Royal Navy patrol boat squadron puts on a show in Scotland

Photo: Royal Navy
Photo: Royal Navy

Eight patrol boats from the Royal Navy’s 1st Patrol Boat Squadron demonstrated their ability to sail in close formation at high speeds as they returned from the Battle of Jutland commemorations.

Eight boats mustered in Leith docks for a day of combined training.

The 54-tonne craft normally give students from UK universities an insight into life in the Royal Navy. But after their ceremonial role in the far north, the boats remained together for a rare day of combined squadron exercises, using Leith docks on the Firth of Forth as their base.

Led by HMS Dasher – normally assigned to Bristol Universities – seven of the eight 21-metre-long boats streaked up the river estuary in formation.

HMS Archer, Biter, Blazer, Explorer, Express and Trumpeter all lined up behind Dasher (boat eight, HMS Ranger, remained in Leith).

“Normally it would be very difficult to get eight of the squadron’s craft together on this scale without unduly affecting individual programmes,” said Lt Ben Dorrington, HMS Dasher’s Commanding Officer.

“Due to our support for the Battle of Jutland commemorations in Orkney we had a rare opportunity to exercise together and were determined to make the most of it.”

The boats carried out various combined manoeuvres in formation and in groups, including light-line transfers between vessels and co-ordinated departures from and entries into Leith docks.

The eight boats have now dispersed once more to begin their summer deployments. For the next two months they are ‘bomb bursting’ across northern European, giving undergraduates an extended experience of life in the Royal Navy, taking them as far east as Estonia in the Baltic.