Royal Navy’s Bahrain-based minehunter HMS Chiddingfold has welcomed its new operators, Crew 3 from the Hunt-class Mine Countermeasures Squadron who flew out from their native Portsmouth to take charge of the ship into early 2017.
In the latest switchover of sailors running the Royal Navy’s four-strong minehunter force in Bahrain, Crew 3 are the proud ‘owners’ of the Cheery Chid, as the ship is affectionately called, into early 2017.
Before heading to the Gulf, the crew conducted training in one of Chid’s Hunt-class sister ships off the west coast of Scotland – everything from solo exercises to large-scale international war games such as the twice-yearly Joint Warrior, run from Faslane.
Temperatures in the Hebrides barely reached double figures during the spring, there was a stark contrast with the midday sun in the Gulf regularly topping 45 degrees in August.
“My crew trained hard to ensure that they were ready to make the most out of Chiddingfold’s modern mine hunting technology,” said CO Lt Cdr James Baker.
“Many of my sailors have deployed to the Gulf before but for many others it is a new and exciting experience.
As the new owners, Crew 3 re-tested all of the ship’s sensors and weapons to ensure that she is fully operational before beginning an autumn of exercises and patrols in company with RN, US and other coalition navies operating in the region.