Monday, 20 January 2014

HMAS Darwin on her way........


Whilst HMAS Melbourne still has around two months to go before she returns to our shores, yesterday it was time for HMAS Darwin, her replacement on Operation Slipper, to set sail from Sydney to begin her journey to the Middle East.

In a farewell speech Rear Admiral Barrett said
“The two hundred and twenty men and women onboard HMAS Darwin will be contributing to a global mission, a mission that is having tangible results in disrupting piracy and the cross-border transport of criminals, narcotics and weapons, and ensuring the continued safety of all mariners at sea.  
Our forces continue to be held in the very highest regard by our international allies as a direct result of the hard work, commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm of our navy family.” 


HMAS Darwin is a long-range escort frigate that undertakes roles including area air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. The ship is capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface.

Darwin is equipped with a flight deck and hangars for two Seahawk helicopters. The Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk is an all weather, twin engine, 3 crew helicopter. Its primary role is Undersea Warfare for which it carries a range of sonobuoys and can deliver up to two torpedoes. Other roles include over the horizon targeting, surveillance, boarding support, Search and Rescue (SAR) and utility operations. 
HMAS Darwin together with her sister ship Sydney have been deployed to the Persian Gulf a record five times in 1990, 1991, 1992, 2002 and 2004. Darwin was deployed to East Timor (Timor-Leste) in 1999 and was also involved in operations in the Solomon Islands in 2001.


Their motto is 'Resurgent', their badge features the Phoenix.

A couple of weeks ago I had a coffee with the Captain on HMAS Darwin and briefed him on what Aussie Heroes can do for his crew, information that he took on board very enthusiastically.  I have already had a phone call from the Chaplain in the days prior to the ship sailing and we can expect to receive a request list from Darwin sometime in the next week or so.  If you have a loved one or a friend on HMAS Darwin and want to make sure they receive a quilt or a laundry bag please let them know to get their name on the list.  

Incidentally I received an email from a Melbourne crew member last week and she said  "The girls mess and passage way where we hang our laundry bags are looking more and more colourful as the trip goes on.  I think close to every female has a quilt now.  The people who make them all do an amazing job."
I also keep thinking about a statement made by an officer on HMAS Melbourne who said
"I've been up here 5 times now (over a long period), and the Aussie Hero Quilts have done so much more for morale on board than I have seen before on previous trips. You should be very proud of the positive effect that your work has for our deployed people!"

And you should all be proud to know that you are making a difference on all the ships that we look after as well as all the ground locations we send to.  As very few of us who sew for AHQ have ever been deployed we are, I suspect, unable to really understand what we are achieving.  We can only go on the thank you messages we receive but I think there are enough of those for us to know without a shadow of a doubt that we are making a difference.  
There are quite a few new people who are reading the blog and checking out our facebook page so to those people, in the next couple of weeks I will try and write some posts on how to help and how we work.  I hope you find it helpful and if there is anything that you think I should cover please let me know.

Don't forget to send in your soft and pretty Aussie block if you haven't already and don't forget your Brisbane Dinner Challenge Block.

Till next time................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  JMxx

1 comment:

  1. A fabulous post. Right now I am making some practice blocks using the paper piecing method as this works best for me. An idea for a block, machine paper pieced ? it takes out the guess work that the seams are not 100% accurate.

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