‘Band aid’ of brothers meet up on HMS Illustrious aid mission

Keri Harris [left] 2nd-in-Command of HMS Illustrious, with brother-in-law John Adlam

Keri Harris [left] 2nd-in-Command of HMS Illustrious, with brother-in-law John Adlam - Credit: Department for International Development

Two brothers-in-law bumped into each other on the other side of the world while on board a Royal Navy aircraft carrier taking part in the international relief aid operation following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

John Adlam, field team leader for the Department for International Development’s UK humanitarian operation, was sent out on board HMS Illustrious.

The ship’s Second-in-Command happens to be his wife’s sister’s husband, Keri Harris.

John, 52, returns home to east London this week to wife Mary and two children in Limehouse, where he is the ‘captain’ of his own smaller vessel—a narrowboat on the Regent’s Canal.

He was in the first wave of humanitarian experts sent to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan hit early in November.

“You are struck by the immense devastation In Tacloban,” John recalled. “It must have been traumatic and frightening for the people.

“Many who managed to survive have lost everything—their homes and their livelihoods.”

Most Read

His Department is helping restore agriculture and fisheries, such as rebuilding boats and replacing nets to help local fishing communities.

Brother-in-law Keri, 45, who returns to Portsmouth later this month with Illustrious, said: “We have been able to reach areas that would otherwise have faced a long wait for outside assistance.”

Illustrious took out 500 tonnes of British aid, with seven helicopters, 1,000 military personnel and an NHS medical team on board delivering aid to remote islands. The aid included food supplies, plastic sheeting, blankets, water containers and cooking sets to 12,000 families. The medical team treated 370 people.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter