Royal Navy decommissions HMS Montrose

After a 30-year career, the active life of the Royal Navy’s warship HMS Montrose came to an end on Monday in Portsmouth.

Nearly 200 members of her ship’s company turned to face the vessel as the White Ensign was lowered on her flight deck and the frigate passed into history.

Image credit: Royal Navy

“It’s been a truly special occasion officially decommissioning this fine ship after 30 years’ service to both her monarchs and her country,” Commander Claire Thompson said.

“As the final ship’s company it is with immense pride that we lowered the Ensign today and we did it on behalf of the thousands of men and women who have had the privilege of calling HMS Montrose home.“

Some crew will stay with Montrose through the decommissioning process as the ship is prepared for disposal – her ultimate fate has yet to be determined – while others will begin dispersing around the rest of the Royal Navy.

Based in Plymouth for the vast majority of her career, Montrose was the seventh ship in the class of 16 Duke-class frigates to be laid down (back in 1989) and the eighth to be commissioned (1994).

There are few parts of the world the frigate has not seen in her 29-year active life as she clocked up more than 400,000 miles on duties at home and overseas.

Most recently she has spent four years constantly deployed on operations, almost exclusively in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.

During that time, Montrose made ten drug busts seizing 16 tonnes of illegal narcotics, seized illegal shipments of missiles and cruise missile engines, and helped safely guide some 130 merchant vessels through potentially dangerous maritime choke points.

The ship returned to Devonport in December last year.

Since then she has operated around the UK and paid a farewell visit to her namesake town in northeastern Scotland.

As a general-duty frigate she will be replaced by one of the five Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates under construction in Rosyth. The first, HMS Venturer, is due in the water later this year.