HMS Albion wraps up Tokio visit

Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ship HMS Albion has wrapped up a five-day visit to Tokio, Japan, becoming the largest RN vessel to visit the country in a quarter of a century.

The 20,000-ton ship pulled alongside on August 3 and hosted over 6000 members of the public during an open weekend.

During the visit, sailors, Royal Marines and Army commandos from HMS Albion also used the opportunity to pay their respects at Yokohama Cemetery in Hodogaya, Tokyo, the last resting place of 1,555 Commonwealth servicemen who died in Japanese prison camps or while serving in the country as part of the occupying forces after 1945.

Among the dead, 113 Royal Navy and 65 merchant seamen, victims of the 1941-45 struggle for control of the Pacific.

As they have done in every major port of call where there’s a significant burial ground for the nation’s war dead – most recently Busan in Korea – the ship’s company of Britain’s flagship have visited en masse to pay their respects and lay a wreath, assuring their forebears that past sacrifices are not forgotten by today’s generation.

HMS Albion and crew returned to sea on Wednesday and will soon begin the long journey back to the UK which will be a four-month undertaking marked by exercises and interactions will ally nations.

The Devonport-based assault ship begun the second half of her Far East deployment in late July after a month’s maintenance in the US Seventh Fleet’s base just south of Tokyo.

The return leg of the deployment will see HMS Albion join Saif Sareea III in Oman in October – one of Britain’s biggest exercises in the Middle East this century.

HMS Albion started her first deployment in seven years in February 2018 and is one of three Royal Navy ships to deploy to the Asia-Pacific region this year.

Photo: Photo: Royal Navy