Flagships for the Future

Tue 7th November 2017 at 19.30 - 22.30




Chelwood Bridge Rotary Club were delighted to welcome Mark Dannat to speak to the Club earlier this month on “Flagships for the Future”.

Mark is the Project Director for a new generation of aircraft carriers at the Ministry of Defence. Previously Mark had been a Marine Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy for more than 30 years, serving on HMS Cornwall, HMS Richmond and HMS Ark Royal. His shore appointments included working for the MOD in Whitehall.

He presented a spellbinding account of the two Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers currently being developed as a result of the strategic need for a carrier strike capability. These 2 carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, will operate the most modern combat jets and will give the UK the ability to project military power over land as well as sea, from anywhere in the world. After his talk, he flew out to join the Queen Elizabeth at sea where she is undergoing trials. 

The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy. The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), was named on 4 July 2014, with her ship commissioning planned for 2017, and an initial operating capability expected in 2018. The second, HMS Prince of Wales, was scheduled to be launched around the summer of 2017, followed by commissioning in 2020 and service thereafter. Both carriers will be completed as originally planned, in a Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) configuration, deploying the Lockheed Martin F-35B. 


 Pictured here with Mark Dannat and President Vic Clarke are several members of Chelwood Bridge who, one way or another, have also had a close association with the sea during the careers: 


Alan Smith, early in his career worked in the scientific civil service at the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment, Portsmouth. Here he worked in a team developing mathematical models simulating multiple missile, multiple ship engagements aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of future ship weapons fits. In 1982, during the Falklands War, the team’s focus was re-directed to the development of tactics against the Exocet missile threat. He later worked as a Project manager at IPL where his work has included the development of mathematical model for various systems in the Upholder Class submarines.

John D Butler: In 1968, John was a Refuelling Director on the change of Reactor Cores on Resolution Class Polaris submarines. In 1977, at the age 33, John became Project Manager in HM Dockyard Chatham for the refit of Nuclear Submarines of the Valiant Class. John subsequently transferred to HM Dockyard Plymouth to direct operations on the refit of Swiftsure Class Nuclear Submarines and subsequently was appointed to Base Services where, as a Chief Constructor, he supervised all maintenance of the infrastructure throughout the largest naval base in Western Europe. John left Naval support service in 1990. He remains a member of the Royal Core of Naval Constructors.

Douglas Nash worked as a professional within the diving industry for over 32 years. He was a diving instructor in Norway before becoming an instructor with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) in 1980. He has specialized in the teaching of recreational diving, but has also worked on inshore commercial diving projects and the training of Supply Boat personnel for the Off Shore Oil industry in the Norwegian sector, teaching rescue and cold water survival techniques. He became a PADI Course Director in 1984 and an Instructor Examiner in 1991. During his career with PADI, he travelled and worked extensively throughout the world. He became Vice President for Sales & Marketing in 2004 and retired in 2012. 

Mike Danniel: Principal Surveyor for Lloyds Register of Shipping. Previously Chief Engineer in the Merchant Navy. 1958 became a C.Eng. F.Inst.Mar.E. Worked in many overseas countries involved with ship surveying both during new building and regular in service surveys. Carried out safety surveys on cruise vessels and cargo vessels for British flag and on behalf of other countries. Retired 1997 as Surveyor in charge of South West England and Wales.