Page last updated at 04:22 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 05:22 UK

William in navy rescue exercise

William during exercise
The prince was part of the first wave of navy personnel to land on the island

Prince William has joined a Royal Navy rescue team on a hurricane disaster exercise in the Caribbean.

The prince spent a day this week on Montserrat as part of his five-week attachment onboard frigate HMS Iron Duke, as it patrols the North Atlantic.

The 26-year-old helped test the navy's preparedness should a category five storm hit the volcanic island.

He was involved in planning the navy response and was part of the forward command team.

Coach crash

From the island's emergency rescue centre, William helped senior officers and local leaders direct 170 personnel onboard the frigate, who provide a range of skills from medical to engineering.

Being sent away with a small group to lead and conduct a particular task - that, to him, is second nature
Cdr Mark Newland

He also joined a team, which included medical specialists, at the scene of a coach crash exercise.

Iron Duke's captain, Cdr Mark Newland, said the exercise was a great opportunity to show the "broad range of skills a Royal Navy warship can bring to a disaster-ravaged island".

He said Sub Lt William Wales, as he is known onboard, was a natural leader and commanding small teams of people came as "second nature".

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Prince William takes part in the exercise

He said: "Sub Lt Wales, as part of his remit on board, has been involved in the planning from the outset, and that's primarily in developing a plan and understanding of the nature of the infrastructure on Montserrat."

He went on: "With Sub Lt Wales, it's reasonably easy - what you have is an army officer who understands a military context.

"He understands instinctively the business of command and where his teams fit in there.

"What I have seen is his ability to integrate very quickly into teams, whether it be at the command level or the very low tactical level.

"Being sent away with a small group to lead and conduct a particular task - that, to him, is second nature."

William, who is an officer in the Household Cavalry regiment, is halfway through his stint onboard HMS Iron Duke, as part of a Royal Navy placement.

On 28 June the frigate, in a joint operation with the US Coast Guard, seized cocaine valued at 40m north east of Barbados in the West Indies.


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