I put myself forward for consideration as a SAMA82 Trustee and Board member having read the ‘call for volunteers’ in a 2019 Newsletter. Fully understanding that for the SAMA82 group to continue the splendid work they do; the Trustee positions must always be filled due to legal obligations.
As a regular attendee at the SAMA82 AGM, I am also privileged to hold the position of Chairman for the HMS Coventry D118 Association. Therefore, know only too well how important it is for organisations such as SAMA82 to be allowed to continue to provide the critical support environment at so many different levels. It is easy to observe (at the same time be part of it) the comradeship, friendship and the immensely powerful emotions that ebb and flow during our various gatherings throughout the year. This is largely due to the close-knit community of FI 82 conflict veterans that look to associations such as SAMA82, FVF and many others to provide a safety net whenever they feel the need for it.
I feel that my experience as a military FI 82 veteran, but also a severely injured survivor of the HMS Coventry sinking, provides me the empathy and significant understanding with many of the FI veterans I frequently mix with. Indeed my own shipmates that I see on a more regular basis often ‘open up’ wanting and needing to talk about vivid memories, but most are simply seeking a friendly ear (and support should it be needed) over a few beers and dits.
It is perhaps my embedded understanding of my own shipmates and other veterans in all domains that has compelled me to step up and volunteer my services as a SAMA82 Trustee. I sincerely believe I have a lot to offer and am fully committed and honoured to serve my fellow veterans in whatever way I can, whilst I can.
So, who am I? Having joined the Royal Navy at HMS Raleigh, Torpoint, in August 1972 I trained as a Communications and Electronic Warfare specialist. Completed 26 years’ active service, including as EW Director on HMS Coventry during the FI conflict of 1982 where I suffered extensive burns at 27% when HMS Coventry D118 was sunk in action on 25 May.
Post convalescing from my injuries, acting as CBM in HMS Victory, my Naval career went on post 1982. First drafted to COMNAVSOUTH Naples, then (after promotion to CPO EW) to HMS Illustrious where I was EW Director within a Carrier Battle Group, Chief EW Instructor at the RN school of EW, NATO MEWSG (now NATO JEWCS) Tracsvan Captain and subsequently, after promotion to Warrant Officer, my final appointment was Operations Officer at the Royal Naval EW Operational Support Establishment, RAF Wyton. During this period, we also formed the tri-service UK Defence EW Centre at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, UK. I finally left the Royal Navy in 1998 and in the same year I was delighted to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with the award of a Military Division MBE.
After leaving the Royal Navy in 1998 I worked as EW Director with Systematic Software Engineering Ltd where, for over 18 years, was responsible for all aspects of the Electronic Warfare business on a global basis. I am also an active member of the Association of Old Crows and currently serving in the role of Acting President of the UK Chapter.
Disclaimer: Trustee Profile written & submitted by Mr Chris Howe MBE