HMS Montrose marked her Scottish connections with a flight deck St Andrew’s Day celebration whilst on deployment to the Gulf. The Type 23 Plymouth based Duke Class frigate has longstanding ties with Scotland.
To celebrate the Scottish link, the ship took a few hours aside from maritime security operations in the Middle East to mark Saint Andrew’s Day with a ship’s company Highland Games.
To kick off the event, crew members formed a Saint Andrew’s cross, or Saltire, on the flight deck.
Leading Airman (Photographer) Alex Knott, who photographed the Saltire from the ship’s Lynx helicopter said:
“Although the view was not quite the Glens, it’s still an amazing sight, a little piece of home so many miles away.”
HMS Montrose was built at Yarrows on the Clyde, launched by Lady Rifkind in 1992, named after the Dukes of Montrose and is affiliated to the region of Angus. Dozens of her sailors are Scottish-born and the Graham of Montrose tartan adorns passageways and cabins throughout the ship.
The ship’s Logistics Officer, Lieutenant Commander Elaine Boyd, who studied Economics at the University of Saint Andrew’s before joining the Royal Navy, said:
“During my four years at Scotland’s finest institute of learning, like most students, I looked forward to the traditions of Raisin Weekend and the St Andrew’s Day holiday.
“This year marks the University of St Andrew’s 600th anniversary and graduates from the furthest corners of the globe have sent birthday messages as part of the Postcard Home Campaign.
“On this St Andrew’s Day, my postcard home is sent from HMS Montrose, deployed on Operation Kipion in the Gulf.”
The Highland Games included a caber toss, tug-o-war and obstacle relay, all carried out wearing tradition-inspired tartan dress. It was organised by the ship’s Leading Physical Trainer, Kier Woodhead, who said:
“Putting an unusual spin on some flight deck sports is a fantastic opportunity to break up the arduous routines of our current operations.
“The tug-o-war was my particular favourite and I am astounded by the enthusiasm of all involved. It was a great success.”
With cabers tossed, and tug-o-wars tugged, the Ship’s Company were treated to some traditional Scottish fare of ‘stovies’, a Scottish dish made from potatoes and ‘cranachen’, a traditional dessert of oats, cream, whisky and raspberries.
Commander James Parkin, Royal Navy, HMS Montrose’s Commanding Officer, said:
“As we operate in the Gulf, protecting British interests, I am honoured to celebrate my ship’s close ties with Scotland, especially on Saint Andrew’s Day.
“With the numerous Scottish affiliations and interesting connections we have it is only appropriate for the most Scottish ship in the Fleet to show her pride in our shared heritage.”
Press Release, December 03, 2013; Image: Royal Navy