Last Friday Plymouth Sutton Linda Gilroy visited the Royal Navy's premier training establishment, HMS Raleigh.

The visit was part of her attachment to the Royal Navy with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which is designed to give MPs a better understanding of life in the military.

Mrs Gilroy was taken on a tour of the establishment and received presentations from key staff members. She also watched the trainees undertaking the assault course, visited the static training vessel Brecon and called in on the Royal Navy submarine school.

Linda Gilroy MP said:

"I was particularly pleased to have the opportunity to visit HMS Raleigh as I'm very interested by issues surrounding recruitment and retention and the welfare of service personnel"

Linda Gilroy's placement with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme is nearing completion. In the past two years she has met British forces in Afghanistan, attended elements of the Advanced Staff Course at Shrivenham, been present during a 'Thursday War' off the English coast and visited the hydrographic office in Taunton and the Commando Training centre at Lympstone.

Commenting on the Scheme, Linda Gilroy said:

"The Scheme enabled me to speak to a range of people at all levels, from the newest recruit to the most experienced NCOs, from the chaplain to the chef. As well as giving me a more rounded picture of how things are on the ground, this provided many valuable opportunities for me to hear and discuss directly what makes for a good experience of service life and what needs to be worked on".

"I particularly enjoyed attending the Advanced Staff Courses at the Defence Academy Shrivenham which provided the opportunity to engage in discussion and debate with some of the people on their way to the top of the services. I found their contributions interesting and stimulating - and I hope they may have found the view of an outsider and a politician to be of benefit.

"Ultimately, the Scheme taught me that our servicemen and women are highly motivated by, and proud of, what they are doing on our behalf, often in the most challenging circumstances. They need, deserve and appreciate our best endeavours to understand, respect and support their work and the unique nature of service life".

Monday, 18, Jan 2010 12:00 from