Royal Navy destroyer HMS Duncan returned to its Portsmouth homeport on September 28 after almost seven months of operations.
The final month of Duncan’s tour of duty was spent safeguarding British shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Type 45 destroyer passed through the narrow waters 29 times – protecting 1.28m tonnes of British merchant vessels (tankers, liquid natural gas, container and cargo ships) in the wake of several attacks on tankers in the region and Iran’s seizing of British-flagged tanker Stena Impero.
The mission Duncan completed was very different from that which the crew set out to perform back in March.
The destroyer joined French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle as part of the multinational Carrier Strike Group GAN 19 operating off Syria on Operation Inherent Resolve; HMS Duncan provided air defense to the group as part of operations against ISIS forces in the region.
May and June saw the ship committed to various NATO exercises in delivering humanitarian aid and countering human/arms-trafficking before joining Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 for exercise Sea Breeze in the Black Sea where, once again, she was employed in her air-defense role and hosted the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Little more than two weeks later, she found herself in the Gulf as part of the UK’s response to rising tensions with Iran and the threat to merchant shipping legally plying its trade.
Duncan stepped in while HMS Montrose, which has performed the bulk of the escort duties since July, underwent a short period of maintenance.
Commander Trent said his men and women handled that shift from international diplomacy to conducting a dangerous real-world mission.
“I cannot put my pride I feel about them into words. They have shown resilience, determination, enthusiasm and a good smile at the end,” he added.
“The ship is just a big lump of steel with some fancy equipment inside – HMS Duncan is the ship’s company and the family behind them.
Duncan’s sister HMS Defender, plus frigates HMS Montrose and Kent remain in the Gulf accompanying British-flagged vessels through Hormuz.