HMS Montrose bids farewell

March 20, 2023
HMS Montrose

Highland RFCA was welcomed aboard HMS Montrose for the Type 23 frigate’s final visit to her namesake town, Montrose in Angus, on 13 March.

Commanding Officer of HMS Montrose, Commander Claire Thompson OBE RN, and Naval Regional Commander Scotland & Northern Ireland, Brigadier Andy Muddiman ADC, hosted a Reception and Capability Demonstration (RCD) onboard the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate.

Commander Claire Thompson (top) and Brigadier Andy Muddiman welcoming guests.

Commander Thompson thanked the guests for all of their support throughout the years: “How special it is to visit our namesake town. You should be just as proud of this ship as we are.” Brigadier Muddiman came to mark the occasion, emphasising the ship’s “recent extraordinary success” and the “deep connection with the communities and country we serve”.

HRFCA’s Employer Engagement Admin Officer Danielle Barclay, Communications Officer Annushka Bholai, Head of Engagement Michelle McKearnon and Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) Ray Watt attended the event. Local dignitaries were in attendance, including Lord-Lieutenant of Angus, Mrs Patricia Sawers; Lord Provost of Angus, Councillor Brian Boyd; and The Duke of Montrose, His Grace James Graham. All guests were given the opportunity to gain more insight into the ship’s facilities, equipment and capabilities with a guided tour and a ceremonial sunset.

From left: Ray Watt, Michelle McKearnon and Danielle Barclay excited to climb aboard.

The following employers from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland were invited to attend: Bristow Helicopters Ltd, Discovery Point, Dundee International Women’s Centre, G.H.Q. Spirits, Scottish Ambulance Service and University of Aberdeen. Bristow Helicopters Ltd and University of Aberdeen are both Armed Forces Covenant signatories and Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award holders. G.H.Q. Spirits is a Covenant signatory and ERS Bronze Award holder, and Scottish Ambulance Service is a Covenant signatory and ERS Gold Award holder.

HMS Montrose is one of the Royal Navy’s thirteen Type 23 frigates and the fifth of the frigate fleet. She is stationed at His Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport, but supports missions all over the world. The ship was launched on 31 July 1992 by Lady Rifkind. Her motto is “Mare ditat rosa decorat”: the sea enriched but the rose adorns. 

In December 2022, HMS Montrose arrived back in the UK for the first time since October 2018. She had been deployed on Operation Kipion in the Middle East for most of the last four years, conducting patrols to safeguard merchant shipping, tackle criminal and terrorist activity as well as working with allies as part of the international security effort.

The crew of 200 has had successes such as seizing 16 tonnes of illegal narcotics as well as finding and returning advanced conventional weapons to the UK. Some of these activities earned Commander Thompson an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in His Majesty The King’s first Operational Honours and Awards List in November 2022.

After covering 420,377 miles since first launching 30 years ago, HMS Montrose was open to the public for the final time on 12 March. The final port visit was a huge success with over 5,000 visitors. The ship’s company also hosted members of the following local Sea Cadet units: Dundee (No 113) TS Duncan SCC, Methil (No 240) TS Ajax SCC, Perth (No 452) TS Fairmaid SCC, and Rosyth (No 114) TS Fife SCC. The Fife and Tayside Sea Cadet Corps (SCC) is proud to have an affiliation with HMS Montrose.

Local cadets visiting HMS Montrose on 12 March.

Commanding Officer of Dundee Sea Cadets, Petty Officer Barry Ross, said: “It has been an honour to be part of the affiliation with HMS Montrose. From my three ship visits with hundreds of cadets over the years, I have seen a lot of smiling faces thanks to them.

“It’s a ship that will go down in history. As they sail home one last time, they can absolutely hold their heads up proud that what they did over the past 30 years made a difference to the world we live in.”

The decommissioning ceremony will take place on 17 April in Portsmouth and will be preceded by a dinner for former Commanding Officers. Currently, Scottish shipyards have orders to build 13 Navy frigates. Brigadier Muddiman said: “HMS Montrose has set the groundwork for the next generation of warships coming behind her.”

The evening finished with a ceremonial sunset with the lowering of the White Ensign. From left: Councillor Brian Boyd, Mrs Patricia Sawers, Commander Claire Thompson, His Grace James Graham and Brigadier Andy Muddiman.

To find out more about HMS Montrose, click HERE.