UK: HMS Edinburgh’s White Ensign to Lower for the Last Time

HMS Edinburgh’s White Ensign to Lower for the Last Time

The last of the Royal Navy’s fleet of Type 42 destroyers which have served across the globe for 40 years bows out of service on Thursday (June 6). HMS Edinburgh’s White Ensign will be lowered for the last time during her decommissioning ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base, ending an era which began with the launch of HMS Sheffield in 1971.

The ageing Type 42s have gradually been phased out of service to make way for the successor Type 45s which are among the most modern and powerful warships in the world.

Among hundreds of guests at the decommissioning ceremony will be Lady Heseltine, HMS Edinburgh’s sponsor and wife of former Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, who launched the ship on 14 April 1983.

Seventeen former Edinburgh Commanding Officers and dozens of Type 42 veterans will also attend.

Edinburgh’s 270 ship’s company will be on parade during the 50-minute ceremony and will be inspected by Lady Heseltine and senior Naval officers.

RAF Typhoon and Hawk aircraft, together with a Sea Fury from the RN Historic Flight, will perform a flypast before the final lowering of the ship’s White Ensign.

 Edinburgh’s Commanding Officer, Commander Nick Borbone, said:

 “It will be a poignant day for all of us associated with HMS Edinburgh. It is also a day of celebration when we remember the 40 years of faithful service that ‘The Fighting 42s’ have given, manned by dedicated men and women, proud to serve in this world renowned class of ship.”

Built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, Edinburgh was commissioned in December 1985 – the 14th and final Type 42 to enter service.

Press Release, June 5, 2013; Image: Royal Navy