News story

HMS Diamond arrives home in time for Christmas

Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond has returned home to Portsmouth today following her maiden deployment to the Middle East.

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HMS Diamond as she approaches her berth [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Guy Pool, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Family members and loved ones wave at HMS Diamond as she approaches her berth

The new Type 45 destroyer sailed more than 31,000 miles (50,000 kilometres) on security and counter-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Oman and the Gulf.

HMS Diamond left Portsmouth in June shortly after launching the nation’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a ceremonial entry into the naval base.

After travelling through the Mediterranean she transited the Suez Canal before taking over from sister ship HMS Daring. Diamond then spent the following 5 months as part of the Combined Task Force, a 27-nation partnership promoting security in the area.

The ship worked with the French Carrier Group in the Mediterranean and three United States Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) in the Middle East, including the escort of the US carriers through the Strait of Hormuz.

Diamond’s fighter controllers exercised with the US Navy’s F18 Hornets and controlled F22 Raptor and F15 Strike Eagle aircraft from the United States Air Force. The ship’s Lynx aircraft also demonstrated its ability to conduct air intercepts for the task groups.

Diamond also exercised with the navies of Australia, Canada, France, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

While conducting counter-piracy operations the ship’s specialist embarked military force carried out assurance visits to local fishermen and traders and held boarding training with regional allies.

Commander Ian Clarke is greeted by his family
HMS Diamond's Commanding Officer, Commander Ian Clarke, is greeted by his wife, Joanne, and daughter Rebecca, aged 3 [Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Guy Pool, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]

Diamond’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ian Clarke, said:

We have achieved a tremendous amount this deployment and I pay tribute to my fantastic ship’s company.

We have provided reassurance in the Middle East, under the Combined Maritime Forces, worked closely with regional allies and three US CSGs and really pushed the air defence capability of these fantastic new destroyers.

Diamond also worked alongside other Royal Navy assets, such as minehunters based out of Bahrain and their support ship RFA Cardigan Bay. Helicopters of the Fleet Air Arm were also involved - with the Sea King Mark 7 of 854 Squadron making its first ever landing on a Type 45 - while Merlin aircraft also interacted with Diamond at sea.

As well as time at sea in the region, she has visited Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Gibraltar and Crete and the cities of Athens and Barcelona while on transit to and from the Middle East.

Petty Officer David Turner said:

It has been a busy few months but working with the other navies has been enjoyable, as have all the fascinating places we have visited. Although what we have achieved has been immensely rewarding, after six months away it is good to know that we are back in time to be reunited with our loved ones for Christmas.

Commodore The Hon Michael Cochrane, Commander Portsmouth Flotilla, added:

We welcome Diamond back after what has been an exciting and high-profile deployment for the ship’s company, whose work has seen them entering new fields of interest for the air defence community. I am sure they will enjoy their well-earned period of leave.

HMS Diamond is the third of the UK’s fleet of six Type 45 destroyers. She was launched in 2007, arrived in Portsmouth in the autumn of 2010 and was commissioned in the spring of 2011.

Published 21 December 2012