Gallery: HMS Daring Leaves Sydney, Australia
HMS Daring has left Australia’s largest city after a week in the spotlight taking part in the country’s centennial celebrations of its navies.
On a rather gloomy spring day, tugs helped the 8,500-tonne destroyer under the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and past the equally-famous Opera House as vessels attending the International Fleet Review departed.
Darings leaves Sydney with plaudits from Britain’s High Commissioner Paul Madden – in Commonwealth countries, the equivalent of an ambassador – who says the Royal Australian Navy’s 100th birthday has been supported “in style”.
The Portsmouth-based destroyer is officially 49 per cent of her way through her global deployment – the first by a Type 45, and the first visit to Australia by the RN’s new breed of air defence ships.
Since arriving in Sydney last Friday, Daring has taken part in two ceremonial reviews – the first recreated the entry by the inaugural RAN Fleet in 1913, the second was a more traditional fleet review witnessed by Prince Harry – services of commemoration for Australian sailors killed in the line of duty and a parade through the heart of Sydney with 4,000 seafarers from around the world.
Mr Madden says all the Royal Navy’s participants in the week-long events in Sydney had been a credit to the country.
“Britain turned out in style to support the event,” he stressed.
“The Band of HM Royal Marines drew many admiring glances as they marched through the streets of Sydney on parade with 4,000 sailors.
“Their musicianship and the precision of their drill demonstrated clearly why they are generally held to be the best military band in the world.”
Daring hosted various receptions for business and political leaders in Sydney and Melbourne and will do the same in Adelaide, and welcomed a lot of media aboard – resulting in considerable coverage for the RN Down Under.
“HMS Daring was busy all week. We really took advantage of having such a splendid Royal Navy asset in town,” Mr Madden added.
He spent two days aboard the Type 45 sailing into Sydney Harbour when the ship arrived – “a spectacular experience” – and was impressed by the “seamanship and camaraderie” of the 200-plus sailors aboard.
Among the more symbolic acts of Daring’s stay in New South Wales was the return of a plaque which once hung in Sydney’s Admiralty House.
At a special reception aboard the Type 45, Britain’s most senior sailor First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas and Jonathan Perceval-Maxwell, the great grandson of Admiral Sir George King-Hall – regarded as the father of the RAN – presented the ‘Admiral’s Office Australia’ plaque to Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, today’s head of the Commonwealth nation’s Navy.
The plaque was affixed to Admiralty House during Britain’s command at the Australia Station and spent a century in the UK after Admiral Sir George King-Hall, the last British Commander-in-Chief of the Australia Station in 1913, returned with it to England when the Royal Navy departed Australia.
At the request of Sir George King-Hall’s family, the plaque, carved from a single block of wood, was returned to the Royal Australian Navy.
Press Release, October 14, 2013; Image: Royal Navy