In recognition of his outstanding work as part of the port crew on HMS Lancaster, Nicholas Lester (OK 2011) was presented with the Herbert Lott Award recently by First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key KCB CBE.

“Nicholas Lester (OK 2011) is a marine engineer for the Royal Navy. Having being deployed on a T23 frigate to the Middle East, the ship encountered numerous challenges. Designed to operate in the North Atlantic, in temperate conditions, the Middle East sea temperatures provide a very different experience for these ships. It is in these difficult circumstances that LET (ME) Nicholas Lester found himself recently, where he stepped up and ensured that the ship remained able to operate in the area. In recognition of his sterling work, the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key KCB CBE presented Nicholas with the prestigious Herbert Lott Award.

Well done on this incredible achievement, Nicholas. Keep up the hard work. Kingswood is extremely proud of you!

The forward deployed T23 frigate presents many challenges for engineers. The ship was designed for operations in North Atlantic, and yet is deployed to the Middle East where temperatures are constantly in excess of 30°C, the sea temperature higher than anywhere else on earth, and the harsh conditions degrade machinery seemingly more quickly than it can be maintained. This environment makes work in main machinery spaces all the more essential, but also all the more difficult.

The individual nominated for this citation has shown the highest standards of professional pride, resilience and dedication to maintaining and restoring essential equipment in the conditions listed above.

When port crew embarked in HMS Lancaster, they were plagued with unending defects with their four diesel generators. What began with fuel and oil leaks quickly developed into high temperature deviations in two engines and ultimately the loss of one of the four diesel generators. This individual worked long hours into the late evenings day in and day out to keep the ship at sea. He rectified oil leaks, fuel leaks and even identified and prevented several defects that would have developed into high profile OPDEFs. On one occasion, when it seemed the worst was behind him, he was shaken at 0100 to investigate why one of the three remaining diesel generators was unavailable to command. Despite fatigue and the relentless work over the previous week, he awoke and would not return to bed until he had traced the engines’ systems and found the fault, eventually returning the diesel back to operational use.

When Lancaster eventually returned alongside and the rest of the ship’s company were able to enjoy a period of rest, this individual continued working on his section when a salt water leak on another diesel generator was identified, effectively degrading Lancaster’s ability to return to sea. This individual located the source of the leak, and devised a plan by which to rectify the defect. He lead a team responsible for stripping the top portion of the engine, and directed a slinging team to remove the intercooler and replace it with a new one. His determination to thoroughly investigate, identify and rectify defects have allowed his section to recover essential machinery and allow Lancaster to return to sea on operations in one of the UK’s highest priority theatre of operations.

 LET (ME) Lester has, in the three weeks that Port Crew have been embarked, shown all six tenets of the Royal Navy’s core values. He has demonstrated courage and commitment in the face of heavy adversity, working long hours in physically demanding conditions to fight against numerous high profile defects. He has shown discipline, respect and leadership in the way he led and managed his peers through intensive rectification work. His integrity has allowed him to honestly and fairly brief the command on the conditions of the ship’s propulsion systems.

His section is heavily gapped, and the absence of LET Lester would be heavily felt throughout the entire ship.

LET Lester is thoroughly deserving of a Herbert Lott award.”