Gaddafi forces fired on teenage sailors

AB CIS Watson and AB CIS Mallinder
AB CIS Watson and AB CIS Mallinder

TWO former Doncaster schoolboys have told how they came under attack from Colonel Gaddafi’s forces off the Libyan cost.

Naval recruits William Mallinder and Luke Watson, both aged 19, have competed 100 days on patrol with the Royal Navy near North Africa during the recent conflict in the region.

Both are aboard HMS Liverpool, a Type 42 destroyer.

The men and women serving on her have moved to action stations approximately 30 times as they prepared for gunfire and rocket attacks.

They have been engaged directly by pro-Gaddafi forces seven times and fired on 10 occasions.

Both men are communication information specialists on board the ship, responsible for a variety of tasks within the Warfare department.

Former McAuley School pupil William, from Bessacarr, has been with HMS Liverpool for two years. He’s played both rugby union and league for the Navy and was part of a multi-national task force group deployed to North America last year.

He wants to transfer to the Navy’s elite diving branch in the future.

He said: “Nothing can actually prepare you for the feeling of taking part in real-time operations, no matter how well trained you are. The adrenalin rushes through your system and you are really alert. This has been the most exciting part of my career to date.”

Luke, from Finningley, who was a Hayfield School pupil, has been in post for a month.

He said: “It’s been an amazing time. When you do your training you never believe that you would have to do it for real.

“It’s been the highlight of my career in the Royal Navy so far. When I finished my training, my first draft was the then fleet flagship HMS Ark Royal, and I was deployed to the coast of America on a NATO exercise. It was sad when she was decommissioned, but I’m looking forward to doing well on board HMS Liverpool.”