September 19, 2016 - HMS Monmouth broke off war games and dashed to the help save the life of a Canadian fisherman in the North Atlantic.
The Plymouth-based frigate was taking part in Canada’s largest naval exercise in two decades, around 100 miles east of Nova Scotia, when she picked up a mayday – while her board and search teams were working their way through a training ship as part of the exercise.
The crew of the trawler Double Mischief reported that one of their shipmates had fallen badly and was suffering possible heart problems as a result.
The boarding teams abandoned their search of their training vessel, the MV Leeway Odyssey, and raced at top speed in their boats to the fishing vessel which was ten miles away.
Within minutes a small medical team was sent over to the fishing vessel and Monmouth’s doctor Surgeon Lieutenant Elizabeth Walters was able to stabilize the casualty, a 34-year-old Canadian, but determined he was in urgent need of hospital treatment.
The fisherman was carefully carried by one of Monmouth’s boat back to the frigate, while a Seahawk helicopter was scrambled by another participant of the exercise, the American supply ship USNS Robert E Peary.
It landed on Monmouth, collected the casualty and flew him to a waiting ambulance at Halifax’s Stanfield International Airport. Lt Walters accompanied the injured man throughout the long flight back.
“This is a perfect example highlighting the flexibility and professionalism of my team who rapidly switched roles in response to real-world events,” said Commander Phil Tilden, Monmouth’s Commanding Officer.
“It also demonstrates the fantastic partnership that the Royal Navy has with the US and Royal Canadian Navies such that we can operate seamlessly together to pool resources and deliver results – which in this instance undoubtedly saved a life.”
After evacuating the casualty, the warship switched its attention back to exercise Cutlass Fury, bringing her ship’s company to Action Stations to fight alongside her NATO partners, the USS Berkeley and USS Gonzalez, in a simulated air attack using real Canadian F-18 fighter jets as the adversary.