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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 July 2007, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Navy helps keep power on in flood
Royal Navy. Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2007
Navy personnel worked through the night. Pic: Crown Copyright/MOD
South West navy personnel have helped prevent thousands of homes in flood-hit Gloucestershire from losing power.

Royal Navy teams worked through the night with the local fire brigade to help protect the electricity sub station at Walham.

The sub station serves 500,000 homes around Gloucestershire.

Searc and rescue helicopters from RMB Chivenor in Devon and RNAS Culdrose and RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall have also helped relief work.

More than 200 Royal Navy personnel, including 104 from Devonport naval base in Plymouth, are in the Gloucester area to help with flood relief work.

They were also out repairing defences at the Castlemeads power station which was flooded early on Tuesday.

Pamela Jackson
Lt Pamela Jackson from HMS Ocean helped safeguard a sub station
Lt Pamela Jackson, who had been out filling and setting down sand bags, said: "We have been wading in sewage just to get rid of some of the water and save the power plant."

The navy personnel are staying at the Territorial Army centre in Gloucester which has become the HQ for the Naval operation.

Able Seaman Ricky Stenning, who was out from 0530 BST until 2130 BST on Monday at Castlemeads, said: "It was a hard job that needed to be done.

"We were fed on-site by the Salvation Army which was really good and we had food supplied by the army kitchen when we got back cold and wet."

Crews from the Devon and Somerset Fire Service are pumping out water at Castlemeads after similar operations at the police station in Gloucester, Tewkesbury Hospital and a leisure centre in Cheltenham.

The fire service and military are still at the Walham site, pumping water into a nearby canal.

'Vast areas under water'

Fifty six Royal Marines from Plymouth-based 42 Commando are due to arrive on Tuesday night to help protect the sub stations from further flooding.

Helicopters from RNAS Culdrose and RAF St Mawgan in Cornwall and RMB Chivenor in north Devon have airlifted hundreds of people from the floodwaters.

Sqd Ldr Dave Webster, from RAF St Mawgan, said: "The sheer scale of the flooding has caused problems.

"It is like Boscastle over four counties, with vast areas under water and lots of people cut off.

"In a normal day in the UK we might get two to four incidents a day.

"From Friday morning to Sunday evening the RAF search and rescue responded to 56 incidents and to date we have airlifted more than 250 people to safety."

More troops are being sent to problem areas


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