HMS Montrose celebrated two decades of service when alongside in London. Lady Rifkind, the ship’s sponsor, who launched the vessel was welcomed on board the ship by 10 former Commanding Officers of the frigate for a commemorative luncheon.
She was joined by her husband Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who was Secretary of State for Defence at the time that HMS Montrose was commissioned into the Royal Navy, on 2 June 1994.
The Plymouth-based warship has never been to London in her 20 years of service. Over the past 20 years, HMS Montrose has been busy in a variety of operational theatres including the Gulf, Sierra Leone, Falklands, and the North Atlantic.
Sir Malcolm and Lady Rifkind and the former Commanding Officers, who include six Admirals and Commodores amongst their number, were hosted by the current incumbent, Commander James Parkin.
Commander Parkin said: “It has been a real privilege to be able to invite so many my predecessors on board today to welcome Lady Rifkind back to her ship.
“I’m very proud of the history of this fine vessel, and I am humbled by all that she and her Ship’s Companies have achieved over the years.”
As the ship enters her third decade of service, there are a dozen sailors on board HMS Montrose who were not even born when the ship was originally launched.
One of the youngest members of the Ship’s Company, Steward Samantha Ormerod, who was born two years after the ship first entered the water, said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time on Montrose, as have done some really interesting stuff around the globe. It’s been really hard work but we’re part of a great team.”
This year the ship has been deployed to the Middle East conducting counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa, and also spent two months in the Eastern Mediterranean participating in the UN-led mission to support the disposal of Syrian chemical weapons, working alongside warships from Denmark and Norway.
Overall, in the past twenty years, the ship has visited 176 different ports so far, travelling 602,200 nautical miles; for seven years, she was the flagship of the 6th Frigate Squadron.
HMS Montrose is the third warship to carry the name, the first being an Admiralty-class destroyer which gained six battle honours during the Second World War; the second was the name of the training vessel attached to the Royal Naval Reserve unit in the River Tay.
She sails on Tuesday to conduct multinational exercises in the Baltic.
Press Release, June 04, 2014; Image: UK Navy