North Devon troops clean up after a second ‘once in a lifetime’ Caribbean hurricane
- Credit: UK Ministry of Defence 2019
A North Devon Royal Navy officer has been dealing with the devastation of his second ‘once in a lifetime’ hurricane in two years.
Chief Officer James Wingrove from Langtree has been overseeing the delivery of emergency supplies to the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas in the wake of the category five Hurricane Dorian that ripped through the region leaving destruction behind it.
Mr Wingrove, aged 46, is the executive officer (second in command) of the ship RFA Mounts Bay, which also has a number of RMB Chivenor personnel on board from 24 Commando Regiment for the relief effort, codenamed Operation Baritone.
At the time, Irma was described as a 'once in a lifetime event'.
Hurricane Dorian hit the Caribbean in early September and winds speeds of up to 185mph were recorded.
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As the XO on board RFA Mounts Bay, Mr Wingrove is the second in command and his main role is to oversee the running of the ship on behalf of the commanding officer.
When asked about the relief effort in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, he said: "Everyone pulled together and worked through very long days.
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"It was humbling to see just how much people did, with some pushing themselves almost to exhaustion to get aid ashore and help the people who had been affected by the hurricane."
RFA Mounts Bay was in the Bahamas for 10 days, and delivered much-needed aid to 7,700 people in nine communities spread across seven islands.
The aid delivered included 60 tons of drinking water, more than 2,000 24-hour ration packs, and more than 2,000 litres of diesel fuel for generators.
Describing the amount of supplies that were given to the people in the affected areas, Mr Wingrove said: "The most intense period was a four-day stretch where we pretty much emptied the ship of stores and supplies."
RFA Mounts Bay has now been fully re-stocked and is ready to head back out into the Caribbean to take up position as the UK Government's commitment to the area in case of further natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian.
Mr Wingrove lives in Langtree with his wife Deborah and their three children Elizabeth, William and Matthew.