HRH The Duchess of Gloucester joined Type-42 destroyer HMS Gloucester as she sailed back into Portsmouth Friday from her seven-month deployment to the South Atlantic patrolling Falklands and South Georgia Island waters.
The sun shone for the Portsmouth-based warship as she returned to cheering crowds of families, friends and well-wishers Friday morning.
As the ship’s sponsor the Duchess launched the ship on November 2 1982 and has been closely involved ever since – seeing her through 15 Captains, two rededications and 25 years of commissioned service.
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester joined the destroyer by helicopter before meeting the ship’s company and Commanding Officer Commander David George. She also presented Cdr George with the 2010 Fleet Efficiency Award from the Royal Navy for being its most effective destroyer last year, attaining the highest standards in both training and on operations.
This will be HMS Gloucester’s final homecoming as she will be decommissioned from the Fleet in June.
The Fighting G – as HMS Gloucester is affectionately known – left Portsmouth Naval Base on August 20 2010 and almost immediately sailed to the West Coast of Africa to assist the Cape Verde authorities with a multi-million pound drugs bust. The warship intercepted a yacht which was found to be carrying £4 million worth of cocaine.
Since then Gloucester’s activities have ranged from conducting photographic conservation surveys for the British Antarctic Survey in South Georgia to representing the UK at the Expo Naval trade fair in Valparaiso, Chile – an exhibition of defense technology.
The majority of her time was spent patrolling the Falkland Islands where she exercised with the Army and the RAF’s Falklands-based Typhoon fighter aircraft to hone her skills at working in a tri-service environment.
Another priority for HMS Gloucester was policing and protecting the waters around the various South Atlantic islands to deliver security and reassurance to those people living there. The islands are 250 miles away from mainland South America at their nearest point and so are dependent on their surrounding seas for their livelihood.
The deployment finished in style with a swift visit to New York, with the ship’s company able to see the famous sights in their best Number One uniforms and finding themselves the toast of the city.
HMS Gloucester’s CO Commander David George said: “Her Royal Highness and our families will see coming in on Friday, HMS Gloucester returning in fine fettle after a hugely successful deployment down South. It has been a long time away from home, however.
“Working hard has kept us occupied, and there have been lots of highlights, but we are now just looking forward to seeing our loved ones again. Their support has been immense throughout the deployment. I am very proud that the Duchess will be able to join us, as it conveys to both the sailors and the families how valued they and their Service are”.
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Good old Glochester - You have served us well.Mar 26th, 2011 - 01:42 pm 0
Congratulation what a fine job you have done, the navy is proud of you,Mar 26th, 2011 - 01:42 pm 0
the british people are proud of you.
and the goverment is going to reward you. its scrapping the ship,
redundent sailors , we have no more money.
but congratulations anyway.
Teaboy,Mar 26th, 2011 - 07:54 pm 0
Served us? lol ...I thought you said you were American, you said so when I told you the US provided satellite info to the UK in 1982.
Are you having some kind of identity crisis? ;-)
Get lost Gloucester, you leave in shame after having Uruguay KICK YOU OUT