Type 45 Destroyer HMS Daring Debuts in Gibraltar
This is the first time a Type 45 destroyer – the most advanced warship in Britain’s arsenal – has appeared in the shadow of the Rock, one of the world’s iconic natural sights.
On her maiden deployment, HMS Daring made her debut in Gibraltar – the Fleet’s traditional refuge, 1,000 miles from the mother country.
The Rock was shrouded in mist and rain when the Type 45 destroyer entered harbour – joining Mediterranean-bound minehunter HMS Ledbury in the naval base.
Once alongside in the shadow of The Tower (or was it The Tower in the shadow of Daring given the height of her main mast, more than 100ft above the waterline), the first of the Royal Navy’s six Type 45 destroyers hosted a reception for the Rock’s leaders.
Among those shown aboard Daring (dubbed a ‘superdestructor’ – super destroyer – by the Spanish press across the border) were Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the territory’s governor, Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns (who knows a little about Type 45s as his wife Susie is the sponsor of HMS Diamond).
The ship also hosted visits from local schools, Air Cadets, the Sea Scouts and the Royal Gibraltar Association.
For one member of the 200-strong ship’s company the visit to Gib was a (very brief) homecoming.
As Daring’s ‘bish’, Father Charles Bruzon provides crucial moral and spiritual support to the sailors and Royal Marines aboard the 8,500-tonne destroyer.
The ship’s chaplain hails from the Rock – and his family were waiting for him on the jetty for a short reunion before the Type 45 resumes her eastward journey.
No visit to Gibraltar is complete without the Navy’s traditional ‘Rock race’ – from the dockyard to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar, with the ship’s physical training instructor LPT Simon Radford spurring the men and women on.
“The race was really well attended by the ship’s company – despite the very early start,”
“There were some very tired-looking people at the top – but luckily there were no proper casualties
.”Daring will be away for six months helping to keep criminal activity in check in waters from the Red Sea to the Gulf as part of the international naval effort clamping down on piracy, terrorism, drug smuggling, people trafficking and other nefarious maritime activities.“
Seeing the Rock as you sail in is a sight you never forget, and always one you welcome seeing,” said Capt Guy Robinson, Daring’s Commanding Officer.
“Gibraltar is an iconic place to visit – a place held dearly in people’s hearts. You could not enter the Mediterranean without stopping here.”His enthusiasm for the Rock was matched by Mr Picardo’s enthusiasm for the ship. “It’s been a great honour to be received by the captain and crew of HMS Daring and welcome them to port on behalf of the people of Gibraltar.“
The vessel is a very important asset to the Royal Navy in its worldwide task to protect British interests and those of the free world.
“Gibraltar is always proud to provide its full support to the armed forces in their hugely important mission.”
Gib – and the rain – are now distant memories; escorted by fast gunboat HMS Scimitar, one of the RN Gibraltar Squadron boats which defends the Rock, Daring has resumed her mission, leaving the territory under brilliant clear skies.HMS Daring made good use of the presence of Scimitar – commanded by the Type 45’s former navigator Lt Tom Knott. The destroyer’s crew practised their reactions against small fast-attack craft – a threat they could potentially face on operations.The clear skies also allowed for some impressive photo opportunities with the imposing outline of the Rock as the backdrop, before Scimitar turned for home and the mountain disappeared from view.
Naval Today Staff , January 20, 2012; Image: royalnavy