Cadets gain valuable insight on frigate tour

Steyning air cadets visit HMS Westminster
Steyning air cadets visit HMS Westminster

STEYNING air cadets learned first-hand about life on board a serving frigate when they visited HMS Westminster last Sunday.

Air Cadets from 1140 (Steyning) Squadron were joined by cadets from 461 (Chichester) Squadron and 45F (Worthing) Squadron on a visit to the serving Royal Naval Type 23 Frigate.

The ship was moored on the Thames alongside the cruiser HMS Belfast for the weekend, having returned from anti-submarine exercises in Norway.

Flight Lieutenant Dave Emsley, commanding officer of the Steyning squadron, said it was a big weekend for HMS Belfast as it was celebrating its 75th birthday.

Royal Navy frigates are responsible for submarine hunting and in their recent deployment to Norway, HMS Westminster was operating as the target vessel for the Norwegian Submarine Commander Course, known as the Perisher.

The cadets had an access-all-areas tour of the ship, with the opportunity to see the bridge, operations centre, engineering control centre, sailors’ mess and accommodations, the hangar and onboard Lynx helicopter.

“With some of the cadets wanting a career in the Navy, it gave the cadets a great insight into what they could expect,” added Flt Lt Emsley.

The cadets, who described the trip as “stupendous”, then boarded HMS Belfast and spent the afternoon exploring and learning what had changed over the 54 years between the two boats.

Flt Lt Emsley said: “It was a truly great opportunity.”

He thanked Chief Petty Officer Keith Pritchard for arranging the visit.

Air cadets are aged between 13 and 15 years old. If you are interested in joining, the Steyning Squadron parades on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7.30pm to 9.30pm, at the Cadet Centre, in Shooting Field. Visit