Sir Ben Kingsley in visit to HMS Raleigh at Torpoint
Oscar winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley met some of the Royal Navy’s newest recruits during a visit to HMS Raleigh in Torpoint.
Sir Ben is working on a filming project about the First World War and accompanied by his script writer, Prasanna Puwanarajah, the two were able to see at first hand the discipline, camaraderie and commitment of members of the Royal Navy, which is instilled in them from the very start of their careers.
Sir Ben and Mr Puwanarajah were able to meet recruits at varying stages of their 10-week course and also witnessed the pride of the successful Cornwell 15 class and their families during their passing-out-parade.
Captain Bob Fancy, the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh said: “We were very pleased to welcome Sir Ben and Mr Puwanarajah to HMS Raleigh and hope that we have given him a true sense of what it means to be in the Royal Navy and our pride in its heritage.”
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Sir Ben first visited the Royal Navy training base in 2011 to view the painting of the Boy Seaman John Travers Cornwell VC, who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, aged just 16.
The portrait was painted by the renowned society artist Frank Salisbury in 1916.
It currently hangs in St Paul’s church at HMS Raleigh and depicts Jack, as John was known, standing next to the gun on board HMS Chester during the Battle of Jutland.
The gun received four direct hits and although mortally wounded Jack remained at his post until HMS Chester retired from the battle. The sole survivor of the gun crews, Jack died from his wounds at Grimsby General Hospital, two days after the battle, on 2 June 1916.
He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest and most prestigious award for bravery, as a result of his actions.
Captain Fancy said: “One of our training divisions is named in honour of Jack Cornwell. At 16 he was very close in age to the recruits and we regularly tell his story to inspire them as an example of someone who displayed the Royal Navy’s core values of commitment, courage, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty.