UK: Royal Navy to Commission HMS Defender into Fleet
HMS Defender – the fifth of the Royal Navy’s powerful new Type 45 destroyers – will be formally commissioned into the fleet on Thursday (March 21).
Hundreds of guests including families of the 190 ship’s company will attend a colourful ‘Christening’ ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base to mark the ship’s transition into front-line service.
Principal guests include Lady Julie Massey – the ship’s sponsor who launched the vessel at BAE Systems’ Govan shipyard on the River Clyde on 21 October 2009 – and Vice Admiral Philip Jones, Fleet Commander Royal Navy.
The ceremony will be conducted by the Venerable Scott Brown, Chaplain of the Fleet.
Another guest will be Captain Michael Rawlinson who was the last Commanding Officer of the previous HMS Defender between August 1968 and September 1969. Representatives from the ship’s affiliate cities of Exeter and Glasgow will also attend.
Commander Phillip Nash, Defender’s current Commanding Officer, said the event was a proud moment for all personnel serving in the ship.
“The commissioning of HMS Defender is a hugely significant day in this state of the art warship’s life – it marks the point at which building and testing the ship finishes and frontline service in the fleet begins.
“It is also important to recognise that for the 190 women and men that make up my ship’s company this day of commissioning represents the culmination of months and years of hard work of training, trials and practice focussed on ensuring that Defender is ready to undertake operations around the world whenever tasked.
“We are extremely proud of our achievement and would like to thank our partners in British shipbuilding industries for their assistance in reaching this goal.”
Commander Nash will read a Commissioning Warrant during the hour-long ceremony which will be rounded off in traditional Royal Navy fashion with the cutting of a commissioning cake.
Performing the honour will be the CO’s wife, Rebecca along with the youngest member of the ship’s company -Engineering Technician (Marine Engineer) Stephen Smith – who serves on the ship alongside his older sister Able Seaman (Logistics) Samantha Smith.
The Type 45 Destroyer is the largest and most powerful destroyer ever built for the Royal Navy and provides UK defence with a world class military capability.
Naval Today Staff, March 19, 2013; Image: Royal Navy