HMS Argyll Anchors in Simon’s Town, Africa

HMS Argyll Anchors in Simon’s Town, Africa

Plymouth-based frigate HMS Argyll arrived in South Africa in style by firing a 21-gun salute as she made her way into the naval port of Simon’s Town. Royal Navy warships are allowed to fire a 21-gun salute in recognition of a special Royal occasion – however it has also become a tradition as they arrive in the South African port.

Commander Tim Neild, the Commanding Officer of HMS Argyll, said:

“It was a huge privilege to take Argyll in to Simon’s Town, with a 21 gun salute, a port steeped in naval tradition and very much a home from home.

“After an arduous three months on operations in West Africa my team had earned their respite from operations.

“The facilities available provided us with the opportunity to recover from the first half of our deployment and ensure that we are fully prepared for the challenges ahead.”

After three months conducting counter narcotic operations, capacity building and regional engagement visits along the West African coastline, Simon’s Town provided a timely pit-stop to conduct a two-week maintenance package supported by T23 COM and Babcock from the UK.

In the space of 14 days the longest serving Type 23 in the Royal Navy, at 22 years old, received a work package which included preservation and painting work on the upper deck as well as internal maintenance in the engine rooms in order to ready her for the harsh weather conditions of the second half of the deployment in the Atlantic.

 Lieutenant Commander Euan Stuart, the Executive Officer said:

“As the saying goes ‘there’s life in the old dog yet’ and that’s certainly the case with Argyll.

“Team Argyll work tirelessly onboard to ensure that she is ready for whatever tasking is required of her and appears in the best condition possible to represent the Service and the United Kingdom.

“The assistance we received in Simon’s Town will help to sustain Argyll for the demands of the forthcoming months.”

In touching distance of many worldwide tourist attractions and areas of interest, Simon’s Town also provided an excellent opportunity for many members of the ship’s company to be joined by their loved ones.

For one member of the crew, Engineering Technician Martyn Allatt from Leeds, this opportunity definitely did not pass him by.

During a visit to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, swept away by the moment, he proposed to his girlfriend Charlotte and fortunately she had no hesitation in accepting.

Engineering Technician Allatt said:

 “I had been thinking about proposing for quite a while and was intending to do it when I got back home but the scenic setting of Table Mountain provided an opportunity too good to miss.

“I’m overjoyed she accepted and I’m now looking forward to getting married in the next 12 months.”

Adventurous training was also high on the agenda for many members of the ship’s company.

Major Paul Gellender MBE Royal Marines and two Physical Training Instructors had flown from HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth, the home of Royal Navy physical and adventurous training, to provide the crew with an adventurous training and challenging activities package.

The programme included mountain hiking up (and down) Table Mountain, mountain biking up (and down) the equally high Silvermine Mountain, sea kayaking, surfing and cage diving with Great White Sharks.

Press Release, May 31, 2013; Image: Royal Navy