British naval food doesn't look half bad... so we're going to try it out for ourselves

Announcing the return of El Reg's Boatnotes series with the RN


Boatnotes Ahead of the upcoming second edition of The Register's Boatnotes series, the crew of Royal Navy warship HMS Severn has shared a glimpse with the wider world of the food served aboard ship – and it really looks rather good.

The River-class offshore patrol vessel is due to be formally re-commissioned back into the Royal Navy after nearly being disposed of in the late 2010s.

Earlier this week her crew used the ship's Twitter account to share details of the food being served aboard the ship. Naval budgets mean the crew must eat three square meals a day for £3.61.

Despite that limitation, the weekly menu promises delicacies such as beef bourguigon, coconut and lime chicken, and "Hot Diggity Dogs".

Long-time Reg readers may recall the late, lamented Lester Haines' post-pub nosh neckfiller series. While the budget's probably similar, Lester's culinary creations were more about ease of creation while bladdered rather than feeding hungry sailors at sea.

The magnificent Severn

HMS Severn was originally commissioned into the Royal Navy in 2003. As part of a private finance initiative she was owned by her builders, Vosper Thorneycroft, and leased to the Navy along with her three sister River-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). The Ministry of Defence exercised its option to buy the flotilla of four outright when the five-year lease ended.

She was eventually paid off in 2017, though the 2016 vote to leave the European Union meant that government priorities were changing. Although the Navy had acquired four new OPVs (now known as the Batch II River-class), funding was made available to reactivate the Batch I Rivers for coastal patrol duties.

HMS Severn pictured in 2012. Crown copyright

HMS Severn pictured in 2012. Crown copyright

Reactivating the Batch Is also gave the Navy the opportunity to be a little creative. In a nod to the Navy's Second World War heritage Severn has been repainted in a camouflage scheme last seen on British warships in the 1940s – and she is now part of the newly resurrected Coastal Forces Squadron, another reference to the Second World War naval organisation that performed unglamorous yet vital work.

Severn's captain, Commander Phil Harper (last seen in these august pages when he was commanding officer of HMS Enterprise in the Arctic), told telly news station Forces TV earlier this month: "It's trying to hide ships, to make them less easy to see. As opposed to the dazzle scheme, which is really a World War One scheme designed to confuse the enemy through a periscope or a rangefinder about direction of the ship, this is genuinely designed to camouflage; to hide a ship at sea."

The Register will be joining HMS Severn later this year to see how the Navy trains its new navigators using equipment and techniques ranging from the ancient to the technologically enabled cutting edge of modernity.

London-based Reg readers can see Severn entering the city for her formal (re)commissioning ceremony on Friday. She is scheduled to pass Tower Bridge at about 5.15pm before rafting up alongside HMS Belfast, the Second World War cruiser and museum ship. Those outside London can follow her progress on Marinetraffic, one of many popular ship-tracking websites. ®


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