UK: The Black Duke Heads Home after Seven-Month Deployment

The Royal navy warship HMS Monmouth is due back to its homeport of Plymouth next week from a successful seven-month deployment to the Gulf.

A warm welcome from families and friends of the crew is expected when the ship sails into HM Naval Base, Devonport, on Friday, May 17th.

Joining them for a happy reunion on the jetty will be a Royal Marines Band and an impressive flyover by the ship’s ‘Black Knight’ Lynx helicopter.

As the ship sails homeward HMS Monmouth’s commanding officer, Commander Gordon Ruddock, said:

 “The value of the past seven months has been to assure our friends in the region of the United Kingdom’s commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the long term.

”We have had a busy few months where we have provided both assurance to friendly powers and legitimate maritime traffic, and deterrence to those who would commit illegal acts in international waters which impact directly the UK economy.

“My team have done a tremendous job over the past seven months and are now looking forward to some well deserved leave with their families.”

Some family members just could not wait for their loved ones to return, so 40 fathers and sons have been invited to join the ship from early next week in Gibraltar so they could sample life onboard first hand and sail the final leg of the return journey back to Plymouth.

Affectionately known as ‘The Black Duke’ – a reference to its traitor namesake – HMS Monmouth last saw UK waters back in October 2012.

Since then it has steamed over 53,000 miles, crossed four time zones and visited 8 countries. With the Lynx helicopter and embarked detachment of Royal Marines the ship has helped protect the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

While keeping a vigilant eye on the region’s shipping and during time ashore, the crew took part in adventurous training and experienced local cultures.

Sailors also enjoyed charitable fund-raising events and competitions, including rowing on a static rowing machine the length of the Suez Canal in a record time for a Royal Navy crew, ‘cycling’ the distance from Scotland to Dubai on a static bike, running 1000 miles around the deck and growing outrageous moustaches for the charity ‘Movember’ event.

The patrol was part of an international effort to deter piracy and smuggling, taking her turn to provide the standing commitment to Maritime security in the region which the Royal Navy has maintained for over 30 years.

Handing over the duty to fellow Welsh affiliated warship HMS Dragon last month, HMS Monmouth will celebrate her 20th year of service on May 20th this year.

Press Release, May 14, 2013; Image: Royal Navy

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