Fleet Air Arm Patch HMS Bulwark Roof Rats 75 76 Wessex 848 NAS
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Fleet Air Arm Patch HMS Bulwark Roof Rats 75 76 Wessex 848 NAS

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Fleet Air Arm FAA Patch RN Royal Navy HMS Bulwark Roof Rats Wessex 848 NAS 1975 1976 Commando Carrier Woven merrowed edge fabric back 95mm three and three quarter inches diameter.

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HMS Bulwark RO8 Light Fleet Aircraft Carriers Centaur Class

History 1945 1984

HMS Bulwark R08 was laid down in 1945 at Harland and Wolf Belfast launched on the 22 June 1948 and completed on the 4 November 1954 with commissioning on 29 October 1954. HMS Bulwarks first arrested landing was carried out by an Avenger of 703 Squadron from RNAS Ford on 7 February 1955 and on 1 June 1955 visited Oslo with 800 and 811 NASs with Sea Hawks and Avenger of 751 NAS. On 6 August 1956 HMS Bulwark joined the Mediterranean fleet with 804 897 and 810 NASs with Sea Hawks and on 1 November 1956 took part in Operation Musketeer Suez carrying out nearly 600 sorties against Egyptian targets and returned to Portsmouth for refit on 18 December 1956. 

In May 1957 HMS Bulwark joined the Home Fleet carrying Gannet ASs of 820 NAS Sea Venoms of 891 NAS Skyraiders of D Flight 849 NAS and Sea Hawks of 801 and 898 NASs. On 17 January 1958 HMS Bulwark sailed with Home Fleet for the Spring Cruise to the West Indies with 801 NAS Sea Hawks 891 NAS Sea Venoms 845 NAS Whirlwind HAS Mk7 and 849 NAS D Flight Skyraiders. 

In April 1958 HMS Bulwark left Gibraltar for the Suez Canal and Far East taking part in SEATO exercise Ocean Link and in July 1958 during the Middle East Crisis ferried Infantry and vehicles from Kenya to Aden and in August took infantry from Aden to Aqaba at the north east end of the Red Sea. HMS Bulwark aircraft assisted two tankers after a collision in the Persian Gulf on 13 September 1958 taking one of the tankers in tow to Muscat winning the Boyd trophy for her part of this salvage. On 4 November 1958 Bulwark arrived at Portsmouth for conversion to a Commando Carrier. 

On 23 January 1960 HMS Bulwark was recommissioned at Portsmouth with 42 Royal Marine Commando and 848 NAS with Whirlwind helicopters and in April 1961 took part in SEATO Exercise Pony Express. This was SEATO the largest exercise since its formation and involved 60 ships from 6 nations carrying out coastal bombardment followed by an air and sea assault with 6000 men landed under battle conditions on the North Borneo coast. 42 Commando Australian infantry and US Marines formed the assault force with aggressor attacks on the shipping made by British and US Submarines with RAF bombers acting as enemy aircraft. 

On 1 July 1961 HMS Bulwark took part in Operation Vantage landing 42 Commando in Kuwait following Iraqs threat to invade Kuwait and the Carriers diversion from an exercise at Sharjah in the Gulf and sailing at full speed from Karachi. 

In May 1962 HMS Bulwark took part in Exercise Common Assault 3 undertaking training of the Hong Kong Garrison in landing techniques and in April 1964 to part in combat operations in Borneo against the Indonesians with 845 NAS winning the Boyd trophy for 1964. Exercise FOTEX 65 with HMAS Melbourne HMS Victorious and HMS Eagle followed in March 1965 and on 18 June 1966 carried out sea trial with the Kestrel the forerunner of the Sea Harrier and later in June 1966 embarked Wessex helicopters of 845 NAS and 42 Royal Marine Commando. Following
recommissioning in Singapore in early 1967 HMS Bulwark embarked with 3 Commando Brigade and in June 1967 landed them at Kuantan in Eastern Malaysia. 3 CB reembarked and proceeded to Aden to cover the withdrawal of British Forces and spent three months at sea off the coast of Aden before sailing to Plymouth via Durban to disembark 3 Commando Brigade. 

In early 1968 the Carrier embarked 45 Commando for artic exercise Polar Express. In August 1968 a major refit was undertaken at Portsmouth and on 17 April 1969 picked up 41 Royal Marine Commando from Plymouth then sailed to Mediterranean with 845 squadron taking part in Exercise Grecian Vase Cyprus in April and Exercise Olympic Express in the Aegean returning to Devonport for decommissioning at the end of 1969. HMS Bulwark recommissiomed in January 1970 sailed to Singapore via Cape Town and in June 1970 landed 40 Royal Marine Commando during Exercise Bersatu Padu which involved ships from The UK Australia New Zealand Malaysia and Singapore involving over 200 aircraft 50 Ships and
20,000 men before returning to Plymouth.

On 13 January 1972 HMS Bulwark sailed for Malta to act as HQ ship for Operation Exit the planned withdrawal of British Forces form Malta staying in Valetta Harbour for 11 weeks with 845 NAS carried out over 1,000 landings and during 1972 embarked with 845 NAS took part in exercise Rum
Punch Puerto Rico in March and Exercise West Hoe in July.

HMS Bulwark became the largest ship to sail under Cooper bridge in Charleston South Carolina during February 1973 and took part in Exercise Rum Punch 73 and on 25 April 1973 deployed to the Mediterranean to embark 41 Commando from Malta for exercises in Cyprus before sailing for the North Atlantic to take part in Anglo US exercise in the arctic Circle. In September 1973 the carrier took part in exercise Deep Furrow 73 a major NATO exercise with over 50000 men and 54 ships from USA UK Greece Turkey and Italy and in December 1973 visited Travemunde the port of Lubeck West Germany. 

With a delayed start for a refit HMS Bulwark embarked a company of Royal Netherlands Marines and sailed to the Dutch Caribbean also visiting Cartagena Colombia and on 16 January 1974 was damaged by storms north east of the Azores. On 8 March 1974 the Carrier went to Devonport for refitting which was completed on 7 February 1975 and in June 1975 took part in exercise Dawn Patrol and Exercise Deep Express 75 in September. HMS Bulwark sailed for Caribbean in January 1976 with 848 Squadron and 40 Royal Marines Commando and the Band of the Royal Green Jackets for exercises in Puerto Rico and in May 1976 was placed in the reserve fleet. 

The Carrier arrived at Portsmouth on 20 March 1978 for refitting and was recommissioned as an anti submarine warfare carrier in Portsmouth on 23 February 1979. On 28 June 1979 HMS Bulwark took part in exercise Whisky Venture with 820 NAS Sea Kings and 45 Royal Marine Commando carried out Sea Harrier trials and on 22 February 1980 took part in exercise Safe Passage on the US East Coast. Following the destruction
of the A1 Boiler room by fire on 15 March 1980 the Carrier returned to Portsmouth on 2 April 1980 and on 15 April 1980 embarked 45 Commando for Exercise Dawn Patrol in the Mediterranean off Sardinia followed by exercise Teamwork 80 off Norway in August. A major fire damaged forward hanger and many mess decks on 9 November 1980 returning to Portsmouth on 27 March 1981 and made ready for disposal. Recommissioning for Operation Corporate the retaking of the Falkland Islands was considered but discounted and HMS Bulwark was taken from Portsmouth to the Cairnryan breakers yard on 10 April 1984.


This patch dates from 1975.









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