THE captain of HMS Chiddingfold has told how he felt the ‘weight of all the ship’s other commanding officers on his shoulders’ during his first time leading a warship.
Lieutenant Commander David Louis was the first man off the ship having been its commander during his crew’s eight month stint in the Gulf.
He said: ‘This was my first time as a commanding officer. It’s been fantastic.
‘You feel the weight of all the commanding officers that have been before you in the whole of the navy over hundreds of years. It guides you and it excites you at the same time.
‘It’s nothing less than an utter privilege to be a commanding officer of a ship.’
Lt Cdr Louis, who was greeted by his wife Rebecca and children Martha, five, and Sebastian, three, praised his crew for their ‘remarkable efforts’ in ‘challenging conditions’.
As well as keeping the ship running, the crew had to contend with scorching weather and monsoons which battered their minehunter.
Lt Cdr Louis added being the man to guide her home after three years was a huge honour.
‘She has had six careful owners since she left Portsmouth and I’m the lucky guy who got to drive her home. It means a lot.’