UK: HMS St Albans to Visit Anglesey

HMS St Albans to Visit Anglesey

Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS St Albans will visit Anglesey from Friday, April 12 to Monday, April 15. The 133 metre, 3,500 tonne warship will go alongside the Aluminium Jetty at Holyhead Port at 8am on Friday and is looking forward to a packed weekend in the Anglesey town.

Shortly after arriving, the ship will play host to a number of invited guests, including the Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP. Guests will witness a capability demonstration, ably illustrating just some of the activities of the modern Royal Navy, before a lunch on board hosted by St Albans’ Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Block.

Saturday will allow the people of Anglesey and North Wales to take the opportunity to visit an operational warship when she opens her gangway to the public.

From 11am to 3pm, a shuttle bus service will run from the Holyhead Sea Cadet unit at Newry Beach, into the port on a half hourly basis. Bus transfer and ship entry is free.

Members of the ship’s crew are looking forward to welcoming local people on board and telling them more about their experiences in the Senior Service and the work of the Royal Navy in protecting the nation’s interests – both in home waters and further flung areas around the world.

On Sunday, Commander Block and a guard of 12 members of the ship’s company will be honoured to join local people from Rhosneigr and council representatives led by Mr Richard Dew to unveil a plaque to Admiral Sir Max Horton, who was born in the village in November 1883.

Both Mr Dew’s sons are currently serving with the Royal Marines and have also been given leave to attend.

Admiral Horton was a veteran of both world wars and, in 1942 as Commander in Chief Western Approaches Command, is the man credited with devising and delivering the strategy which saw the Allies take control of the North Atlantic in 1943 from the grip of enemy U-Boats – a decisive moment in the Battle of the Atlantic, which raged throughout the entire war.

This in turn allowed the swifter and safer delivery of both goods and personnel into and out of UK ports, particularly Liverpool.

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic is being both commemorated and celebrated this year, with events of varying sizes across the UK, including this poignant unveiling to one of the Battle’s key figures.

The Royal Navy contingent at the ceremony will also be joined by the Naval Regional Commander for Wales and West of England, Commodore Jamie Miller and representatives from the Universities Royal Naval Unit in Wales, the Sea Cadets and the Air Training Corps.

Taking place at Rhosneigr Library, the plaque unveiling will be at 2pm.

A number of pre-arranged tours for local groups and schools will also be hosted both on Sunday and Monday, before the ship leaves port at 8pm.

“My crew and I are thoroughly looking forward to bringing HMS St Albans to Anglesey,” said Commander Block.

“It will be a very busy few days, but laced throughout with pride, first to be able to host the Secretary of State for Wales, then to open this fine ship up to local people and finally to be able to play our own small part in honouring Admiral Sir Max Horton and the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic.

“Many people lost their lives during the battle – the longest campaign of World War Two – in order to keep our lifeblood sea lanes open, which is as relevant today as it was then, as the UK remains a nation still dependent on the sea and her ability to move freely within it.”

HMS St Albans is the 16th and newest of the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates. Launched on May 6 2000, she was built by BAE Systems at Scotstoun in Glasgow and was delivered to the Royal Navy in November 2001.

Having returned from the Gulf at the end of 2011 and spent 2012 defending UK waters and hunting for submarines, she remains at high readiness to protect UK waters or react to emergencies until April, when she will enter a year-long period of maintenance and upgrades in Portsmouth.

Naval Today Staff, April 9, 2013; Image: Royal Navy