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HMS Severn spends weekend in her twin town

HMS Severn spends weekend in her twin town
Sailors from HMS Severn reaffirmed their ties with their twin town – and paid homage to heroic wartime mariners – when they visited Newport in Wales.

The fishery patrol ship has been bound with the port (which is actually a city and sits on the banks of the Usk, not the Severn) since she was launched back in 2003.

She was invited to take a break from fishery protection duties and spend a weekend in the bosom of her Welsh friends – who first enjoyed some good RN hospitality, courtesy of a reception hosted by her junior ratings. 

The ship’s company almost trebled with more than 75 guests filing aboard everyone from representatives of Newport City Council to local hospital employees, police and other leading civic figures.

The next morning, the sailors were up bright and breezy to pay their respects at the Raymond Victor Steed Memorial, erected to one of Newport’s own.

The monument remembers the second youngest person killed on active service with British and Commonwealth forces in World War 2.

Raymond Steed, a galley boy, was just 14 years and 207 days old when the merchant ship Empire Morn hit a mine of Morocco, which wrecked the stern – including the accommodation block. He died along with 20 of his shipmates.

More than 70 years later, the Merchant Navy Association and Arctic Convoy veterans (before being severely damaged off Africa, the Empire Morn came through several runs to Murmansk) gathered to pay their respects with HMS Severn’s crew at the monument, which lies in the shadow of the A46 road bridge spanning the Usk.

Sailors invited youth groups, Sea Cadets and school children to tour their ship and then spent another evening of hosting, once again a succession of VIPs, led by a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, the Mayor of Newport Cllr Matthew Evans, one of the city’s two MPs Jessica Morden, and a range of local veterans for a capability demonstration which culminated with the traditional ceremonial sunset.

Just for good measure, the footballers took on staff from the city council on the football pitch (a 5-5 draw), and finally, before resuming patrols, there were visits to Fairoak Nursery and showing pupils from Maindee School around the 1,800-tonne warship.

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