HMS Bangor, the namesake Royal UK Navy ship of the Northern Ireland town, is back in the water after an extensive refit, with a fresh crew and a new ship’s motto.
After entering the ship lift refit building in Rosyth Dockyard in November 2013, HMS Bangor spent five months hoisted on chocks having a complete overhaul of her systems and hull.
This has included a brand new paint job, first-of-class diesel generators and a new galley.
Bangor emerged from the giant Rosyth shed and re-entered the water in April. After an intensive period of safety and material inspections the ship’s company moved back on-board in May.
Although dwarfed by HMS Queen Elizabeth in the dock a few yards away, she now proudly flies the White Ensign again and is being readied for her return to sea in June.
And the ship also has a special new addition – a ship’s motto. HMS Bangor was one of a small number of Her Majesty’s Ships not to have been granted a ship’s motto when launched.
Given the opportunity to propose a motto to the Ship’s Crest’s and Naming Committee, the ship’s company looked to Bangor’s strong affiliation links to the town of Bangor, Northern Ireland.
First thoughts turned to the motto of HMS Nestor, the torpedo destroyer commanded at the Battle of Jutland by Commander (later Admiral) Bingham Royal Navy, a cherished native of the town and recipient of the Victoria Cross for his valour and bravery during the battle.
Sadly Nestor, like the first HMS Bangor, a World War II era mine-sweeper, also lacked a ship’s motto.
The Battle of Jutland connection then led to HMS Caroline, the surviving cruiser now berthed in Belfast. On top of the various links, her motto perfectly captured the spirit of HMS Bangor and her new ship’s company – Tenax Propositi – meaning ‘Tenacious of Purpose’.
The motto has been formally adopted and, as Bangor prepares to return to sea for post-refit trials, perfectly captures the mood on-board.
Whilst Babcock Marine have been busy renewing and refurbishing the ship, it has been all change for her ship’s company.
Following spells in HMS Pembroke and latterly HMS Shoreham in the Gulf, First Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Squadron Crew 8 has come full circle and returned to the ship in which they served during Operation Unified Protector off the coast of Libya in 2011.
Unusually for the MCM community, Crew 8 will remain as Bangor’s ship’s company for the next 18 months as she conducts UK-based operations and regeneration for deployment East of Suez.
For the new members of Crew 8 the extended period of time they will spend in Bangor is particularly exciting.
The new Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mike Carter Quinn, said: “The crew has been really been looking forward to moving back on-board Bangor and becoming her ship’s company once again.“
Press Release, June 02, 2014; Image: UK Navy