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HMS Daring reappears in the shadow of the Rock

12 September 2016
More than four years after making her maiden entry to Gibraltar, HMS Daring has once again appeared in the shadow of the Rock.

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer stopped off in the sunny harbour as she prepares to head east of Suez on maritime security operations.

It was a busy day in the port as Daring met up with sister ship HMS Diamond and RFA Mounts Bay, who were also alongside.

But Gibraltar was not awash with battleship grey for long as Diamond sailed shortly after Daring’s arrival, heading off to join an operation in the Mediterranean aimed at countering arms trafficking. 

One of the main reasons I joined the Navy was to see the world so I was pretty excited about my first port visit with HMS Daring.

AB (Chef) Amy Hanlon

Mounts Bay meanwhile has been assisting with the removal of potential chemical weapons materials from Libya.

“Having worked incredibly hard over the last few days to get ourselves into the battle rhythm required for operations, it was a real reward for me and my ship’s company to sail into Gibraltar,” said Commander Philip Dennis, Daring’s Commanding Officer.

“It was great to see another Type 45 destroyer – HMS Diamond – and RFA Mounts Bay also on brief stops alongside as they continue, like us, to work tirelessly protecting Britain’s interests at sea.

“We now look forward to the next stages of our deployment, supporting international partners as they launch strikes against Daesh and ensuring maritime security in some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.”

HMS Daring made the most of the short time alongside to take on supplies, set up some sporting fixtures and fulfil the naval tradition of running the Rock.

The Governor of Gibraltar, His Excellency Lieutenant General Edward Davis, said: “As ever, Gibraltar is delighted to see a Royal Navy warship visit the Rock, particularly in the run-up to National Day, and particularly when it's a ship that is a world leader in terms of maritime air defence capability. I wish HMS Daring and its crew every good fortune during their vital mission to the Gulf.”

No visit to Gibraltar is complete without the Royal Navy’s traditional Rock race, from the dockyard to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Under cover of early morning darkness, the ship’s company gathered at the naval base entrance to begin the challenge, spurred on by Leading Physical Trainer Mat Phillips.

Following the twisting, steep, turns of the roads up to the top of the Rock, the sailors and Royal Marines gave it their all to pound the tarmac and complete the Royal Navy rite of passage as the lights of Gibraltar twinkled below.

Lance Corporal Shaun Reeves, 21, from Liverpool, was the first member of Daring’s ship’s company to reach the finish line, after 25 minutes and 58 seconds.

Hot on his heels was 21-year-old Lieutenant Jack Denniss, from Swansea, Daring’s Officer Commanding Royal Marines.

Lt Denniss chased L/Cpl Reeves to the finish line but was beaten by one second for a time of 25 minutes and 59 seconds.

“It was great to come first out of the ship’s company and beat my boss at the same time,” said L/Cpl Reeves.

In third place was Able Seaman (Writer) Philip Green with a time of 26 minutes and 4 seconds. Sergeant Dan Silman was fourth (29 minutes 23 seconds) and Lieutenant Commander Ben Kadinopoulos came fifth (29 minutes 37 seconds).

AB (Writer) Green, said: “The Rock race was an emotional experience but it was very satisfying once I had crossed the finish line overlooking the beautiful views of the sunrise over the harbour.

“I’m glad I was the first Royal Navy member of ship’s company to finish, I set out to be in the top five as I’ve been training for it for the last few months so I was well happy to have come third.

“Everyone did well to finish because it was an incredibly tough course.”

On wobbly legs, those who took part enjoyed a much more sedate saunter down to the bottom of the Rock, pausing to admire the scenery and take selfies with Gibraltar’s famous population of Barbary Apes.

Then it was back to the ship to make final preparations for sailing a few hours later.

“One of the main reasons I joined the Navy was to see the world so I was pretty excited about my first port visit with HMS Daring,” said AB (Chef) Amy Hanlon.

“I’ve never done anything like running the Rock before and I had an amazing time. We’ve worked really hard since leaving Portsmouth and it was nice to have a short bit of time ashore.”

HMS Daring left Gibraltar later the same day to continue her journey towards the Middle East. She sailed from Portsmouth on 2 September for the nine-month mission. 

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