Arriving at Ouistreham Lock, just outside the French city of Caen in the early hours of 6 Jun 14, HMS Richmond was well placed for her important role in commemorating the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Following a range of commemorative events including a D-Day 70 Anniversary Ceremony at Normandy and Remembrance Services at Bayeux Cathedral and Sword Beach, the Commanding Officer and Ship’s Company where honoured to welcome on-board His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall.
The Royal couple took the opportunity to meet a number of the Ship’s Company across all Ranks and Rates, and over a cup of tea, were keen to discuss HMS Richmond’s current operational cycle and the role the Ship was playing during the D-Day celebrations.
In addition to the Royal visit, the Commanding Officer also welcomed on-board the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas who hosted a VIP lunch for a range of guests including Admiral Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) for the United States Navy, Ambassador Chaudry, Foreign Policy Advisor to CNO, Admiral Rogel, Chief of Staff for the French Navy, and Captain Clough, the Naval Attaché for Paris.
Following lunch guests were given a tour of the Ship to demonstrate the wide spectrum of capability that a front line operational warship offers, a highlight of which was the newly embarked Wildcat helicopter which has joined the Ship for a period of trials following the D-Day anniversary celebrations.
Wildcat is a massive leap forward in terms of embarked naval aviation and vastly improves from the Lynx Mk 8 which it is replacing in the near future.
The visit to Caen was particularly poignant for 2 members of the Ship’s Marine Engineering Department, and one member of the recently embarked Wildcat Flight Department, all of whom had relatives involved in D-Day.
Leading Engineering Technician (LET) Cullington’s Grandfather Jack Cullington was born in Liverpool on the 25 May 1917 and helped liberate Europe, fighting through Africa and Italy with 47 Royal Marines Commando.
LET Jones’ Grandfather, Charles Frank Tyler, who was born in Portsmouth on the 29 May in the early 1920’s landed on Gold beach in June 1944 and worked as a driver in the British Army.
Leading Air Engineering Technician Wright’s Grandfather went ashore on D-Day +1 as a communications engineer Ri with the Staffordshire Regiment and was 22 when he arrived on the beaches.
He continued to fight through Europe for the remainder of the war before returning home.
HMS Richmond’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Mark Anderson said “It is very appropriate that HMS Richmond is able to attend this commemoration here in Normandy.
“These events are a fitting tribute to the men who landed here 70 years ago.
“Now as then, the Royal Navy is an effective fighting force, able to project power from the sea and we have been able to strengthen our relationship with our allies who were also involved in this remarkable operation 70 years ago.”
Press Release, June 10, 2014; Image: Royal Navy