You may recall in another news page of ours, we introduced you to Kirsty Greenwood’s daughter Lauren, an AB Warfare Specialist in the Royal Navy who was serving on the largest ever warship in the fleet, HMS Queen Elizabeth. At the time the sea trials for the vessel were just getting underway but as you may have seen on the news, the vessel was formally commissioned into service by Her Majesty the Queen.
Here are the full details from Kirsty: On the 8th of December I was lucky enough to go to the family day aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. The previous day was the commissioning of the ship and Lauren was lucky enough to be part of the honour guard for the Queen, which is a great privilege and as you can imagine I am really proud of. Lauren was standing in the front row almost opposite the Queen. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to the event on the 7th due to work but watched it all on the TV and with very great pride spotted Lauren on the news. On the family day we were given a tour of the ship, hosted by Lauren which included amongst it the flight deck and the bridge. We also got to see the mess hall where they eat dinner (not very inspiring) and their cabins which are fairly comfortable looking considering there are 6 of them sharing. We also saw their recreation room; each section has their own rec room which they have been given
money to refurb, the boys have X-box and dart board whereas the girls are installing a bar!!!!!!! Since the commissioning the ship has gone back on sea trials to Gibraltar where the crew got to meet the monkeys up close and very personal. While I was on holiday, Lauren managed to phone me to let me know she was sailing past Fuerteventura which is where I was and even though I wouldn’t see her or the ship, she was waving saying hello so I went to the balcony and waved at the sea - it was hard to be so close but not be able to see each other.
Thanks for sharing Lauren’s news with us Kirsty; we are all very proud of our local girl’s achievements!
Did you see Britain’s largest ever warship launch? The 65,000 ton HMS Queen Elizabeth slipped out of Rosyth dockyard and into open water through an exit with only 14in clearance on either side and 20in of water under the keel. On-board was a member of the Birchwood family, AB Warfare Specialist Lauren McMillan and watching from home was her proud mum, Kirsty Greenwood from Accounts.
Lauren joined the Navy 1st Feb 2015, when she just turned 18yrs old. She was born and brought up in Eastbourne along with her brother James and younger sister Jessica. Mum Kirsty had great pride in attending Lauren’s passing out parade 24th April 2015 after 10 weeks basic training which in itself is gruelling and her graduation in 24th July 2015 when she became an AB (able seaman) Warfare Specialist. This means she operates the Radar systems on board ship but is also trained in firefighting and weapons firing (including the large guns we see in pictures of warships and as you can see there’s not a lot of Lauren).Apparently you also have to do a lot of cleaning in the Royal Navy although Kirsty tells us her bedroom at home would not lead you to believe this! A really surprising fact is that Lauren and her shipmates have spent the last 18 months in Scotland waiting for the Queen Elizabeth to be ready to take to the seas. During that time she was lent out to HMS Dragon where she was part of the crew that shadowed the Russian warships that sailed down through the English Channel. Hopefully all going well with the QE sea trials the ship will then make its way to Portsmouth which will be its permanent home. Lauren is really looking forward to being closer to home but also even more so when they go on deployment next year to America for 6 months. As you would expect she misses her mum and siblings but most of all she misses her dog Finlay.
Well done Lauren; we are all really proud of your achievements and look forward to hearing about your adventures in the coming years.