Two senior officials from the Philippine Embassy in London greeted the Type 45 destroyer in Portsmouth, thanking the 220 crew for their efforts across the devastated country.
The Philippines Consul General to the UK, Senen Mangalile, was first to greet the ship’s commanding officer, Commander Angus Essenhigh, as he came ashore to hundreds of cheering family members and friends.
The Consul General – who was accompanied by First Secretary and Consul Emma Sarne – presented Commander Essenhigh with a special floral garland as a tribute to his crew’s relief work after the typhoon struck in November.
Mr Mangalile said:
We look at the arrival of HMS Daring as a representation of the quick result of Britain in standing by the Philippines in this hour of need.
She was the first to be there and give comfort and aid to those who were affected, especially those who were unreachable at that time. We recognise the enormous value of what the ship’s company has done.
Daring was on exercise in the South China Sea when she was retasked to the Philippines. Operations officer Lieutenant Jason Hannigan said:
Within minutes of receiving our tasking the plan was being drawn together and within hours the ship was ready to provide humanitarian aid and support. It was a devastating situation but a thoroughly rewarding experience for the whole ship’s company.
Since leaving Portsmouth in May last year Daring has visited 21 different ports, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, supported anti-piracy operations in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and tracked ballistic targets during trials in the Pacific Ocean.
Commander Essenhigh said:
The ship’s company has achieved a huge amount in the 9 months we’ve been away and they are rightly proud of their achievements.
We have worked closely with many navies in support of shared global challenges such as counter-piracy, preventing conflict and protecting citizens overseas, but perhaps our most significant contribution was in the delivery of relief to the people of the Philippines following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.
We are now delighted to be reunited with our loved ones and look forward to a well-earned rest.
Daring started her transglobal deployment in the Caribbean, working with the Joint Interagency Task Force South to combat the trade of narcotics and illegal human traffic across the region. She then headed west to where no Type 45 had been before – the Panama Canal.
Following successful science and technology trials in the Pacific Ocean with the US Navy, Daring made for Australasia to exercise with an international fleet of 18 warships from 12 nations.
She also joined ships from around the world in Sydney Harbour to celebrate the Royal Australian Navy’s 100th birthday and was one of around 40 warships from 17 countries which gathered for a spectacular International Fleet Review.
After her relief efforts in the Philippines the ship continued east for more joint exercises – this time with the Japanese Navy and its brand new warship Teruzuki. And in the East China Sea Daring seized a rare opportunity to train with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.
The ship spent Christmas in Singapore and in January joined forces to share best practice with the Royal Thai Navy, Indonesian Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy.
For Able Seaman Amy Gocher it was her first deployment. She said:
This has been a million miles away from my previous job in a supermarket, but the attraction of foreign lands has kept homesickness at bay. Having crossed the equator and the international date line, the 21 ports we visited couldn’t have been more varied.
Helping people in the Philippines was a highlight and a real privilege. I supported boat operations and helped load them with essential stores and personnel so that people ashore could distribute aid.
The ship’s company felt immensely proud to be part of the humanitarian relief following the typhoon; it is one of the reasons that most of us join the Navy – to make a difference.