Nearly three years in charge of HMS Daring came to an end on a Bahrain beach on the back of a camel for Cdr Phil Dennis.
Rather than a sports car or vintage vehicle to whisk him away from his ship for a traditional send-off, his ship’s company arranged for a camel to carry the officer away.
Pictures: Tony Haile, ASRY
IF YOU only see one photograph of a naval officer in full dress uniform riding a brightly-decorated camel on a beach in Bahrain today… make it this one.
Cdr Phil Dennis rides off into the, er, mid-day heat, bringing to an end his tenure in command of HMS Daring.
The Type 45 destroyer is at the end of her mid-deployment break, when essential maintenance is carried out to ensure the ship can continue air defence operations in the Middle East into the summer.
The ship’s company and team at ASRY – the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard – where the work was carried out on the Portsmouth-based warship, decided a send-off with a desert theme would be just the ticket for Cdr Dennis, who took the helm of Daring in May 2014.
So after a clear lower deck to address the 200 men and women under his wing, Cdr Dennis found the dromedary waiting for him.
“It has been my privilege to have been the captain of HMS Daring for well
over two and a half years,” Cdr Dennis said. “I hope that you are as proud of your efforts as I am of you."
The ship’s company formed a ‘gauntlet of honour’ on the beach just outside the ASRY works, applauding Cdr Dennis as his camel was guided along the sand by an experienced local handler.
Cdr Marcus Hember, who’s previously been in charge of Daring’s younger sister HMS Diamond, is now in charge of D32 where, so the (unofficial) slogan goes, “dreams come true”.