HMS Prince of Wales Team train at HMS Raleigh

A team from HMS Prince of Wales have been training at HMS Raleigh as they prepare to take the mighty aircraft carrier to sea for the first time later this year.

The group of 28, mostly made up of Seaman Specialists, but also including other members of the Ship’s Company, make up HMS Prince of Wales’s replenishment-at-sea team, commonly known in the Royal Navy as RAS or RASing. 

They spent two days using HMS Raleigh’s RAS trainer; a multi-million pound mock-up of a warship and a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) vessel which is designed to teach sailors and RFA personnel how to transfer stores and fuel safely from ship-to-ship while underway at sea. 

RASing can take place in various sea states day and night.  Stores and fuel are transferred using heavy wires and it is often described as the most dangerous seamanship task undertaken at sea. 

I love being on HMS Prince of Wales. It’s a big challenge bringing such a big ship, with so many components, together, and getting her safe for sea is mega.

CPO McNeil

Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Jamie McNeil, HMS Prince of Wales’s Bosun, is in charge of the team of sailors, many of whom are relatively new to the Royal Navy. 

He said:  “We’ve been together as a team for about four weeks as the ship has been crewing up generally. 

“Some of the team are just out of their specialist training while others have spent some time on our sister ship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, to gain some experience. This is a great training facility.

“We’ve been practising probe refuelling and a little bit of stores RASing.”

HMS Prince of Wales is the second of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers and is currently coming towards the end of her build phase in Rosyth.  This new class of carriers are the biggest ships ever built for the Royal Navy.

CPO McNeil, who lives in Plymouth, said:  “I love being on HMS Prince of Wales.  It’s a big challenge bringing such a big ship, with so many components, together, and getting her safe for sea is mega. 

“I’ve got a big department to manage, but the lads are really up for it.  I’ve been on board since the beginning of July last year. 

“The programme of getting onboard and taking ownership of the maintenance, breaking down the stores and getting them onboard and conducting the training on the relevant bits of kit, is all hotting up and speeding up, which is why we have come to do this at HMS Raleigh.”

The two-days training for the Prince of Wales team also provided a good opportunity for the RFA students undergoing training at HMS Raleigh.  They manned the RFA side of the training facility.