May 22, 2019 – Frigate HMS Northumberland sailed into Liverpool for a four-day logistics stop after shadowing a Russian naval vessel through the English Channel.
The Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate arrived at Liverpool’s cruise liner berth with her ship’s company lining the upper deck in full ceremonial uniforms.
The ship and her crew – including three Liverpool natives – were alongside to take on supplies and enjoy a brief respite from the operations she has been conducting.
Last week HMS Northumberland was activated to sail and meet the Severmorsk, a Russian Udaloy-class guided missile destroyer as it passed through the UK’s area of interest.
The Russian ship crossed through the English Channel on the way back to her home port after operations in the Mediterranean.
Commander Ally Pollard, HMS Northumberland’s Commanding Officer, said: “This has been a particularly intense period of work for HMS Northumberland. It is always a privilege for us in the Royal Navy to come in to a UK port, particularly one with such a maritime focus which will undoubtedly give us such a warm welcome.
“The ship has had an extremely busy few weeks at sea and we have had to react to a number of short notice programme changes in support of national interests.
“It is credit to the team on board that they have been able to switch focus with such ease, for example our recent change from anti-submarine warfare training to shadowing Russian ships through UK territorial waters. This is normal business for the Royal Navy, being prepared at all times to respond to help keep Britain safe.”
While in Liverpool, the ship’s company toured the city, welcomed local community organisations on board, and worked with reservists from the local Royal Naval Reserve unit HMS Eaglet in Sefton Street.
For those who are from the area, it was also a chance to see family and friends before returning to sea.
Chief Petty Officer Mark Lynch, from Litherland, is a former pupil of nearby St Wilfrid’s High School. Mark said: “After serving in the Royal Navy for 20 years this is the first time I have been to my home city in a ship.
“I will always remember seeing HMS Liverpool coming into dock when I was a young boy, and my family taking me on board to look around. On that day I never thought I would be arriving into Liverpool as a serving member on a warship. I am proud to serve in the Royal Navy and have been lucky to see many different cultures, lifestyles and countries but returning to Liverpool will certainly make a new memory which will be at the top of the list.”
Also serving on board HMS Northumberland is Chief Petty Officer Sarah Roberts. Sarah is a weapons engineering specialist who joined the Navy 17 years ago.
She said: “This is the third ship I have served on which has brought me home to Liverpool. I love my city and, although I have now settled in Plymouth, having the opportunity to show my friends and family back home in Liverpool what I do for a living will be incredible.”
Equally as proud to be coming home is former West Derby Comprehensive School student, Petty Officer Graham Finley. Graham, a marine engineer with 19 years service, is originally from Tuebrook.
He said: “For the first time since joining the Royal Navy I am getting the opportunity to be involved in a moment that will be a part of me forever. Liverpool is the city that gave me the grit to succeed and the Royal Navy has taught me how to live a life without limits.”
HMS Northumberland is one of the Royal Navy’s 13 Type 23 frigates, originally designed to deal with the Soviet submarine threat. But in the years since their original design, the frigates have proven their versatility by dealing with virtually every mission imaginable in all corners of the globe, receiving upgrades and new systems to ensure she remains a formidable foe.
She carries 190 sailors on board, and is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and missile systems designed to protect the ship and wider Royal Navy fleet from attack.
As a high-readiness unit, HMS Northumberland may be called upon at any time to help prevent arms trafficking, people smuggling, conduct counter-terrorism operations, maritime search and rescue, or escort duties.
She is equipped with a Merlin helicopter of Culdrose-based 814 Naval Air Squadron, state-of-the-art radar and the Royal Navy’s new Sea Ceptor missile system.