Ready for renewed duties with NATO is destroyer HMS Duncan, formally rededicated in her home base of Portsmouth.
Sponsor Lady Marie Ibbotson – who launched the ship on the Clyde in October 2010 and has followed HMS Duncan’s progress ever since – was the guest of honour, joining affiliates, friends and families to celebrate the warship’s successful regeneration.
After leading a NATO task group around the Mediterranean in 2018/19, Duncan underwent a two-year revamp in her home base.
Since the turn of the year, her 200-strong ship’s company have been readying the ship – the Fleet’s newest destroyer – for renewed operations.
Having completed the Royal Navy’s premier test and assessment of ships and their crews, Operational Sea Training, off Plymouth, the destroyer was dispatched to the Mediterranean to take part in a major French/NATO exercise, Orion, involving more than two dozen warships operating across a vast area of the northern Med for two weeks where the action never stopped.
Orion formed the final part of HMS Duncan’s regeneration with 11 staff embarked to coach and mentor the ship’s company.
Test passed, it allowed the ship to celebrate her rebirth. After the formal ceremony returning Duncan to active service, guests were treated to lunch and a comprehensive tour of their affiliated ship. For some, the visit marked a welcome return to Duncan after many years, for others, such as the students of Manchester University Royal Naval Unit, this was the first time on a Royal Navy warship.
Engineering Technician George Cordon, the youngest member of the ship’s company, cut the rededication cake, sharing the knife with Kim Martin, whose husband Ben is Duncan’s Commanding Officer.
“I was proud to be part of such an important milestone in the Ship’s life and we’re now looking forward to getting out on operations after all the preparation,” George said.
The following day, Duncan opened her gangway to families, giving the loved ones of those who serve on board the chance to experience a little of what life is like in a Type 45 Destroyer. Duncan’s nearest and dearest were given free rein to explore, with their hosts keeping a watchful eye.
“While cutting-edge equipment and rigorous training are crucial to our operational success, it is our people and the support of their families that remain the Royal Navy’s most valuable component,” said Commander Martin.
“They have shown commitment, professionalism and perseverance through Duncan’s regeneration and will do so again during the deployment to come.”
The ship’s first deployment will be the same as her last: flagship of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 operating in the Mediterranean, though the geopolitical situation has changed substantially since 2018/19. Duncan is due to deploy later this spring.