A RUNCORN Royal Navy sailor is helping in the international operation to remove chemical weapons from Syria.

Engineer technician Thomas Hendey, aged 19, is a marine engineer on board type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond which is part of the Danish-led Task Group providing force protection to merchant vessels transporting chemicals out of Syria.

The ship has been on Operation RECSYR, which stands for Removal of Chemical Weapons from Syria, since she took over from fellow RN warship HMS Montrose at the end of February.

Marine engineer Hendey, a former pupil of The Heath Specialist Technical College, said: “My reasons for joining the Royal Navy were to gain experience and qualifications as a marine engineer and to work in an environment that pushes people for promotion. “I’d be lying, however, if I didn’t say it was also to travel the world and meet some great people along the way.

“I am now doing the job I have trained so long to do on a day-to-day basis on board HMS Diamond and learning the tasks and challenges that come with the branch. It’s hard work but I’m taking it all in and enjoying it. I am thoroughly enjoying being part of the marine engineer department and being on deployment.”

Tom joined the Royal Navy in 2013. Prior to this he had gained a plumbing apprenticeship for a small firm in Cheshire.

Since joining the service just over a year ago, Tom’s highlights have included basic training at HMS Raleigh, specialist marine engineering training at HMS Sultan and joining HMS Diamond, his first ship, in January 2014.

He added: “I have been extremely fortunate to be part of an important British military tasking out here in the eastern Mediterranean.

“I joined the Royal Navy to first and foremost serve my country but also in the hope that I will, in some capacity, contribute to peace and stability in the wider world. I feel that on my first deployment I am indeed achieving this personal goal so early in my career.”

Primarily an air defence warship, HMS Diamond sailed on January 6 from Portsmouth Naval Base for a seven month deployment and joined the OP RECSYR Task Group on February 24.

OP RECSYR marks the culmination of the diplomatic efforts to eliminate chemical weapons from the Syrian regime and the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118, which calls for the expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.