French connection for a British sailor
A SUBMARINER has not only swapped life below the waves for time on the surface, but British warships for French.
Lieutenant Commander Justin Hutchings, from Plymstock, joined Charles De Gaulle, the most powerful surface warship based in Western European waters, for a short exchange.
The 38-year-old has been deployed on board the 858ft aircraft carrier as part of the multi-national Cougar 12 deployment.
Lt Cdr Hutchings is currently working as the Submarine Element Coordinator for Commander United Kingdom Task Group, which is embarked on Devonport-based HMS Bulwark for the duration of the exercise.
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Justin previously served as the Executive Officer on nuclear submarines HMS Vanguard and HMS Vigilant. His main role on board Charles de Gaulle is to work with the UK and French submarine advisory teams.
He explains: "Witnessing the French battle staff operate on Charles de Gaulle has provided a valuable insight as to how we could integrate further in the future whilst also assisting in the planning of our own task group's next exercise."
More than 3,000 sailors, marines and airmen are involved in the exercise.