Defence Through the Lens
To mark World Photography Day, Royal Navy Petty Officer Dave Jenkins picks his favourite images from his career as a military photographer.
Military photographers capture first-hand the work of our servicemen and women at home and abroad. Trained as operational soldiers, sailors, airmen or women, and regularly equipped with both their rifle and camera, they capture the realities of conflict as well as the day-to-day lives of service personnel.
From the glitz and glamour of ministerial events and parades, to the dust and dirt of jungle warfare, the photographers give the public a unique close up view of the work our Armed Forces do.
Name: Petty Officer Dave Jenkins
Service: Royal Navy
Years of Service: 17
I joined the Royal Navy in 2002 as a Chef. However, it wasn’t until the 2003 Iraq war, where I discovered my calling as a Military photographer.
I’ve deployed around the world, capturing everything from Arctic Warfare Training in Northern Norway to Jungle warfare in Belize. More recently, I embarked on the navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, for the Fast Jet Trials in the USA.
Selecting my favourite images from 17 years of service hasn’t been easy…but I’ve managed to choose the 10 images I’m most proud of!
HMS Edinburgh fires her missiles
This picture showcases HMS Edinburgh in the Outer Hebrides Ranges, as she fires her Sea Dart Surface to Air missiles for one of the last times before decommissioning. It was one of the many surreal moments I’ve had as Naval Photographer. Sitting in the doorway of a Lynx Helicopter, it suddenly dawned on me, I was photographing missiles designed to take out our aircraft.
HMS Dragon returns from deployment
Whilst returning from her maiden deployment to the gulf, HMS Dragon was diverted to help protect Cyprus against the possible threat from Syria. I was asked by the Flight Commander and Commanding Officer to come up with an idea to capture the firing of the ship’s Countermeasure Flares. After some thought this is what I came up with. We got really lucky with the sunset.
Photographic Exercise of HMS Albion
Whilst conducting a Photographic Exercise of HMS Albion, as she was deployed to the Far East, I captured this image of my feet as they dangled
from the side door of a Wildcat Helicopter.
Don’t ask me why but this seems to have become a thing I do now whilst in a helicopter.
Exercise Joint Warrior
Whilst on HMS Albion earlier this year as part of Exercise Joint Warrior, the ship went to Action Stations, the most heightened state a warship can be in for an Air Defence exercise.
This image is of one of the upper deck weapons crew as she monitored the skies for hostile aircraft.
Dunkirk Little Ships celebration
As part of the Dunkirk Little Ships celebration a few years ago, I was lucky enough to take part in the cruise alongside veterans.
As we neared the end of the weekend, families and friends gathered for one final celebration. I was able to capture this image as Royal Navy and Royal Air Force veterans joked with each other.
A warm welcome to South Korea
This was just part of the welcome that I and later HMS Albion received as we arrived in Busan, South Korea. I had arrived ahead of the ship via sea boat to capture her entering harbour and all of the festivities that would follow. The South Korean people were so friendly and welcoming.
A HMS Monmouth Takeover
The Royal Navy has many traditions, and this is up there as one of the most fun. As HMS Dragon (right) took over duties from HMS Monmouth in the Arabian Gulf she carried out a Sail Past. This involves both ships passing each other at high speed whist trying to drown the other with hoses.
HMS Queen Elizabeth’s replenishment
Newly Commissioned Aircraft Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth Lines up to carry out a Replenishment at Sea (RAS), with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Spring Tide, one of the RFA’s new tankers. This was a first for both vessels as they met off the coast of Plymouth.
A Landing Craft Recovery
As a Navy Photographer, I have also had the opportunity to work closely with the Royal Marines, as was the case here. On Exercise Joint Warrior, Dutch and British Marines launched an attack from HMS Albion’s Landing Craft against a small hostile force inland. In this image, they recover back to the landing craft as the sun begins to rise over the Scottish mountains.
Protection in Portland Harbour
As Britain was gripped with Olympic fever, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines were tasked to provide security for the event venues. Here, a Merlin helicopter with an embarked Royal Marine Maritime Sniper Team, flies close to HMS Bulwark as she provides protection in Portland Harbour.
If you would like to take a look at more of PO Jenkins’ work, follow him on Instagram: @davejenks77