Navy

HMS Monmouth Sailors Prepare For Middle East Deployment With HMS Montrose

The deployment will see sailors on escort duties in high-threat areas, as well as missions to stop illegal arms and drug smugglers. 

Sailors from HMS Monmouth are preparing to deploy to the Middle East with one of her sister ships as part of a new Navy strategy. 

The crew will become the new starboard watch of HMS Montrose, the fleet's forward-deployed ship at the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain. 

Speaking as sailors exercised their freedom of Monmouth, the ship's captain, Commander Will King, told Forces News: "A new pilot that's taking place is something called forward deployment - our ship's company are the first to do this.

"We'll be taking the sister ship to Monmouth, HMS Montrose, who will be permanently stationed in Bahrain in the Middle East and as such, the two crews will be swapping, doing four months on and fours months off.

"This is a new pilot for a model that the Navy might adopt in the future." 

HMS Montrose at sea
The crew will become the new starboard watch of HMS Montrose (Picture: MOD).

HMS Monmouth crews will only be the second watch rotation to take on the duty. 

The Type 23 frigate left Devonport in October to spend the next three years strategically based in the Middle East region. 

Over the coming months, the new starboard watch can expect escort duties in high-threat areas such as Yemen, as well as missions to stop illegal arms and drug smugglers. 

"We fly out, which is unusual for a whole ship company, usually you sail with the ship all the way out to the Gulf," Leading Seaman Kieran Dixon explained. 

"We'll be doing chokepoint transits, looking after some minehunters going through that region back to the UK and then back out to the Gulf again."

HMS Monmouth sailors parade through Monmouth
HMS Monmouth sailors parade through Monmouth.

It may be some time before a crew from HMS Monmouth march through their affiliated town again, as the ship is due to enter a preparation stage for maintenance. 

Hundreds of people watched the march through the Welsh town, which was led by The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.