HMS Duncan – the sixth and last of the Royal Navy’s new-generation Type 45 destroyers – was formally commissioned into the fleet on September 26.
Hundreds of guests including families of the 190 ship’s company attended a colourful ‘Christening’ ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base to mark the ship’s transition into front-line service.
The event marked a significant milestone for the fleet of Portsmouth-based Type 45s – the most powerful ships of their type ever built for the Royal Navy.
The first, HMS Daring, was commissioned in July 2009 and has been followed by sister ships Dauntless, Diamond, Dragon, Defender and now Duncan.
Principal guests at Duncan’s ceremony included Lady Marie Ibbotson – the ship’s sponsor who launched the vessel at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the River Clyde in October 2010 – and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas.
Dignitaries from the ship’s affiliated cities of Belfast and Dundee and veterans from the last HMS Duncan – a Type 14 frigate in service between 1957 and 1985 – were also present.
Commander James Stride, Duncan’s Commanding Officer, said the event was a proud moment for all personnel serving in the ship.
“The commissioning ceremony marks a major milestone in the life of HMS Duncan.
“Today also marks the effective end of the Type 45 build programme with the final destroyer now commissioned. We are delighted that it was shared with so many distinguished guests, friends, family, affiliates and former Duncanites.”
The hour-long ceremony was rounded off in traditional Royal Navy fashion with the cutting of a commissioning cake. Performing the honour were the CO’s wife, Emma, along with the youngest member of the ship’s company – Logistician (Steward) Clancey Welford, aged 18.
The first four Type 45s have already experienced life on operational deployments and the fifth – HMS Defender – is due to deploy for the first time next year.
HMS Duncan will continue an intense period of trials and training around the UK lasting well into next year before being ready to undertake operational tasking along with her sister ships around the globe.
Press Release, September 27, 2013; Image: Royal Navy