TV presenter filming Arctic Convoys documentary

FILMING Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson on board Portsmouth-based warship HMS Westminster
FILMING Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson on board Portsmouth-based warship HMS Westminster

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TOP Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is used to pulling off high-speed manoeuvres.

But this time he had to take the passenger seat as sailors on board a Portsmouth-based frigate took him for a spin in their ship.

The television star joined HMS Westminster as part of a documentary he is filming on the Arctic Convoys.

To get a taste of life on board a warship, he joined the Type 23 frigate as it carried out manoeuvres off the coast of Norway.

He was filming a documentary on the wartime Arctic Convoys mission, during which about 3,000 sailors and merchant seaman were killed delivering vital supplies to the Soviet Union between 1941 and 1945.

Their actions helped tip the balance against the Nazis, with Winston Churchill acknowledging it was the ‘worst journey in the world’.

As previously reported in The News, a long and hard-fought campaign for a medal for Arctic Convoy veterans was won last year.

The documentary producer Dan Telford said: ‘The HMS Westminster guys were fantastic. It couldn’t have been better.

‘Jeremy was very impressed with the ship and her crew.’

Jeremy’s film crew sailed from the UK with the frigate to capture three days of scenes including day and night flying, live firings, torpedo-loading drills and torpedo countermeasures.

They also mocked up a machinery fire to emulate a torpedo hit and show how today’s Royal Navy might deal with the threats the men of the Second World War faced on the convoys.

On returning to the UK, Jeremy was quick to post a shot from his trip on the warship on Twitter, describing sailing up the fjords on a Type 23 frigate as ‘the best way to arrive in Norway’.

A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: ‘Jeremy flew on board Westminster near Stavanger by the ship’s Lynx helicopter, which he was quite taken with and had it pegged for top spot on the Top Gear cool wall.

‘The Top Gear presenter got a feel for the dreadful weather conditions the Arctic heroes faced with sub-zero temperatures, sea state 8, waves of nine metres and more, and biting winds of up to 60mph.

‘The ship also conducted high-speed manoeuvres simulating the countermeasures of 1940.’

With Clarkson and his film crew gone, HMS Westminster resumed her role as the country’s submarine hunter.

She has been playing out the role of a target for submarine captains undergoing the International Submarine Commanders’ Course.