they demonstrated better skills than some of the regular recruits they train. In particular, Able Cadet Porter-Bailey’s swift and tenacious sealing of a high pressure, high volume flood within the small confined space of an electrical cabinet – a highly challenging task – greatly impressed the instructors.

After the firefighting and damage control training, we visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and the world’s oldest naval vessel still in commission with 245 years of active service in the Royal Navy. Cadets had a chance to enter the ward room on board, an honour not generally open to visitors. We also saw the historic HMS Warrior and one of the UK’s modern aircraft carriers, HMS Prince of Wales. We took advantage of the beautiful weather by finishing the day back at our campsite with a barbecue and fire pit – some cadets put their new training into practice, fighting fires on their “toasted” marshmallows.

Overall we had a fantastic trip providing some unique experiences, and all the cadets should be proud of their efforts and accomplishments to make the camp a great success. Well done everyone!

– Lt Hughes