Luke in the Royal Navy
What is the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme?
In 2018, Luke joined the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. It allows Members of Parliament to gain insight into daily military life by spending 15 days a year with the armed forces.
The objective of the scheme is to connect politicians with the day-to-day part of military life. Defence decisions made in Westminster affect every man and woman serving their country. Training can provide valuable insight when parliament formulate policy and take decisions relating to defence.
Founder of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme Sir Neil Thorne wanted the members to be “crawling through the bushes with the Corporals, feeling the weight of the kit and the wet of the ditches.”
What has the scheme entailed so far?
Lympstone Commando Training Centre
In November 2018, Luke attended the first stage of Royal Marines training in Lympstone, as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.
On this experience Luke said:
“As the son of a submariner, I wanted to take part in the Armed Forces Parliamentary scheme to get a chance to see some the things my dad would have experienced in the Royal Navy. As Plymouth’s MP, this scheme gives me an insight into what many of Devonport’s troops go through.
To talk about the experiences of servicemen and women in any kind of meaningful way, it is essential to understand how our troops work and what challenges the British forces face on daily basis. Speaking to people of all levels, seeing first-hand what they need in terms of equipment and resources, will make me a better advocate for them in Westminster.
It’s an honour to take part in this scheme, as it allows me to get to know the day-to-day reality of so many brave men and women. For two days, I saw the recruits at Lympstone go through gunnery training, go through assault courses including the famous Bottom Field one. Seeing this upfront and personal has been an incredible learning experience.
It was fantastic to speak to some of the families there and see how proud they are of our armed forces an a real privilege to be part of the celebrations for the 259 troops passing out.
Throughout the next year, I’ll be undertaking more visits as part of the AF Scheme, visiting not only bases in Plymouth, but also Portsmouth and Scotland.”
HMNB in Devonport
This day included a visit to HMNB Devonport to get an acquaint and overview of facilities and operations and get the opportunity to meet personnel in each area. Luke witnessed the Flag Officer Sea Training and the DISTEXT Disaster Relieve exercise training.
“It was good to get a taste of the Royal Marines’ boat skills onboard and offshore raiding craft on the River Tamar.”
You can watch Luke talk about this experience here.
HMNB in Portsmouth
The stay included a visit to Commando Training Centre to get an overview of naval base facilities and operations. There was a Command overview, a tour of base facilities and training activity, and supporting units. Luke also had the opportunity to engage with personnel in each area.
“I went to the Defence Diving School to meet the Fleet Diving Unit. It was good to learn about underwater bomb disposal with their specialist divers. I even had a go at trying on some of the kit. It’s very heavy. The work that Royal Navy divers do is incredible and it was great to speak with them first-hand today about their work.”