NEWS

FEBRUARY 20TH 2019

Retiring after more than two decades in the Royal Naval Reserve

With shipmates during HMS Sherwood Carol Concert

With shipmates during HMS Sherwood Carol Concert

A Royal Naval Reservist from Lincolnshire has reflected on her illustrious career as she prepares to retire after more than two decades in the service.

Leading Hand Lorraine Richardson has balanced her role in HMS Sherwood with her career as an Avionics Technician for the last 22 years. She initially joined in 1997 and since then has been on international deployments, spent months at sea and has taken part in high profile ceremonial duties.

Lorraine explained: “I have had so many great experiences that an article is not enough to give more than just a flavour of the fantastic and diverse opportunities I have had with the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR). I only wish I’d known about it when I was younger.”

Lorraine aboard HMS Glasgow

Lorraine aboard HMS Glasgow

During her time in the Reserves Lorraine has taken part in several overseas deployments including Operation Telic (Iraq War), has sailed on many ships including HMS Illustrious, has had encounters with Royalty, taken part in around the world races and was deployed for the Olympics in 2012.

When asked what her most memorable experience was, she said: “It has to be live firing a minigun at a ‘Killer Tomato’ target in the middle of the ocean and getting a ‘well done’ from the bridge for my complete annihilation of the target.”

However this is not the only memorable experience for Lorraine. She added: “Deploying to the Gulf during Op Telic was very exciting. When we returned to the UK we travelled up the Suez Canal and during that stretch of the trip I was manning a minigun on the Bridge Wing. Then in order to transport some vehicles, we stopped in Barcelona for Christmas and Gibraltar for New Year. The whole ten month deployment was an incredible adventure that is now a priceless memory for me.”

She has also been involved in several international competitions and challenges, including being the only Sailor to be part of the RAF team in the Nijmegen Three Day Marches, an endurance challenge that takes place in the Netherlands every year.

In 1999 she competed in the Transglobe Yacht Race where she raced from Rio De Janerio to St Maarten but had to divert to Antigua because of Hurricane Jose.

Lorraine during her trip up the Suez Canal

Lorraine during her trip up the Suez Canal

As well as taking part in operations and competitions Lorraine has also done more than her fair share of ceremonial duties.

She explained: “Being deployed for the Olympics was brilliant, we went to the Tower of London in our uniforms and the Beefeaters wanted their photos taken with us. I also had the chance to go and get my picture taken at Number 10 Downing Street.

“I have had the honour of being involved in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations at Windsor Castle, the Queen’s River Pageant and I’ve been on parade at the Menin Gate twice, including during the centenary year of the First World War armistice.

“The most unusual experience I have had is when Prince Michael of Kent bought me a beer during his visit to HMS Sherwood in 2014.”

When asked whether she would recommend Reserve service to others, Lorraine concluded: “Do it now. You will do things and go places that you could not pay money for. The sooner you do it the more opportunities you will have to make incredible memories like me.”

HMS Sherwood is the East Midlands’ only RNR unit, to find out more about joining email Navymr-sherwooduwo@mod.gov.uk or call 0115 9296373.

“I have had so many great experiences that an article is not enough to give more than just a flavour of the fantastic and diverse opportunities I have had with the Royal Naval Reserve (RNR). I only wish I’d known about it when I was younger.”