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HMS Portland visits Portland

HMS Portland visits Portland
Royal Navy sailors from the warship HMS Portland drew crowds to Portland in Dorset when they marched through the town centre.

The crew entertained on-lookers earlier this week as the ship visited to exercise the traditional  ‘Freedom of the Borough of Weymouth and Portland’ and to host her affiliates organisations and a group of prominent local dignitaries at sea.  

A guard of 24 sailors escorted the ceremonial White Ensign and Freedom Scroll along the seafront of Weymouth in front of excited crowds. 

The ship’s company were supported by the band of HM Royal Marines, Plymouth. The marching platoon was commanded by Sub Lieutenant Serena Neylen from Brighton.  

She said: “I have only been in the Navy for 3 years and it is a huge honour to be chosen to lead the ship’s company through Weymouth.  The public have been really welcoming and it’s great to see so many people here."

On Thursday HMS Portland took 54 affiliates to sea for an action-packed day which showcased her full range of capabilities.

Despite our busy programme we were determined to make the time to visit HMS Portland’s affiliated borough. My ship’s company have been looking forward to being able to exercise the Freedom of the Borough for some time.

Captain Paul Stroude, Commanding Officer HMS Portland

This included demonstrations in fire-fighting, gunnery and even a simulated air attack.  Amongst the attendees was the Mayor of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, Councillor Christine James, who inspected the guard and received the salute on Wednesday.  

She said: “Captain Stroude and his crew have put on a fantastic display for us and reinforced how lucky we are to be affiliated.  It’s amazing to see the ship at sea and all the sailors who looked so smart yesterday working hard in the operations room today.  I am deeply honoured to have been invited.

HMS Portland sailed from Portland to continue with trials before operations overseas. 

Commanding officer, Captain Paul Stroude, said: “Despite our busy programme we were determined to make the time to visit HMS Portland’s affiliated borough. My ship’s company have been looking forward to being able to exercise the Freedom of the Borough for some time.  

"It has been a wonderful couple of days and I am particularly pleased that we were able to bring so many people to sea and give them an insight into our operational capability.’’

HMS Portland commissioned in 2001 and is one of the Royal Navy’s state-of-the-art Type 23 Frigates, the backbone of today’s fleet.  

This year she has already been worked hard in UK waters, undergoing an intensive training programme and a major maintenance package in preparation for forthcoming operations.  

The Ship deploys overseas later this year for 9 months, and can expect to operate anywhere in the world protecting the nations interests.  

She could also be faced with varied non-combat tasks, ranging from searching suspect vessels, to providing humanitarian aid in the wake of a disaster, or conducting a non-combatant evacuation of British citizens from a global trouble spot.

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