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Last Updated: Friday, 5 September, 2003, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Submariners given the bird
Bobby with Matthew Prince, son of the bird's new owner Lieutenant Commander Mark Prince, of HMS Trenchant
Bobby with Matthew Prince, the son of one of his rescuers
The crew of a Royal Navy nuclear-powered submarine got a chance to show their softer sides when they rescued a drowning budgie and nursed it back to health.

A sentry on the moored HMS Trenchant spotted the bright yellow bird struggling in waters at Devonport Naval Base, Plymouth, last weekend.

Leading Operator Mechanic Jan Brennon, of Plymouth, fished the budgie out of the 36-feet deep dock waters and brought it inside the vessel.

The Trafalgar-class submarine's officers fed the traumatised bird bread and milk at their wardroom table until it recovered.

None of us wanted to see the little bird die
Lieutenant Dan Simmonds
The budgie - which soon recovered from its near-death experience - has been named Bobby by its new owner, HMS Trenchant's deputy marine engineering officer Lieutenant Commander Mark Prince.

The crew wanted to keep the budgie on board the submarine, but feared it could be harmed by pressure changes and the lack of space and light.

Lieutenant Dan Simmonds of HMS Trenchant said: "It might seem a bit soft for any of us to look after a budgie when we're running a Royal Navy nuclear submarine, but none of us wanted to see the little bird die.

"We looked after it in the wardroom, fed it and it gradually got its strength back."

HMS Trenchant has recently undergone a multi-million pound refit at Devonport Naval Base and is to face a series of sea trials.

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