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Essex joins the HMS Venturer family – County is affiliated with new frigate

26 February 2024
For the first time in 30 years the people of Essex have a ship they can call their own as the Royal Navy’s new frigate HMS Venturer is bound with the county.

Civic leaders have agreed to be affiliated with the Type 31 frigate – currently under construction in Scotland – linking the warship with more than 1.8m people in East Anglia from Chigwell to Colchester, Braintree to Basildon.

All warships enjoy affiliations with towns, cities or boroughs. Occasionally, that extends to entire counties such as current frigates HMS Kent and Sutherland, each linked with the county of the same name.

The link with Essex was born from initial inquiries from community leaders in Southend-on-Sea – a link which has been expanded to the wider county.
It joins the Worship Company of Ironmongers which is already affiliated with the new warship.

“It is wonderful that HMS Venturer is affiliated with the County of Essex,” said Commander Chris Cozens, the frigate’s Senior Naval Officer.

“The rich naval and maritime history combined with its modern outlook is a fitting choice for a ‘Next Generation Frigate’. We both share a focus on community outreach, linking the sea to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and industry to benefit our national prosperity.”

It is wonderful that HMS Venturer is affiliated with the County of Essex.

Commander Chris Cozens

Frigate HMS Ashanti was affiliated with Southend until she ended active duties around 1980 and in the ’80s and 1990s minesweeper HMS Orwell enjoyed ties with Harwich, which served as a key naval base through both world wars… and through which many boy sailors passed on their way to training across the water at HMS Ganges in Shotley Gate (which is in Suffolk, but thanks to its imposing mast still very visible from Essex).

 “I am proud to call HMS Venturer part of Essex as it adds a new chapter to our county’s deep naval history,” said Essex County Council Leader Councillor Kevin Bentley.

“With the threats the UK is facing around the globe, it is more important than ever that we strengthen our ties with the Royal Navy and show our support for its brave Servicemen and women.

“We look forward to seeing HMS Venturer embark on her maiden voyage.”

Venturer is the first of five Inspiration-class frigates being built for the Navy on the Forth by Babcock – all taking their names from previous warships whose deeds echo down the generations.

In Venturer’s case, she’s named after a WW2 submarine which made history as the first sub to sink another sub while both were submerged.

Her modern-day successor will perform duties around the globe for a quarter of a century or more when she enters service later this decade.

With a crew of 115 sailors – but capacity for nearly another 70 personnel, such as Royal Marines raiding/boarding teams or drone/crewless system operators, depending on the mission – Venturer and her four sisters are designed for wide-ranging operations from operating independently on maritime security patrols, escorting the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier strike groups to operating side-by-side with close partners.

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