The second of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s new Tide-class support ships, RFA Tiderace, has arrived in Cornwall to begin a programme of customisation that will support 300 UK jobs. Like her sister ship RFA Tidespring, which arrived in April this year, the 39,000-tonne RFA Tiderace can carry up to 19,000 cubic metres of fuel and 1,400 cubic metres of fresh water in support of Royal Navy operations all over the world. She has been designed to support the new Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers, the first of which, HMS Queen Elizabeth, arrived in Portsmouth last month. Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: This year of the Royal Navy goes from strength to strength as we welcome yet another new ship into the UK’s growing fleet.
These past few weeks have seen heavy rainfall and widespread flooding cause major disruption across the UK, and, as the wet weather is set to continue, more than 2,000 military personnel have been called on to provide flood relief.
Armed forces personnel have been working closely with silver and gold command operators in the local authorities to help those whose lives have been affected by the floods.
Over 1,000 military personnel have been busy filling and distributing sandbags, as well as carrying out a variety of other tasks, in 6 different locations in the Thames Valley area.
In Wraysbury, around 100 personnel from Z Company of 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers have been on the ground assisting with sandbagging and other general duties, while troops deployed in Chertsey, Thorpe Park and Datchet continue to conduct general tasks in support of the emergency services there.
Soldiers from 145 (South) Brigade have continued filling sandbags as they support the Environment Agency at the Highways Agency’s Chieveley depot.
Meanwhile, in the Chertsey area of the River Thames, a pair of Royal Engineers boats are supporting the local fire and rescue service.
Taunton-based Royal Marines lay sandbags for Oxfordshire residents in heavy rain, sleet and strong winds [Picture: Crown copyright]
Royal Marines from 40 Commando are moving and filling sandbags in Somerset, and troops from 39 Engineer Regiment are using 8 earth-moving vehicles to assist the Environment Agency with rebuilding the shingle flood defences at Chesil Beach in Dorset.
Personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force continue to provide support in areas affected by floods as part of cross-government and multi-agency relief efforts. A total of 1,407 personnel are now committed to tasks, with further personnel on standby to deploy as required.
The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, has offered the services of military personnel to assist flood relief efforts in any affected area, and the Prime Minister has made clear that money is no object when it comes to the provision of support.
In order to achieve co-ordinated and effective assistance, military assets are deployed in consultation with the civil authorities, which remain in the lead on relief efforts.
While efforts are focused on the worst affected areas, in Somerset and the Thames Valley, military support is available to be deployed wherever required. In addition to personnel on the ground, a number of military planners are working with relevant agencies at a range of locations to scope what further support can be provided.
The military will remain available to respond to requests for assistance for as long as the flood situation continues.