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Doff your caps to Diamond

08 October 2010

FROM the shape they’ve formed on the sprawling flight deck, it’s pretty obvious that this is the ship’s company of HMS Diamond.

They’re raising their caps to celebrate the new destroyer being formally handed over to the Royal Navy – hence the White Ensign rather than the Blue flying.

It, fittingly, fell to the RN’s Head of Destroyers, Cdre Steve Brunton, to formally accept Diamond – the third of the £1bn Type 45s to be handed over.

“With five ships in the water – one in service, two in MOD hands and two more on contractor trials – 2010 has been an extremely busy year on the Type 45 programme already and is still to see the last of the class, Duncan, launched down the slipway into the Clyde,” he said.

Diamond arrived in Portsmouth last month and found the naval base devoid of Type 45s as both her older sisters, Daring and Dauntless, were away on trials, the former with the Americans off the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, the latter successfully firing Sea Viper missiles off Scotland.

More trials now beckon for Diamond – challenging times, but ones her CO Cdr Ian Clarke believes will come through shining.

“Diamond performed magnificently during its early sea trials. It is an enormous responsibility to command a ship with Diamond's cutting edge,” he added.

"I am supported by a truly dedicated team and together we are keen to progress to the next stage, transforming Diamond into an effective front-line warship, ready for operations anywhere in the world.”

As for the sixth ship in the programme alluded to above, HMS Duncan will be launched at 3.47pm precisely on Monday (October 11) at BAE Systems’ Govan yard on the Clyde.

Around 10,000 people are expected to watch proceedings – local schoolchildren, shipwrights, Sea Cadets, representatives of Duncan’s affiliated cities Dundee and Belfast, and senior RN officers – which will also involve a Fleet Air Arm helicopter display and music from the Band of HM Royal Marines.

Marie Ibbotson, the wife of Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet Vice Admiral Richard Ibbotson, will perform the honours of launching Duncan as the ship’s sponsor.

Picture: LA(Phot) Kyle Heller, FRPU East

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