THE smallest ships in the Navy’s fleet have won a top award for punching above their weight in the UK and overseas.
The 14 vessels that make up the First Patrol Boat Squadron have received the Firmin Sword of Peace.
The prize is awarded to British armed forces units for activities beyond their normal role.
It was the squadron’s work during a demanding 2012 that earned the award.
HMS Example, Explorer, Ranger and Trumpeter excelled during a summer deployment to the Baltic – the longest operation to date by such vessels – and Ranger and Trumpeter also provided an Honour Guard for the Queen’s diamond jubilee pageant on the Thames.
To round off an unprecedented year, six ships provided security for the Olympics and Paralympics in London and Weymouth – HMS Puncher, Blazer, Express, Tracker, Raider and Exploit.
The tasks were carried out in addition to the squadron’s traditional role of providing sea training to a wide spectrum of high-calibre undergraduates.
The citation states: ‘The overseas deployment reawakened historic ties with Baltic ports, in some cases not visited by the RN since the Second World War, and provided a diplomatic presence in Germany, Poland, Russia and the Baltic states.
‘In all the 20m ships visited 33 ports in 11 countries and steamed 4,300 nautical miles in 42 days.’