HMS Chiddingfold Sets Sail For Three-Year Gulf Deployment

The ship’s crew will use a new rotation system during the deployment.

The Royal Navy's HMS Chiddingfold has left her home port of Portsmouth for a three-year deployment to the Gulf.

The minehunter is deploying to Bahrain as part of Operation Kipion, helping to maintain shipping routes through the region.

HMS Chiddingfold and HMS Penzance, which left the UK last week, are taking over from sister ships HMS Blyth and HMS Ledbury on the mission.

Families and friends gathered, while two metres apart, to watch the ship set sail.

Usually, loved ones would be invited on board but they were not allowed to because of coronavirus measures. 

Engineering Technician Edward Graeme, weapons engineer, told Forces News: "It is going to be tough being away from them [family] for four months.

"But it's part of the job so rise to the challenge."

The four-month deployment is part of a new crew rotation system.

It is a change from the previous six-month deployment and has been designed to give sailors and their families a better work-life balance. 

HMS Chiddingfold crew on their way to Bahrain 100620 CREDIT BFBS.jpg
HMS Chiddingfold is deploying to Bahrain as part of Operation Kipion.

Fifty-one ratings and officers were on board HMS Chiddingfold as she embarked on her 5,000 nautical mile trip.

To last them their journey, the essentials include: 140 kilogrammes of washing powder, nearly 1,700 toilet rolls, 100 litres of washing up liquid and 500 sausages.

HMS Chiddingfold entered service in 1983 and is 9.8 metres wide at its widest point.

Leading Diver Michael Ball said her small size brings advantages as it means there is a "good atmosphere" on board and "everyone gets to know everyone".

As the ship departed, she was covered with flags to mark the Duke of Edinburgh's 99th birthday.