Hundreds of family members and friends lined the quayside in Portsmouth to welcome home the crew of warship HMS Dauntless after seven months away at sea.
The Type 45 destroyer has clocked up 30,000 miles (48,000km), visiting 18 countries across four continents, carrying out security patrols, counter-piracy and counter-drugs operations, and taking part in multinational exercises.
Starting with Portugal, HMS Dauntless went on to visit the Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola and South Africa.
Following a short routine patrol of the Falklands Islands, Dauntless headed up to the Caribbean where she visited Colombia, took part in a multinational exercise and was on standby to support potential humanitarian disaster relief operations during the peak of the hurricane season. She then spent time in the United States before heading home.
Her Commanding Officer, Captain Will Warrender, said:
As Dauntless returns from her first operational deployment I am immensely proud of what my ship’s company has achieved.
The first Type 45 deployment to the South Atlantic provided the setting for an exceptionally diverse deployment. It demonstrated what can be achieved over a wide area by one ship operating alone conducting a variety of operations and exercises.
During a series of exercises, Dauntless worked with 27 other navies and provided training for 600 foreign military personnel.
The ship also played host to almost 4,000 diplomatic guests on behalf of UK embassies and consulates in every port she visited. And she conducted several events in support of defence sales and UK trade and industry.
Captain Warrender added:
Dauntless has not only demonstrated the exceptional flexibility of a warship, but that a modern and highly sophisticated destroyer is much more than just a platform from which to fight.
Nineteen-year-old Able Seaman Warfare Specialist Ryan Skipper, Dauntless’s youngest crew member, said:
Visiting so many different countries has been great. We have been to some superb places and done so many different sorts of things; it has just been one massive experience from start to finish.
For my first trip away I think I have been really lucky with this one, seeing the world is one of the things that we all want to do whilst we’re in the Navy, so seeing four continents in just one go has been brilliant.