HMS Daring has made a visit to the Indian port of Mumbai, becoming the first Type 45 to visit the country.
As she has done through much of her deployment east of Suez, Daring served as the ‘exhibition hall’ for British firms to display their technology and wares to the Indian market - one of the world’s fastest growing economies - at a Defence and Security Industry Day.
The Portsmouth-based warship spent four days in Mumbai - a visit which was a mixture of flying the flag for the UK, Royal Navy and British industry, and offering support and help to community projects in the area.
The destroyer hosted an evening reception which attracted over 170 guests, including Indian Navy officers, British defence industry representatives, and British High Commissioner Sir James Bevan. They were given tours of the ship and witnessed the historic Ceremonial Sunset with Honour Guard.
It was what the sailors did away from their ship, however, which will live long in the memories of their Mumbai stay.
Co-ordinated by the ship’s chaplain, the Reverend Charles Bruzon, 35 volunteers made their way to Pratiksha Nagar BMC School, in the north of the city, with the aim of providing much-needed practical assistance. Their tasks included painting classrooms and school railings and repairing and installing playground equipment.
The latter required the efforts of Daring’s carpenter, Petty Officer Ian Butcher, who worked late into the evening knocking up swings, seesaw seats and other necessary bits and bobs, in order to bring the schoolchildren’s dreams to life.
A sports day was also organised for almost 100 of the schoolchildren, ably led by the ship’s Leading Physical Trainer Si Radford, who also managed to procure some replica England football shirts, much to the children’s delight. Finally, and to cap a memorable day, a picnic was provided by chef Stuart Mills.
If all that effort wasn’t enough, virtually the entire ship’s company dug deep to generously finance a health programme and the purchase of a much-needed water purifier, ensuring safe and clean drinking water for the whole school:
It was good to see Daring keeping up and maintaining what has become a fine tradition in deployed Royal Navy ships - that of coming to the aid of those in need through the organisation of an outreach project,” said fighter controller Lieutenant Thomas Gell.
Whilst the school undoubtedly benefited from the sailors’ hard graft, all who participated from the ship were enriched in the knowledge that they had improved the lives of others, an experience that will be remembered for a long time to come.
The final day of Daring’s time in Mumbai saw 30 of the children and their teachers visit the ship - some of the youngsters had never seen the sea, let alone a warship.
That last day alongside also saw an invitation extended to the Commanding Officer, Captain Guy Robinson, and 30 of his ship’s company for an evening reception aboard their host Indian warship, INS Trishul:
The bond between seafarers is always strong, but especially so between those of our two navies,” said Captain Robinson.
It is an honour to see many of the Royal Navy’s traditions still followed in the modern and capable Indian Navy.
Back at sea, Daring is drawing towards the end of her maiden deployment; she’ll soon hand over responsibilities in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean to her sister ship HMS Diamond, also on her first tour of duty.
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