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HMS Albion welcomed back into the fleet by royal guest

21 July 2017
Amphibious assault ship HMS Albion was welcomed back into the Royal Navy's fleet with a rededication ceremony attended by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

Ship's sponsor Princess Anne was welcomed on board the Plymouth-based warship today as the guest of honour for the ship’s rededication.

It marks the beginning of the next chapter in the ship’s life as it becomes the UK’s very high readiness amphibious assault ship. 

As is tradition, the Captain, officers, and crew of 350 Royal Marines and sailors formed up on parade in their best uniform, with swords and medals, in front of families, friends, affiliates as well as defence and industry VIPs.

Captain Tim Neild, HMS Albion's Commanding Officer, said: "Today is all about the coming together of Albion's broader family to celebrate our commitment and pride in the ship as we rededicate her to the service.

"The Royal Navy and the city of Plymouth have incredibly strong maritime links that we are proud to continue. Rededication is about refreshing that commitment, in particular to HMS Albion and the fleet in which we serve.

"The presence of The Princess Royal makes it extra special since she has been the ship’s sponsor since launching Albion at Barrow in 2001 so it has been a rare treat for us all to welcome Her Royal Highness back on board."

The Chaplain of the Fleet, The Venerable Ian Wheatley QHC Royal Navy, provided a blessing and prayed for the safety of the crew and all who sailed in Albion on future operations, with the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Plymouth completing the ceremony.

The Princess toured the ship and took the opportunity to meet the families as well as awarding long service and good conduct medals before joining the youngest member of the crew, 18-year-old Engineering Technician Kyle MacDonald, in the long-established tradition of cutting the specially-made rededication cake, prepared locally by the navy chefs at HMS Raleigh. 

After a £90m revamp in her home base which took more than two years and saw 110 major changes and improvements carried out, the assault ship left Devonport for four weeks of sea trials earlier this month.

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