UK: HMS Ledbury to Pay Tribute to Newcastle’s Most Famous Naval Hero

HMS Ledbury to Pay Tribute to Newcastle’s Most Famous Naval Hero

During this visit, members of the ship’s company will join with the Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor Geoff O’Brien, and members of the community to pay tribute to the Tyne’s most famous naval son and Nelson’s right hand man – Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood.

On October 21 1805, the Royal Navy won a decisive victory over the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar – undermining the maritime strength of these two great sea-going nations, sending them back to port, decimated in numbers, shattered and impotent.

In the inspired and now famous two line manoeuvre, with Admiral Nelson leading one line in HMS Victory and Admiral Collingwood at the head of the other in HMS Royal Sovereign, the British fleet divided and then comprehensively outclassed the larger French and Spanish fleets.

It further upset the fortunes of a beleaguered Napoleon and ultimately underpinned Great Britain as the most formidable naval nation on the planet.

Standing right at the forefront of this historic battle, shoulder to shoulder – or ship to ship – with Admiral Lord Nelson was Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood.

Collingwood’s name, rightly, still resonates as much throughout the modern Royal Navy as it would have done 200 years ago; the Royal Navy’s largest training establishment, HMS Collingwood, pays testament to that.

HMS Ledbury is proud to visit this historic maritime city to share in the celebrations of Trafalgar Day and a tribute service at the Collingwood monument in North Shields and at the Cathedral of St Nicholas on October 21 – 206 years to the day after Trafalgar.

Members of the ship’s company will be joined at the ceremony by the Naval Regional Commander Northern England, Commodore Dickie Baum.

Commodore Baum said:

“I think it is important that we as a nation remember the importance of our maritime heritage.

“People often forget that Britain imports 90 per cent of her trade by sea and we ignore the security of the seas and our trade routes at our peril.”

In addition to the formal memorial proceedings on Friday, the ship will also host both a lunch reception and a Trafalgar Night dinner for invited guests alongside at their berth in Northumbrian Quay.

The commemoration of the Battle of Trafalgar is a long standing naval tradition whereby officers celebrate with Trafalgar Night on October 21 and senior ratings with Pickle Night the day before.

Pickle Night is named after HMS Pickle, the ship which brought back the news that the battle was won.

And during the weekend, a number of local youth groups and organisations will have the opportunity to visit the ship and hear all about life in the modern Royal Navy.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Ledbury, Lieutenant Commander Tony Williams, said,

“I am delighted to bring HMS Ledbury to Newcastle on this great occasion and celebrate the Battle of Trafalgar in this proud maritime city.

“The ship has a very busy programme at the moment and the crew and I are very much looking forward to a few days alongside.”

HMS Ledbury is one of the Royal Navy’s Eight Hunt class Mine Counter Measures Vessels and at 60m long, 10m wide and with a displacement of 650 tonnes is the largest warship ever constructed from glass reinforced plastic.

She is built to withstand the explosive shocks synonymous with Mines and performs the role of hunting for explosive devices in seaways around the world.

The ship carries a crew of 45, seven of whom are clearance divers whose job it is to swim to mines in order to place explosives. However, the ship also has a mine disposal system called Sea Fox consisting of remote controlled submersibles.

The crew of HMS Ledbury took over the ship in March this year after serving seven months in the Arabian Gulf on board sister ship HMS Middleton.

Since returning to the UK, the crew has brought Ledbury back to operational readiness and is visiting Newcastle having just completed a large, multinational naval exercise in Scotland and prior to returning to Portsmouth.

Ledbury and her crew will depart home waters again in January for another seven month deployment, this time with NATO in the Mediterranean.

Source: royalnavy, October 19, 2011