Montrose at Easter Island with Moai statue
Navy

Christmas At Easter: Navy Crew Visits Pacific Island

HMS Montrose's visit is thought to be the first time a British warship has been to the Chilean territory in the 21st century.

Montrose at Easter Island with Moai statue

Easter Island is 2,500 miles off the west coast of South America (Picture: Royal Navy).

A Royal Navy crew has spent the festive season on the remote Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.

HMS Montrose's visit is thought to be the first time in the 21st century that a British warship has been to the Chilean territory, which is home to fewer than 8,000 people.

The frigate arrived on Boxing Day, following a visit to Chile earlier in the month when sailors joined Princess Anne in 200th birthday celebrations of the South American nation’s navy.

Montrose spent Christmas Eve and Day at sea, marking the festive period with a nativity performance on deck and a Christmas midnight service.

The ship's chaplain, the Reverend Peter Dixon said: “For many of us, this was our first Christmas away from home, let alone our first Christmas on board a warship."

Montrose crew at Easter Island
The ship's crew made the visit after celebrating Christmas on board Montrose (Picture: Royal Navy).

The warship arrived off Easter Island the next day, with all on board given the chance to go ashore and see first the ancient statues, known as Moai, at Ahu Tongariki, then the quarry from which the stone came at Rano Raraki.

"This was truly an amazing unique time and one of those Christmases I will remember for the rest of my life," said Engineering Technician (Weapons Engineering) Oli Dymott.

"It was definitely a career-defining experience."

Commanding Officer Commander Conor O’Neill said: "We know that our families are working hard at home keeping things going whilst we are way, and we are all grateful for the support they and our friends give us, especially during the festive period."

Montrose has now resumed her crossing of the Pacific, ultimately bound for Bahrain where she’ll be permanently based for three years as part of the UK’s commitment to the security of the Middle East.