Morris men together at sea
Two Brothers with over 60 year’s service in the Royal Navy between them have recently served together at Sea for the first time.
Lieutenant Commanders Tony and Paul Morris who are both based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose have remarkably never served onboard alongside each other at the same time, throughout long and distinguished careers. But when 824 Naval Air Squadron embarked on Royal Fleet Auxiliary Argus the brothers took the chance to celebrate with a picture to stick in the family album.
“It was an opportunity not to be missed,” said Lt Cdr Tony Morris, who is a Qualified Flying Instructor on the Merlin MK 2 with 824 NAS. “I’ve been out of embarked flying for a few years and being involved with bringing Merlin MK 2 to sea has been a big honour. So it seems only fitting that I come back onboard the same Ship as my brother.”
Lt Cdr Paul Morris, the youngest of the pair is Senior Naval Officer (SNO) on RFA Argus and in charge of all 57 Royal Navy personnel onboard and responsible for any embarked troops. RFA Argus has two main roles, firstly as the Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (PCRS) set up with a 100 bed fully functioning state of the art hospital, including an Operating Theatre coupled with a 10 bed Critical Care Unit and a High Dependency Unit complete with CT scanner. RFA Argus has a secondary role as the Fleet’s Aviation Training Ship where she is able to introduce new aircrew and aircraft maintainers to the embarked environment.
“We’ve been extremely busy since coming out of refit in June,” said Paul. “It’s been non-stop. We’ve had squadrons from across the Fleet Air Arm embarked. Sea Kings from 771 (Search and Rescue) squadron and a Westlands Wildcat from 700W squadron onboard carrying out deck trials. After which we exercised the Primary Casualty Receiving Facility and embarked nearly 300 extra people with the hospital’s staff and 848 NAS ‘Junglie’ Sea Kings. And finally we are into the Merlin MK 2 packages with Tony’s squadron and next week 820 NAS before the end of the year.”
The Morris brothers joined up in the Royal Navy four years apart, Tony as a Gunner in 1980 and Paul as an Air Engineer in 1984. By then Tony had served in the Falklands onboard HMS Battleaxe and had transferred to the Aircrewman branch and was on his aircrew survival course, while Paul was going through his Junior Air Engineering training at HMS Daedalus nearPortsmouth. Paul served on several Sea King squadrons at RNAS Culdrose before achieving promotion to naval officer and serving on the Maritime Aviation Support Force (MASF), where he is currently. Tony‘s career as an Aircrewman also took him to Culdrose as an Anti Submarine Warfare specialist before also being promoted to naval officer and after his pilot training, has flown on Sea King, Lynx and now Merlin squadrons.
“We were both in the Sea Cadets together in Bath before joining up and serving together again on RFA Argus is a great delight for us,” said Tony. “It’s certainly unique, it may never happen again.”
Paul also is pleased with the family visitor to his Ship, “Our mum would have loved to see us serving at Sea together, she was always very proud of our achievements, sadly she passed away this year, but I know she’d be smiling.”