Sunday, 31 July 2011
Ambushed at Luncheon
Last Thursday I was a guest of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators at their Royal Charter Luncheon. A splendid affair and, I noted, as we mingled pre-lunch, a good representation from the Royal Navy. The lunch was held in Butchers Hall, a light and airy hall with big windows perfect for lunch on a sunny summer day. We ate with some fine oil paintings of the late Queen Mother and HRH The Princess Royal (the Butcher's current Master) gazing down upon us. You can just about see the Queen Mother in the top left in the photo on the left.For the Chartered Secretaries and Administrators this was a special occasion, although as far as I could see nothing to do with their Royal Charter which was never mentioned. It was the occasion of the official signing of the Letters of Association between the Company and their new Navy ship: HMS Ambush, a nuclear submarine. The strength of the naval representation, including the Commander of the Fleet Sir Trevor Soar, suddenly made sense. After the signing the Master gave Sir Trevor a set of pictures of the City of London with, as he commented, the necessary screws. One can only assume it is possible to screw pictures into the walls of a submarine. This is some submarine, the navy's latest, finest, biggest and only the second Astute class submarine. Silent in operation and with sophisticated enough sonar and electronics that it can detect ships three thousand miles away.
All in all it was an excellent and interesting lunch. I noticed on the guest list an 'Apprentice'. An Apprentice system is not at all uncommon in Livery Companies and it is a subject to which I will return later in my year.