More than a thousand people flocked to see HMS Defender in Gibraltar as she stopped at the port on her way to Middle East.
HMS Defender is the fifth of the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers and made her first port of call 1,000 miles into her 7,500-mile journey from the Solent to the Gulf as she embarks on her maiden operational deployment.
On the eve of her arrival, the ship’s padre, Rev Mike Meachin, led a service of remembrance on the flight deck as HMS Defender took time to pause and remember all those involved in the D-Day landings 70 years ago.
As the destroyer neared Gibraltar, she was met by RN Gibraltar Squadron patrol boat HMS Scimitar – along with Gibraltar’s First Minister Fabian Picardo – to escort her safely into the naval base.
And once alongside the destroyer opened her gangway to the public, with more than 1,700 residents taking advantage of HMS Defender’s hospitality to look around the £1bn warship.
HMS Defender’s visit provided the rare opportunity to engage in training with the Gibraltar Squadron – which comprises patrol boats Scimitar and Sabre and several RIBs (rigid inflatable boats).
“My ship’s company have worked extremely hard to ready the ship for this operational deployment and visiting historic Gibraltar as our first stop is a fitting way to begin” said Cdr Phil Nash, HMS Defender’s Commanding Officer.
“It was great to see so many members of the public visit the ship to show their support and see the extensive capability which HMS Defender brings. We now look forward to continuing our deployment and engaging with our key coalition partners to provide maritime security in the Middle East.”
Press Release, June 16, 2014; Image: UK Navy