UK: HMS Grimby Returns Home


A tearful embrace for one of the 44 men and women of HMS Grimby who brought their ship up the Clyde and into Faslane on Friday after a 6,500-mile odyssey from the Gulf.

There was a traditional blast of water from a tug’s fire hose, plus cheers, tears and reunions as the curtain came down on a two-and-a-half year tour of duty in Bahrain.

The Sandown-class minehunter sailed home with another Gulf veteran HMS Chiddingfold (she’d spent three and a half years east of Suez).

It took six weeks for the two ships to reach the UK (they left Bahrain on June 28 after final machinery and weapons checks to prepare them for the long trek home).

Cheery Chid returned to Portsmouth on Thursday. Families north of the border had to wait another 24 hours for their longed-for reunion. They were also blessed – shock, horror – with rather nicer weather than in Portsmouth.

As with all the Royal Navy’s quartet of Bahrain-based minehunters, Grimsby’s crew changes every six or so months.

The current crew have been in charge of the ship since the end of 2010 – eight months aboard a very small in very challenging conditions (it was around 37˚C in the central Gulf by June).

Outgoing Commanding Officer Lt Cdr Antony Crabb reckons his ship was:

“The most capable minehunter amongst the UK force in the Gulf, with consistently outstanding results in all exercises, high readiness rates through diligent maintenance of equipment, and crucially, the upbeat ‘can-do’ attitude of her crew.”

Which lays down the gauntlet to the rest of the Sandown and Hunt world…

Sadly, he didn’t get the pleasure to guide Grimsby into her home port – he handed over command to Lt Cdr Giles Palin just a fortnight from Faslane.

So it was left to the new commanding officer to deliver the ship’s epitaph on her return.

“Grimsby and her crew performed superbly well. The ship did everything asked of her and any sailor will tell you a ship is only as good as her crew. I am proud of them all.” he said.

After some maintenance the ship will resume training and hopefully get a chance to visit her namesake fishing port to re-kindle links with affiliates after so long in the Middle East.

Source: royalnavy, August 23, 2011;