SAILORS on board HMS Duncan are working hard to get their new ship ready for her maiden deployment.
Over the past few weeks, the Royal Navy’s newest warship has been testing her gunnery systems off the coast of Dorset for the first time.
Portsmouth-based HMS Duncan made the best use of the ranges off Weymouth, run by 148 Battery Royal Artillery, an Army unit which helps target the guns of the fleet in times of war.
Commander James Stride, the commanding officer of HMS Duncan, said: ‘They were very impressed by the ship’s display of naval gunfire support, stating it was the best they had seen in years.
‘Not bad for Duncan’s first effort under the White Ensign.’
‘By proving that her various guns work as they were designed to do, Duncan will now be able to go on to support operations worldwide by providing naval gunfire support to forces ashore, engaging surface targets that pose a threat, and play a part in defending the ship from air attack.’
After proving her weapons are up to the task, HMS Duncan went on to visit the Netherlands, the ship’s first foreign visit.
Sailors spend eight days in the country, supporting defence trade shows in Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Berthed only 10 minutes away from Amsterdam’s city centre, the ship’s company made the most of the sights and culture.
More than 40 sailors took the opportunity to take part in a 15km race called the Zevenheuvelenloop, and raised money for the ship’s affiliated charities.
Chief Petty Officer Engineering Technician (Weapon Engineering) Richard Mckinstray said: ‘The run was a fantastic achievement which started with one person and grew to become 20 per cent of the ship’s company.
‘Everybody had a great day.’
A visit was also arranged to the Jonkerbos Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, where they laid a wreath in memory of the 1,600 Commonwealth servicemen laid to rest there.
CPO Mckinstray added: ‘The visit to the war graves was very sobering.
‘It brought home the true cost of war with so many British and Commonwealth graves here in the Netherlands.’