By Ian Dipple Monday 21 January 2013 Updated: 21/01 15:02
A NAVAL weatherman from Redditch has been honoured for stepping into the shoes of a senior officer at short notice to ensure a warship could provide accurate gunfire during the Libyan conflict.
Leading Seaman Freddie Noakes was presented with his Joint Commanders Commendation at a ceremony in Plymouth last Thursday (January 17) watched by proud parents John and Susan.
He was on HMS Liverpool during its deployment to Libya in 2011 when the ship provided naval gunfire support from the sea into Misrata.
His role was to provide accurate weather reports and forecasts to predict where the ship and others in the task force should be to take advantage of the best weather, as well as the impact wind would have on missiles to ensure targets were hit accurately.
The role is normally carried out by a lieutenant but Freddie, who works in the Royal Navy's hydrographic and meteorological department at Plymouth, was asked to step in at short notice for four months and work in a team of one instead of two.
He had to learn fast on the job in a high risk war zone despite having only four years experience in the Navy overall and less in his actual role.
His award citation commended him for providing an exceptional level of support beyond that expected of someone with his experience, working tirelessly over long hours to provide information to HMS Liverpool and other ships despite little forecasting training and experience.
Freddie said: "I am immensely proud to receive this award. It is a huge honour and a great surprise. The role of meteorological and hydrographic support in the military is not that well known so that makes this even more important to me.
"I am in a role where I am deployed to ships worldwide needing our expertise and in this case it all happened so fast that I was on my own and with very little experience so I just knuckled down and got on with it."
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