Chinese Navy officers get taste of British life during city visit

Chinese guests recieve a gift from Commodore Peter James Sparkes BSC(HONS), Royal Navy Commander, Portsmouth Flotilla, on behalf of the Royal Navy.

OFFICERS from the Chinese Navy were given a tour of HMS Iron Duke – and given a footballing lesson by their British counterparts.

A delegation of five officers were invited on board the Type 23 frigate as part of a wider five-day visit to the UK.

Commanding Officer of HMS Iron Duke, Commander Steven Banfield, MBE, presenting a gift to Chinese Captain HongWei Zhang

Another 11, all from the People’s Liberation Army (Navy), were challenged to a football match at HMS Temeraire, the home of Royal Navy sport.

The first delegation was welcomed onboard HMS Iron Duke by Commander of the Portsmouth Flotilla Commodore Peter Sparkes and the ship’s commanding officer Commander Steve Banfield.

Cdr Banfield, who gave the group a ship’s crest, said: ‘It has been a privilege to be able to host five members of the PLA(N) onboard HMS Iron Duke.

‘As mariners we have much in common and as navies we have many shared security challenges.

Both the Royal Navy and Chinese Navy teams together after their football match. The event was held at HMS Temeraire

‘It is always a pleasure to be able to discuss life in the Royal Navy and naval ethos as well as learning about life in the PLA(N).

‘Whilst onboard our visitors toured the ship, seeing how sailors in the Royal Navy live, eat and work.’

The delegation was from the Chinese 26th Counter Piracy Task Group and work on three warships, Huanggang 577, Yangzhou 578 and Gaoyouhu 966.

While one group was on the ship, the other was testing out their football skills.

In one half the Royal Navy players beat their Chinese counterparts 7-0, while in the second, with a mixed-up team, Team A won 9-3.

The PLA(N) were officially welcomed into London’s West India Dock and Royal Dock earlier this week.

It included a colourful ceremony complete with a Chinese dragon.

Task Group Commander, Rear Admiral Wang, said: ‘London is a city with a long history, unique customs and abundant vitality, and we come here in order to bring Chinese people and seek friendship with you.

‘During this visit we hope to carry out a variety of duties and functions with our two nations, as well as play sport with the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

‘We are also opening the warships to visitors and it’s hoped that many will come to look over the ships during their visit, and that the British people can get a deeper understanding of our nation’s navy.

‘Our sailors are also looking forward to sampling the unique culture of London and meeting the British people.’

More from Our region