Diamond heads home in time for Christmas

HOMEWARD BOUND HMS Diamond is heading back to Portsmouth. Picture: LA (Phot) Ben Shread
HOMEWARD BOUND HMS Diamond is heading back to Portsmouth. Picture: LA (Phot) Ben Shread

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THEY will make it back home just in time for a bit of Christmas dinner.

The ship’s company of HMS Diamond are racing back to Portsmouth to see their loved ones after being stood down as the Royal Navy’s Gulf guardian.

The Type 45 destroyer has been on deployment for six months but is expected home on Friday, four days before Christmas Day.

The navy’s newest operational warship has spent most of her time away working with US carrier battle groups to put her air defence roles to the test.

Lieutenant Commander Mark Headley, HMS Diamond’s air warfare officer, said: ‘Operating with the carrier strike groups was among the most professionally satisfying work I have ever had in the Royal Navy.

‘The interaction has been of immense value not just for our future operations alongside our partner nations but also in preparation for our own carriers coming into service.’

HMS Diamond has been on her inaugural deployment as the Gulf guardian, a role which involves keeping an eye on the safety and security of merchant shipping in the region.

More than three million barrels of oil pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait every day, making it a vital route for supplies of energy to Britain.

HMS Diamond and her five sister ships were built to defend task groups from air attacks.

To put this role to the test the ship’s company worked alongside three mighty aircraft carriers of the US Navy – USS Enterprise, USS Dwight D Eisenhower and USS John C Stennis.

Taking the destroyer’s place is Devonport-based HMS Monmouth, a Type 23 frigate.

HMS Monmouth’s executive officer, Trish Kohn, said: ‘We have a serious job to do over the coming months, however we will of course be thinking of all our families and friends at home, particularly over the Christmas period.’