The country’s head of the Maritime Reserves, Commodore Andrew Jameson, has announced that Leeds Royal Navy Reserve unit CERES Division is to be commissioned as a full Royal Navy Reserve (RNR) unit, becoming ‘HMS Ceres’ on 1st September 2015, and its building in Carlton Barracks significantly increased in size.
Currently a satellite unit to HMS Calliope in Newcastle, Ceres will now become a fully autonomous Royal Navy Reserve training establishment, becoming one of only 15 full RNR training establishments in the UK. The commissioning will put HMS Ceres firmly on the map for the Royal Navy in Yorkshire and become one of only three landlocked RNR units in the UK, and recognises the hard work and support from the unit for the Royal Navy in a multitude of roles over the years.
Despite the absence of sea, Leeds has a big affiliation to the Royal Navy and in particular the late HMS Ark Royal, which the city adopted in World War Two and then raised money for to build a new Ark Royal after the original was torpedoed and sunk.
The building occupied by Ceres in Carlton Barracks is being significantly redeveloped to include a brand new two-storey wing and an accommodation block, providing the unit with new training and classroom facilities and 12 permanent bed spaces.
Construction work on the £600,000 development has now commenced by the Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Yorkshire and The Humber which is funding and project managing the development, having appointed Illingworth & Gregory as the contractor.
Commodore Jameson said: “This decision reflects the fantastic progress that the Unit has made under the careful tutelage of her parent HMS CALLIOPE in Newcastle, and is a clear signal of the confidence that Navy Command has in the Unit’s continued growth. It also recognises the substantial personal efforts that have been evident over the last three years or so, and so I am delighted for those concerned. And of course it is evidence of the growing confidence and authority of the Maritime Reserves more generally.”
Commanding Officer of Ceres, Lieutenant Commander David Noakes, who in his civilian life works as Company Secretary for Marine Towage Company, and has served as a reservist for 26 years, said: “That Ceres is to be commissioned as an independent unit is a testimony to everyone’s hard work and efforts in building Ceres from a new start tender to a credible Navy Reserve training unit. Ceres is well placed and has a strong community ethos and it is this along with everyone’s efforts which have brought Ceres to this position.”
The unit is currently recruiting for more Reservists, with Leading Seaman Hannah Lee from the unit, saying: “We have jobs available for people aged 16-39 with former Royal Navy regular personnel able to join up to the age of 57. Our commitment is just 24 days a year which includes 2 weeks continuous Operational Role Training (ORT). This year we have people deploying to the US, Bahrain, Dubai, Cyprus and Gibraltar and we really enjoy the experience of going to different places as well as continuing our training.
“There are also brilliant opportunities for Adventurous Training like skiing and sailing. It’s an amazing thing to do in your spare time.”
Anyone interested in joining the Royal Navy Reserve in Yorkshire please call 0345 600 3222 or email [email protected]
Work is expected to be completed on the building by October this year, with an official ceremony marking the commissioning of HMS Ceres held in spring 2016.
Picture (L-R) Commodore Jameson, Chief Petty Officer Gurney and Lieutenant Commander Noakes