HMS Iron Duke is to fire a 15-gun ceremonial salute this evening (Friday 20 June) as she passes Jersey at the start of a three-month deployment. The warship, which enjoys strong links with Jersey, is heading towards Corbiere where she will fire a 15-gun ceremonial salute to the Lieutenant-Governor, His Excellency General Sir John McColl, before continuing on her deployment to the South Atlantic.
The salute is planned for 8.45pm and the 1781 Jersey Militia will fire a five-round salute in return. Guests at Corbiere by the Radio Tower will include His Excellency and Lady McColl; the Bailiff and Lady Birt, Sir Michael Birt; and the Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst. The public are also able to attend.
Before the salute, HMS Iron Duke plans to rendezvous with Wetwheels, a charity which allows people with disabilities to get to sea.
The visit comes at the start of a routine deployment across the Atlantic for the Portsmouth-based warship. She will be visiting various far-flung destinations in all seasons in both northern and southern hemispheres – enjoying summer and winter in the space of three months.
During six months away the Type 23 frigate will protect UK interests and promote the nation’s capabilities abroad. At times she will work with partner nations to develop their armed forces training to defend their own waters. She may be called upon to lend assistance for humanitarian disasters or tackle piracy on the high seas. Her recent visit to Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) in Plymouth has equipped her crew of 180 for every eventuality.
The deployment is the first for HMS Iron Duke since undergoing a major upgrade. She’s the first RN warship to be fitted with Artisan – a 3D radar which is five times better than the old version it replaces.
Commander Tom Tredray, the Commanding Officer said: “We have had a great deal of work done to upgrade the ship to be one of the most capable units in the Fleet. Also, the ship’s company have all put in a great deal of effort achieve success at FOST. I am very proud of my team and the ship and am looking forward to the deployment.”
HMS Iron Duke will also carry a detachment of Royal Marines to add to the delivery of training to other nations. The ship has embarked extra stores, equipment and specialist personnel to ensure that she is both fighting fit, flexible and expert enough to respond to any demand either from local activities in her area of operations or to respond to emerging world events as directed by the Fleet Commander.
For many of the ship’s company, this will be their first lengthy trip away from home. The crew of 180 men and women come from across the UK and commonwealth, with a range of expertise in seamanship, engineering and logistics, but all have the same skills in fighting fires and tackling floods to protect their floating home. Their recent training has taught them to deal with displaced populations, evacuees, hostile forces and friendly, visiting dignitaries along with the more common war fighting practice.