SNO news is good news 7...The Titanium 29

It has been a busy few weeks at the R2H we have been working hard to ensure that everything is “ship shape” in preparation for our replacements coming in to take over. But now, with the post op tour report completed, individuals reports sorted, UN Engagements slowing down…slightly, I thought it was time to put the effort in for what could be the final blog.

...the medical effect we deliver away from the clinical area is equally as important to the UN as what we deliver in the hospital...

If I have learned anything from my time working with the UN, it is that the medical effect we deliver away from the clinical area is equally as important to the UN as what we deliver in the hospital.  One of the greatest successes in the last month has been the delivery of the Bentiu Medical Symposium.

This forum brought together national healthcare providers, humanitarian organisations within the Health Cluster, NGOs and medical providers from UN Troop Contributing Countries (TCC’s) from across Bentiu. The planning of this event involved multiple stakeholders, not least the engineers who very kindly offered to focus on and finish a part of the Level 2 build to allow us to hold the symposium on site. With 51 medical delegates attending it meant that they could see the progression of the build and really appreciate the size and scale of the new hospital. 

We have been privileged on TRENTON 4 to watch daily as the hospital has taken shape, from the foundations to fully completed exterior. It truly is an impressive piece of engineering and will be a fabulous hospital to work in when it is finished.

It truly is an impressive piece of engineering and will be a fabulous hospital to work in when it is finished

Last week also saw the “mini mudder.” For all you athletes out there, think tough mudder in the heat (as it decided not to rain). The R2H staff did not disappoint, fielding a combined taskforce female team and a R2H team.

Back Row L-R CPONN Cudmore, Flt Lt Davies, Cpl Rigby, CPONN Newman, Lt Frost.

Front Row L-R Lt Cdr Warwick, LNN Brand, LMA Craig, LNN Parkes, S/Lt Harding, Capt Taylor


The only drawback to the mudder was that they decided to make it a 6am start on a Saturday morning (no one needs to see that!).  But, it was only fair that I got myself out of bed to stand on the side-lines and cheer the team on as they threw themselves at obstacles with guts and determination, showing true team ethos and encouraging each other to get over the line. That afternoon we had a barbeque and finished the night with a bit of Ceilidh dancing courtesy of 2 SCOTS and a MET call out to keep us on our toes (all fine).

The UN engagements have increased slightly with the knowledge that some of us are end of touring soon. Alongside the leaving breakfasts for the key UN personnel who have been pivotal on our UN journey, it was only fair that the R2H had its own leaving do. I know we aren’t going anywhere yet but any excuse for a get together and a party with a few games is always welcome.

I found myself being dressed up as a queen and placed on my own throne to give the comedy leaving speech and novelty prizes to the R2 staff.  You could be forgiven for mistaking it for a type of “crossing the line” ceremony South Sudan style.  It was very fitting that this party took place a year to the day that the R2H in South Sudan officially opened. A lot has changed in that year both within Bentiu camp and the hospital itself.  The UK camp is a different place from when we first arrived, water is no longer an issue, supply chain is better, the food is great and personnel are no longer being accommodated in tents. The R2H has maintained capability but reduced capacity with the original 78 personnel downscaling to what has been referred to as the “platinum 29”.

To sum up my leaving speech last night, having looked at the definition of platinum, I don’t agree, it is dense, malleable, highly unreactive and a bit solid. I would like to refer to us this team as the Titanium 29, it is the newest and most important element for the future, it has exceptional strength whilst being light in weight, highly resistant in both high and low temperatures and it never corrodes. So to everyone on 4A, the Titanium 29, thanks for having me as your SNO and then as OC,  here is to the next deployment! And to the QARNNS for blogging our journey throughout, thank you for the support.

Bentiu's Titanium 29!