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HMS Monmouth’s successful Wales visit

HMS Monmouth’s successful Wales visit
30 March 2016
HMS Monmouth has concluded a successful visit to Cardiff to conduct a visit to her home town of Monmouth and engage with her many affiliated organisations.

The Type 23 frigate berthed alongside Britannia Quay adjacent to the Senedd, where visitors were free to come and view the ship at close quarters.

The ship celebrated her links with Monmouth by taking part in the Freedom Parade on the streets with personnel from 815 Squadron formed up in the town of Monmouth. 

Marching in time-honoured fashion with bayonets fixed and colours flying through the busy street in Monmouth, the sailors, led by the band of the Royal Marines Plymouth, marched to be inspected by Monmouth’s Mayor, Graham Pritchard; Commodore Toby Elliott, Chief Executive of the charity Combat Street; Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Tuggey, High Sheriff for Gwent; Nick Ramsey, Assembly Member for Monmouth, and; David Davies, Monmouth MP. 

We took great pride in taking part in the freedom of the city ceremony in Monmouth and were humbled by the fantastic reception the town so close to my home had to offer.

Engineering Technician Scott Yeoman-Keyes

Ship’s captain, Commander Phil Tilden said:”It’s a very special event when a ship’s company exercises the freedom of an affiliated town, but for us being in Monmouth makes us feel especially proud because of our long historic links and the warm welcome that we always receive here.”

Commanding Officer of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia), Lieutenant Colonel Neil Witcombe, invited the crew for a reception during which HMS Monmouth Captain, Commander Phil Tilden presented the Mayor with a cheque for £640 for his charities, which includes the British Heart Foundation.

The money had been raised by sailors and officers of the ship over the past month from events such as Ride the Rebellion, where a team from HMS Monmouth cycled the 212 mile route which James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth, had taken in 1685 in his failed attempt to overthrow King Charles II and it was this that led to him being known as ‘The Black Duke’. 

The ship is unique in the Royal Navy as in reference to the heritage of the name “The Black Duke” the modern-day frigate flies a black flag and has black, rather than the traditional red, name plates.

Lieutenant Commander Adam Coates, who grew up just a few miles from Monmouth in the nearby Royal Forest of Dean said: “It’s always a great honour to be involved in a Freedom parade, but especially for me returning so close to home.”

During the days in the docks visitors included, schools, Scouts, cadets and potential recruits as well as the ship’s rugby team returning to Monmouth for a fixture against Monmouth RFC.

Engineering Technician Scott Yeoman-Keyes said: “‘It has been a privilege to visit my home city of Cardiff with the Royal Navy on board HMS Monmouth.

“For me and the crew this visit marks the end of a very busy period at sea in which we have been away for a long time conducting various exercises in many waters under arduous conditions.

“We took great pride in taking part in the freedom of the city ceremony in Monmouth and were humbled by the fantastic reception the town so close to my home had to offer.

“We have all enjoyed our time in Cardiff and I hope to return soon with the Royal Navy in the near future.”

The ship now returns to Plymouth to conduct routine maintenance ahead of intensive operational training in the summer. 

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