This week we welcomed back a former member of crew to Britannia - Doctor Bear! This cute little bear was very kindly sent in by Mr Eric C Birbeck MVO, who served on board 1991-1995 as Chief Petty Officer, Medical Assistant and Operating Theatre Technician. He first reported for duty when Eric joined HMY BRITANNIA in June 1991 and became part of the team in the Sick Bay Office. Eric recalls that Dr Bear was admired by all who entered the office and is known to have met a number of the Royal Family during his time on board. When Britannia was in service, the Sick Bay and Operating Theatre were staffed by a Naval Medical Officer (usually a Naval Surgeon) and two medical Chief Petty Officers (CPOs), one an operating Theatre Nurse or Medical Assistant, the other a Chartered Physiotherapist.
The team looked after the health and welfare of the Yacht's Company, Royal Household and embarked guests. In fact, when Britannia was first built, it was proposed that she could perform a secondary role and be converted to a hospital ship during wartime if required. Thankfully she never had to fulfil this role, although was used in a rescue mission in war-torn South Yemen in 1986.
We are delighted to have Dr Bear stationed back on his old perch - please do look out for him when you visit. In the meantime, our Photographer in Residence captured him around his old haunt, and back home in the Sick Bay Office.
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