BMIS students visited the French frigate Surcouf, F 711. It is named after the French sailor Robert Surcouf (1773 – 1827). This was also a great pleasure for me. Thankfully Britain and France have been on the same side since the signing of the Entente Cordiale in 1904.
We were all given a good tour of the ship, escorted by serving officers of the Marine Nationale. Some of us even got to sit in the Captain’s seat on the bridge. The roles of a modern warship are numerous. The Surcouf is involved in anti-smuggling operations, combatting piracy as well as regular training activities for naval warfare.
It carries an awesome array of weaponry: a helicopter, rapid firing canons and machine guns, anti-ship missiles (or mer – mer as the French sailors call them) and anti – aircraft missiles. The Surcouf can also shoot down incoming enemy missiles.
Our students were also on good form, asking plenty of clever questions.
Many thanks to Madame Mwangi for organising this unique trip.
I was very impressed with our French allies, and I will of course be writing to the new British Prime Minister – whoever that is – and recommending a renewal of the Entente Cordiale as a solution to the Brexit crisis.