HMS Daring has arrived in Australia – ready to take part in the country’s 100th birthday celebration of its Navy.
The Portsmouth-based destroyer is nearing the half-way point in a global deployment – the first by a Type 45 – which has seen her pass through the Panama Canal and visit Hawaii and a remote Pacific atoll to date.
Pictures: LA(Phot) Keith Morgan, HMS Daring, and LSIS Paul McCallum and ABIS Dove Smithett, RAN
ALONGSIDE the biggest warship Australia has ever built is the most advanced surface ship under the White Ensign.
HMS Daring has arrived in Williamstown, near Melbourne, berthed next to the new assault ship HMAS Canberra, as preparations begin for the 100th birthday of the Royal Australian Navy in a week’s time.
Daring – four months into a ‘world tour’ – will be Britain’s representative at the International Fleet Review in Sydney Harbour, joining 40 warships from 20 nations.
This is the inaugural visit by Daring to Australasia – indeed the inaugural visit by any Type 45 Down Under.
Daring RASes with the USNS Guadalupe off Hawaii
And in a deployment of firsts, Daring has become the first 45 through the Panama Canal, the first to visit Hawaii, and the first to visit the remote Pacific archipelago of the Marshall Islands.
In Hawaii, as well as helping train the US Navy’s destroyers for independent operations – something the RN has been doing for decades – Daring took part in a ‘drag race’ with the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Lake Erie, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Hopper, USS O’Kane and USS Chafee, and tanker USNS Guadalupe… and came second.
On a more poignant note, more than half the Portsmouth-based warship’s sailors paid their respects at one of the US Navy’s most hallowed sites.
Some 1,177 officers and men were killed when the battleship USS Arizona blew up in Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941 during the Japanese surprise attack.
Fr David Yates, Daring’s chaplain, led a service of remembrance, with Royal Marines Band Service Bugler Gill Forde performing the last post.
Continuing on to Kwajalein, in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, according to the Naval Historical Branch this was the first recorded call by any Royal Navy vessel to this small, idyllic location.
Forty sailors became temporary members of the local diving club to enjoy unique sights – including the wreck of wartime German cruiser Prinz Eugen, which sank in the atoll following nuclear tests in the 1950s.
Surg Lt Sophie Butterworth, the dive co-ordinator, said: “To be allowed to dive on the wreck of the Prinz Eugen was an amazing experience.
“It also gave us an opportunity to get up close with numerous sharks, turtles and stingrays.”
On to Australia now, where the RN has sent an official liaison officer to co-ordinate UK involvement in the Fleet Review, Lt Rob ‘Kerry’ Packer,
Daring alongside HMAS Canberra
“It is an honour for the UK to mark the occasion that is 100 years since the Fleet first entered Sydney Harbour in 1913,” he said.
“I am firmly of the belief that we should never forget our historical or traditional roots. The UK-Australian Naval bond goes back centuries.
“The International Fleet Review is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those who serve. To be part of the RAN centenary celebration is something the ship’s company will be telling their families about for years to come.”
See the October edition of Navy News for a double-page feature on Daring’s deployment.