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Support for Armed Forces Day 2022 – Sam Wade

Navy Operations Mechanic to Reach & Respond Team Leader

The saying ‘join the Navy and see the world’ certainly holds true for Sam Wade, who now works for Beyond Housing. 

The 37-year-old recalls the fantastic camaraderie and the places she visited during her six years in the service. 

Today, Sam is a team leader in Beyond Housing’s Reach & Respond division, which, through assistive technology, enables vulnerable people to live independently in their own homes. 

The mum-of-four joined up as an able seaman at the age of 17 and was an operations mechanic in communications. 

This focused on ship-to-shore communications and in her early days involved morse code and in later years emails and more modern forms of communication. 

She served on the Type 23 Frigates HMS Montrose and Northumberland and, as well as sailing around the UK coastline, her job took her much further afield to Gibraltar, Cape Canaveral and New York in America, and the Bahamas in the Caribbean. 

Sam, who lives in Scarborough, had progressed to a leading hand by the time she left the Navy when she was expecting her first baby. 

One of her greatest memories was meeting the Queen when she was part of an official parade when Her Majesty visited the aircraft carrier HMS Ocean. Sam said the Queen asked her about what she liked about life in the Navy. 

Another is when HMS Montrose broke down in Florida and had to stay there 10 days longer than scheduled while it was repaired, allowing Sam to spend more time than expected enjoying what the Sunshine State had to offer. 

But she also had to deal with some frightening situations – one that will always stay with her involved the deaths of four Naval personnel. 

Four crewmen died after a Lynx helicopter from Royal Naval Air Service RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset plunged into the sea off Cornwall while HMS Montrose was taking part in a warfare training exercise. 

Sam was among sailors from the Montrose who had to go out in boats to assess the situation. 

Looking back over her time in the Navy, Sam vividly recalls the ‘fantastic camaraderie’.  

“Serving in the Royal was like being part of one big family. I still keep in touch with people I worked with, some through social media as they live far and wide, and others in a more personal way.”