The smallest ships in the UK Navy’s fleet have won a top award for punching above their weight in the UK and overseas.
The 14 vessels that make up the First Patrol Boat Squadron have received the Firmin Sword of Peace – a prize given to British armed forces units for activities beyond their normal role.
It was the squadron’s work during a demanding 2012 that earned the award. HMS Example, Explorer, Ranger and Trumpeter excelled during a summer deployment to the Baltic – the longest operation to date by such vessels – and Ranger and Trumpeter also provided an Honour Guard for the Queen’s diamond jubilee pageant on the Thames.
And to round of an unprecedented year, six ships provided security for the Olympics and Paralympics in London and Weymouth – HMS Puncher, Blazer, Express, Tracker, Raider and Exploit.
The tasks were carried out in addition to the squadron’s traditional role of providing sea training to a wide spectrum of high-calibre undergraduates.
The award was presented by First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, to Lieutenant Simon Shaw – Commanding Officer of HMS Exploit during 2012 – on board HMS Blazer at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Tony Kelly, sales manager of award sponsor Firmin House, which makes military ceremonial uniforms, said: “The squadron has worked extremely hard and are worthy winners of the award. For security reasons sometimes their work has to be low profile, but it is good to see them being recognised in this way.”