Captain Gavin Pritchard OBE assumed command of the Navy’s Antarctic Patrol Ship, HMS ENDURANCE, in October 2008 deploying her to Antarctica and is now the Director of the MoD’s Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff in Northwood.
He was educated at The High School of Dundee and Stewart’s Melville College in Edinburgh before joining the Royal Navy in 1982. He qualified as a Submarine Warfare Officer in 1986, subsequently serving in the submarines HMS CHURCHILL, HMS OTUS, HMS TALENT, HMS TURBULENT and HMS TIRELESS. His time in the submarine service included Cold War operational patrols in the Atlantic and operations in the Adriatic in support of NATO during the Balkans Crisis. He qualified as a Principal Warfare Officer in 1996 winning the Martin Bonniwell Trophy and the Ogilvy Medal on course, thereafter serving as the Operations Officer in HMS BOXER, primarily conducing counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean.
Shore assignments have included operational planning at the Maritime HQ in Northwood, working in the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall on strategic level maritime planning and Defence Crisis Management as well as a spell in the Navy Command Headquarters, Portsmouth as the Capability Manager for the Navy’s anti-submarine warfare ships and aircraft. He is a graduate of the Canadian Advanced Military Staff Course.
Between January 2006 and May 2008, he commanded the Type 23 frigates HMS KENT then HMS ARGYLL. He deployed both ships east of Suez and conducted operations in the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean regions as well as visits to 14 countries.
Gavin lives with his wife and children in Gosport, Hampshire. He was awarded an OBE in the 2009 New Year Honours List.
Tommo joined the Royal Navy ten years ago as an operator mechanic in submarines loading torpedoes. After witnessing the diving section in Scotland he decided that he wanted to do something more exciting! He took a branch change and trained to be a diver for six months when he took his seamanship and diving examinations. Although the training is very tough with an 80% failure rate due to course injuries and ear problems, Tommo came top of his leading dive course and has been diving for six to seven years.
Tommo joined HMS ENDURANCE on July 2008 and spent two years on board. His role means he is responsible for the planning and supervision of all dives. This includes the Ship’s hull searches, underwater engineering, seabed searches, maintaining all the kit, assisting surveyors in planting, and retrieving equipment.
For the dive team to go out it must consist of five people, out of these five people there has to be a leading diver plus two divers. A diving kit includes six sets of communication and two dive boats. The dive unit must always be prepared because there are never any planned diving operations. For instance if the ship gets damaged in the ice divers must go in to assess and fix the problem.
Tommo said that his job on HMS ENDURANCE is possible the best job on a Royal Navy ship for a diver because he is involved in the ship’s Ice Patrol activities. Normally on another ship or shore ship he would be fetching and blowing up mines and conducting underwater demolitions. His main concerns are rescuing stricken divers and big things in the water like leopard seals and killer whales.
It is considered to be very special to obtain a position on board HMS ENDURANCE. Shani volunteered two years ago and secured the role of Navigation Officer. The ship’s deployment is ideal for Shani as it won’t hinder her chance of returning to a warfare job.
Shani has six years training and is now in her 7th year. Her role is to get the ship safely from A to B and in and out of harbours. She is also the Bridge Manager and reports directly to the Captain. But as well as being part of Ice Patrol’s elite crew, the second reason for volunteering is to experience the icy challenging environment faced by the ship and her crew.
Shani’s goal is to command her own ship. Her Ice Patrol mission highlights have been: driving the ship during the night sail and returning to Mare Harbour without the thrusters - both of which were very challenging exercises.
Shani loves kiteboarding and outdoor sports including snowboarding and climbing. She wants to be the first person to kiteboard in the Antarctic Circle. When out at sea, Shani misses having a bath, shopping and cooking her own food.
Kevin Hewson joined HMS Raleigh to start his Royal Navy career in September 1979 at the age of 17. After his initial Marine Engineering and Mechanical training he joined his first ship HMS NORFOLK a guided missile destroyer.
During his career Kevin has served on a broad range of sea-going ships from frigates to aircraft carriers, with the latest and final ship being HMS ENDURANCE. Through his service, Kevin has undertaken several career training courses and also, instructed trainees in the vital skills of fire fighting and damage control.
His love of travel came from being in a fortunate position - Kevin’s father served with the Royal Air Force and served overseas throughout his childhood. Kevin, his mother and two brothers travelled with his father. Kevin’s deep passion for the sea and ships came from the many stories told to him by his Grandfather who served at sea between the two World Wars.
Kevin lives with his wife Lesley and their St Bernard dog called Sgt Major in West Somerset.
Jayne joined HMS Endurance in March 2007 and was on board for two years up to March 2009. She joined the Royal Navy as a warfare officer but always wanted to fly. She failed her aptitude test to become a pilot – but passed the observers test and has been a Lynx helicopter Observer for six years. There are only four female Lynx helicopter observers in the Royal Navy and one female pilot. Jane is also the only female in the flight team onboard HMS Endurance.
Jayne considers her role to be the best job in the Navy. Her favourite aspects are navigating and low-level flying. As well as being the co-pilot, other tasks Jayne undertakes include navigating the aircraft, winch operator and being responsible for passengers, the cargo and loadings. The only difference with being on board a warship is that she is the tactician as well.
Jayne would like to teach observing after completing her commission in six years time.
Jayne lives in Dorset, likes skiing, sea kayaking and the outdoors.