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On 30 January, members of the Royal Navy Section went on a trip to the DRIU (Damage Repair Instructional Unit), at HMS Excellent in Portsmouth.
Able Cadet Fleur (DG/Year 12) wrote the following review:
All recruits for the Royal Navy are trained in both damage repair and firefighting as the ship must be protected at all costs. For some of us, this was our first time on a naval base training alongside experienced marines, ratings, and officers.
First, we attended a safety briefing, to hear about what the day had in store and what precautions would be necessary for the day’s training.
The morning was spent firefighting and looking around various training facilities. After a demonstration of how to use each of the fire extinguishers and hoses, each student tried putting out fires with the foam extinguishers and practised how to use different types of hose and tackle electrical, oil and gas fires. We watched a dramatic demonstration of a ‘worst case scenario’ fire and a propane explosion in the training facilities, reminiscent of scenes from the original Italian Job. We then looked inside the compartments used to train all sailors before being deployed on a ship – interesting, especially for those of us considering careers in the Navy after CH. We used top-of-the-range thermal imaging cameras, trialling different things in order to test their sensitivity and prove the laws of physics.
After lunch, we went over to the DRIU – a sinking ship simulator and former warship. The scenario we had been given was that our ship had been under an air attack, and we needed to check for damage. When the attack began, we were told to adopt the brace position, after which we had to conduct a blanket check of our ship, alerting the commanders of any damage or flooding. When we were given the all-clear, we went down to repair the damage, using only wooden wedges and hammers. We had to repair holes in the sides and bottom of the ship, adding and breaking wedges according to the size of the holes. Sounds simple? Just add in gallons of near freezing water flooding through each of the gashes in the ship! Alongside this we had to ensure we sealed and secured any hatches to prevent the floods leaking to any other parts of our ship. As we did this the water level kept rising, until we had completed the exercise.
Overall, it was a great day of training, with fun, yet challenging, exercises!