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Redditch sailor is the pride of the Royal Navy
5:10pm Monday 21st January 2013 in News
A REDDITCH Royal Navy sailor has received an award for ensuring a warship could provide naval gunfire accurately into Libya due to his weather reports.
Leading Seaman Freddie Noakes stepped up into the role normally occupied by a lieutenant during board HMS Liverpool’s deployment on operations on Libya, when the ship was providing naval gunfire support from the sea into Misrata during the Libyan conflict.
He received his Joint Commanders Commendation at a ceremony in Plymouth with his parents John and Susan.
He said: “I am immensely proud to receive this award. I am pleased to be recognised. It is a huge honour and a great surprise. There aren’t many of these awards. The role of meteorological and hydrographic support in the military is not that well known so that makes this even more important to me.”
The award citation said he provided exceptional support at a level well beyond that expected of one with only four years’ experience in the Navy and less in his role. He was also at the lowest rank in the Navy when he stepped into the shoes of a far more experienced and higher-ranked officer.
He worked tirelessly over long hours to provide information to HMS Liverpool and other ships, despite little forecasting training and experience and contributed a great deal to the operational success of HMS Liverpool Commodore Jake Moores OBE ADC (Commander Devonport Flotilla), presented the award at HM Naval Base Devonport.
He said: “These awards are not given out lightly. You have done exceptionally well in making a huge success of your time with HMS Liverpool and thoroughly deserve this award.’’
Leading Seaman Noakes learned fast on the job in a high risk war zone forecasting weather in order to predict where the ship and others in the task force should be and when. This helped the ship be most effective taking advantage of the best weather to fight the war on the sea by defending the ship against armed small boats and bombarding targets such as anti-aircraft defences on land.
He said: “I am in a role where I am deployed to ships worldwide needing our expertise and in this case it all happened so fast that I was on my own and with very little experience. I just knuckled down and got on with it.”
His mother Susan said: “It’s a great occasion for us to see him get this award. We have five sons altogether and he is inspiration to us all. He makes us very proud.’’