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Danielle Cummings has overcome many challenges since joining the Royal Navy after leaving school.

Currently serving onboard HMS St Albans, a Type-23 Frigate, she is a Leading Logistician, working with ammunition and general stocks.

With deployments from Afghanistan to Bahrain she has had to adapt to long periods of time away from her family, serving in a predominantly male environment. 

Dani Cummings making bed
Dani Cummings back tattoo
Dani Cummings in Afghanistan on her 21st birthday

Swallow and anchor

In Afghanistan she was based in Kandahar working with the local police forces.

Whilst there it was her 21st birthday which is when she designed the swallow and anchor tattoo on her back.

“These were to symbolise being away for a big birthday and to always remember where I had been,” Dani explains.

The swallow is a centuries-old naval symbol often worn to remind the sailor that regardless of how far they travel, they will always come home. The anchor also represents safety in rough seas.

Rethinking Remembrance

Overcoming hard times

She also has the phrase ‘A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor’ on her side - words attributed to Franklin D Roosevelt that carry a sentiment timeless to mariners and non-sailors alike.

For Dani they symbolise overcoming hard times.

“After a deployment in Bahrain where I had not had the best experience, it was to remind me that no matter how tough, I will always come out better,” she says.    

“Lots of people have tattoos and it’s important to talk about the meanings behind them,” Dani adds.

“I took a lot of thought over mine.

“It’s a lasting reminder of things in your life. It’s always going to be there.”

Dani's story

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