A ROYAL Navy sailor is enjoying a "once-in-a-lifetime trip" to the Far East and East Africa.

Norman Browne, of Darlington, is serving as an operator mechanic in the Royal Navy on board Type 42 destroyer HMS Gloucester, which is on a seven-month deployment to the Far East and East Africa.

He joined the Royal Navy in October last year, and completed basic training at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, Cornwall, before moving to HMS Dryad, in Portsmouth, for training.

Mr Browne is trained in the Above Water Warfare, which means he can operate and maintain the ship's radar, missile and gunnery systems.

After leaving Portsmouth, he joined HMS Gloucester. His trip to the Far East - which began in March - is his first deployment.

Mr Browne, who was a pupil of Carmel Comprehensive School, has a home in Darlington with his family.

Speaking from the ship, he said: "I am enjoying what is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to places that, without the Royal Navy, I would probably have never been given the opportunity to visit."