Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Faces from the Ark

Richard Ellingham, 47, ship’s chaplain
“I am the chaplain, the Bish as they call me, along with the God Botherer, the Sin Bosun, the Devil Dodger. I get everywhere, down in the engine rooms, up on the bridge. When we take fuel from a tanker, I get on the bridge roof. The lads will be flashing lights at the vessel that’s supplying us, they’ll say, ‘What do you want to say Bish?’ I’ll tell them to say, ‘Jesus Loves You’. It’s great – that’s the way the guys are. They’re up there, it's bloody cold, and why shouldn’t I be up there getting cold with them, chewing the fat, and building those small bridges, because those bridges become very important. Six months later Able Seaman Bloggs might think, ‘I need someone to talk to ... I might go see the Bish. He’s a decent bloke – he was out there on the bridge when I was flashing lights and it was raining, it was cold.’ It’s these tiny things that are vital.”

Lieutenant Commander Lindsay Falla, 29, ship’s dentist
“This is a big job for me because it is so high profile. This is the fleet flagship and there are only two dentists at sea in the whole Royal Navy at the moment. It’s wonderful. What prestige. There is no other ship like this - you can say Ark Royal and they know exactly what you are talking about. I say I am the dentist on board. People say, ‘There must be quite a lot of dentists.’ I say, ‘No, just me.’ I knew early on in my career that if I could get this job, it would be what I wanted to do. You had to be a certain rank before you could get the job. I knew I had to do post-graduate diplomas; I did them. I knew I had to work in a hospital for a year, jobs which don’t come up very often, but I did that too. Then another diploma. But I was lucky the job came up when it did.”

Dear reader, these photos are only here because of the great work of James Glossop. James was recently anointed Scotttish Young Photographer of the Year, and has just started a blog of his own on The Times website. Go here for Glossop.

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