HMS Dragon’s advantage in the game of cat and mouse

MAKING WAVES Main image shows South African submarine SAS Manthatisi, in the foreground, and HMS Dragon during the exercise

MAKING WAVES Main image shows South African submarine SAS Manthatisi, in the foreground, and HMS Dragon during the exercise

Chris Purcell, who was onboard HMS Sheffield.
 Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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FROM submarine hunting to a smashing reception, sailors on board HMS Dragon have made their mark on the people of Cape Town.

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer played a three-day game of cat and mouse with a South African submarine in the latest stage of her deployment.

She then sailed into Cape Town for a chance to showcase the Royal Navy and take part in more training with the South African Navy.

The destroyer hosted an official reception for 350 people, held tours for interested groups and schoolchildren, served as a platform for a British industry day, opened her gangway to 2,5000 visitors and even helped a stranded mountain climber.

Some of the ship’s company took the chance to hike up Cape Town’s Table Mountain and encountered a climber who had injured his leg, so they gave him a piggyback down to safety.

Having made their mark on Cape Town, the ship has continued on to the next leg of her deployment before heading for home later this year.

Lieutenant Commander Josh Reilly said; ‘Dragon was a real attraction while alongside in Cape Town.

‘I was taken aback by how many people came on board.

‘The South Africans seemed genuinely impressed with the Type 45 and the questions were coming in thick and fast on the tours that I led around.’

Those on board relished the opportunity to take part in the submarine hunt – a bit of a novelty for a destroyer which is built to down enemy aircraft and missiles.

Dragon’s sailors used her bow sonar and Lynx helicopter to find the diesel submarine SAS Manthatisi, while the South African Navy was putting its own budding submarine commanders to the test beneath the waves.

‘It was a hard couple of days but we learned a lot from it,’ said Able Seaman Lewis ‘Buck’ Taylor.

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