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Red letter day for Black Duke as HMS Monmouth visits her hometown

HMS Monmouth visits South Wales
22 March 2016
The crew of frigate HMS Monmouth were applauded through the streets of the historic county town which shares their ship’s name as they paid their first visit in three years.

The sailors, granted the Freedom of Monmouth more than a decade ago, paraded through the heart of the town before handing over charity donation’s to the local mayor during a five-day visit to Wales.

Townsfolk turned out in force to applaud the ship’s company through the streets on the very last day of winter.

Civic leaders in the small county town (pop. 10,500) granted the ship’s company their highest honour back in 2004.

Deployments, commitments and refits (Monmouth came out of a massive overhaul last year) means chances to exercise their freedom of the town – marching through the streets bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying – have been relatively few.

Our Servicemen and women are proud to be part of this historical link, and appreciate all the support they receive in Monmouth

Commander Philip Tilden, Commanding Officer HMS Monmouth

“We are immensely proud to be able to execute our Freedom of Monmouth,” the frigate’s Commanding Officer, Commander Philip Tilden told townsfolk.

“Our Servicemen and women are proud to be part of this historical link, and appreciate all the support they receive in Monmouth.”

His sailors seized the opportunity presented by the rare visit to hand over a (rather large) cheque for £640 to Mayor Councillor Graham Pritchard’s appeal – the fruits of fund-raising activities on board.

The visit to the county town was the highlight of the frigate’s five-day visit to Wales – which should have been six days; the ship got alongside in Cardiff 24 hours later than planned due to circumstances beyond her control, which meant an open day for the general public had to be cancelled.

Hosting invitees however – ranging from Royal Naval Association veterans, school children and Sea Cadets up to affiliates and civic dignitaries – went on as planned.

The frigate leaves Cardiff's Britannia Dock on Thursday to sail back to Plymouth for Easter leave, a spot of maintenance and then the thorough test that is operational sea training which prepares ship and ship’s company.

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