UK: HMS Dasher Honours Tragic Wartime Forebear
Faslane patrol boat HMS Dasher left her normal domain around the Scottish naval base to venture into the Firth of Clyde for ceremonies honouring her predecessor.
Seventy years ago escort aircraft carrier HMS Dasher blew up while conducting training between the Isle of Arran and the Ayrshire coast.
Some 379 of the 528 men aboard were killed in an accident whose cause has never been established. Many of the dead were laid to rest in the small port of Ardrossan, with which the current Dasher has recently established an affiliation.
And so the P2000 patrol boat made the relatively short trip down the Clyde estuary for a four-day visit, which began with a poignant wreath laying ceremony at sea at the Dasher wreck site, half a dozen miles from the coast of Arran.
After the ceremony the crew members attended lunch with the Dasher Association before heading to Saltcoats for their social evening.
During the visit the Royal Navy P2000 vessel also gave pupils from three local schools a taste of life at sea.
Youngsters from Auchenhavie Academy, St Mathew’s and Ardrossan Academies joined the ship for ‘sea acquaints’ and an introduction to the workings of the vessel and some of the life-saving equipment on board.
Members of North Ayrshire Council were also hosted, along with representatives from Strathclyde Police and teachers from local schools.
Ties were sealed between the town and HMS Dasher with an exchange of gifts, with council members presenting Commanding Officer Lt Mark Heward with a commemorative decanter; in return they received a carved ship’s crest.
HMS Dasher returned to HM Naval Base Clyde with Sea Cadets accompanying the ship and gaining experience as acting Officers of the Watch.
Lt Heward said: “Our first affiliation visit was a great success. We were given such a warm welcome by everyone we met at Ardrossan and it was fantastic to be able to host so many members of the community.
“We hope to return regularly to consolidate our links with the town and people and perhaps even open the ship to the community at some time in the near future.”
HMS Dasher is one of two P2000s which form the Faslane Patrol Boat Squadron. The pair provide force protection in and around Faslane.
Dasher is a fully-fledged armed patrol boat fitted with Kevlar armour and able to operate three General Purpose Machine Guns.
Naval Today Staff , April 27, 2012; Image: royalnavy