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Lancaster once again echoes with life
14 October 2011

The messdecks and compartments of HMS Lancaster once again echo with Jackspeak as sailors move back aboard the frigate.

The Red Rose warship is in the latter stages of a major refit in Portsmouth Naval Base and, after a year working and living alongside the ship, sailors have moved back on to the refurbished Type 23.

Pictures: CPO Pete Nash, HMS Lancaster

HAVE mattress, will move back onboard…

RPO George Hedley hands bedding to shipmate PO(SC) Edd Daniels as life is breathed once more into Her Majesty’s Ship Lancaster.

Roughly half the ship’s company are now living aboard the Type 23 frigate as she passes another milestone in her lengthy revamp in Portsmouth Naval Base.

October 4 was the latest date chalked off by the sailors and engineers and shipwrights from BAE Systems as the messdecks and ‘hotel services’ were ready for use once more.

Of the 160 sailors currently drafted to the Red Rose frigate (she’ll have in excess of 180 when fully manned), around 90 are now living aboard.

Lancaster is one of the few ‘stag ships’ still left in the Fleet – although female officers serve aboard the frigate, the messdecks are men only.

And they are quite chuffed with the revamped accommodation, where new carpets, bulkheads, mess squares and numerous alterations have significantly improved inhabitability.

Marine and weapons engineers enjoy the refurbished surroundings of the 39-man mess

“I’m really impressed with the messdeck that I’ll be calling home for the next couple of years,” said 20-year-old ET David Daish, for whom Lancaster is his first ship. “All the lads have pulled together to make it a great place to relax when not at work.”

The move aboard marks the handover of security and safety to Lancaster’s Senior Naval Officer Lt Cdr Charlie Guy, who’s in charge until Cdr Steve Moorhouse takes over as Commanding Officer in November.

“I’m delighted with the refit progress which has allowed us to meet this major milestone of moving back on board our ship. An extraordinary amount of work – both from BAE Systems and the ship’s company – went into ensuring the ship was ready,” he added

Chefs Greg King and Anthony Walsh and LCH David Price at work in the refurbished galley

The Type 23 frigate – named after the Queen in her capacity as the Duke of Lancaster – is undergoing her fourth refit in her 21-year career under the White Ensign.

After ten months out of the water, the ship was ‘flooded up’ in her dry dock during the summer.

Work carried out on Lancaster includes:

■ go-fast paint has been applied to the hull (it’s harder for marine life to attach itself to the ship thus stopping drag and making the frigate more fuel efficient);

■ both shafts have been replaced – something which required precision engineering to ensure both were absolutely aligned;

■ a transom flap fitted at the stern (it also helps the ship cut through the water faster, acting as an ‘underwater spoiler’);

■ enhanced computer system, including the latest version of the MOD’s network used ashore, and upgrades to the weapons system;

■ four refurbished diesel generators installed to give more power.

■ and the ship’s dining halls and galley have received a thorough overhaul; the latter will be put through its paces for the first official function following the refurbishment with Trafalgar Night celebrations

The ship’s due to return to sea very early in the new year, to add to the 512,000 miles already on the clock. It will take in excess of a year to fully regenerate her; she’s not due to deploy on active service before spring 2013.