HMS Dragon will formally take her place alongside her older sisters as the fourth of the Royal Navy’s new Type 45 destroyers is commissioned into the Fleet on Friday (April 20th).
Hundreds of guests including families of the 190 ship’s company will attend a colourful ‘Christening’ ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base which marks the ship’s transition into front-line service.
Principal guests will be Susie Boissier – the ship’s sponsor who launched the vessel at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the River Clyde in November 2008 – and Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery. The ceremony will be conducted by the Venerable Scott Brown, Chaplain of the Fleet.
Representatives from the ship’s affiliate city of Cardiff will also be present.
Commander Darren Houston, Dragon’s Commanding Officer, said the event was a proud moment for all on board HMS Dragon.
“This very special day marks the end of our trials phase and the transition to front-line service.
“Thereafter the emphasis will be on combat readiness in preparation for our first deployment next year.
“I am very pleased that so many families, friends and affiliates will be part of our momentous day.”
Commander Houston will read a Commissioning Warrant during the hour-long ceremony which will be rounded off in traditional Royal Navy fashion with the cutting of a commissioning cake.
Performing the honour will be the CO’s wife, Liesl, and Engineering Technician Mark Soldiew, aged 18, the youngest member of the ship’s company.
Of the six Type 45s built for the Fleet to replace the trusty Type 42s which have served since the mid-70s, Daring and Dauntless are deployed, Diamond will deploy in the early summer, Defender has completed her second sea trials and will arrive in Portsmouth in July while the final ship in the class, Duncan, begins her trials before the year’s end.
Naval Today Staff, April 18, 2012; Image: RoyalNavy