Tayside and Central Scotland

Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose visits Angus namesake

HMS Montrose Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption The ship, pictured operating off the Syrian coast, has docked in Montrose and will stay until next week

A Royal Navy warship has returned to its adopted home town on the Angus coast for the first time since 2008.

HMS Montrose is taking a break from operations in the Baltic and has docked in the town which shares its name.

The public will get a chance to look around the Type 23 frigate on Thursday, and the crew are to take part in Armed Forces Day celebrations in Dundee.

After six days moored in Montrose harbour, the Royal Navy ship will head off for a year-long refit on Monday.

The frigate, which is designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare, recently took part in military exercises in the Baltic Sea alongside NATO allies, amid tension in the region over the situation in Ukraine.

Last Tuesday it tracked a Russian vessel, the Steregushchiy-class corvette RFS Soobrazitelny, in international waters off the Danish coast.

Earlier this year, it was deployed off the coast of Syria as part of the Danish-led Operation RECSYR, the UN mission tasked with escorting and protecting merchant ships containing the ingredients previously used by Syria to manufacture chemical weapons.

The Montrose was named after the Duke of Montrose rather than the town, and he is among the invited guests who will tour the ship on its first night in the harbour.

The crew of the warship were conferred the Freedom of Montrose in 2002, and are set to exercise it for only the second time on Wednesday.

Image copyright Royal Navy
Image caption The frigate (right) has been on operations in the Baltic alongside German vessels

The ship's company will march through Montrose with bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying, led by the band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Scotland, traversing the length of the High Street starting from the old swimming pool at 18:00.

Angus Provost Helen Oswald will take the salute from the passing troops alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Angus, Georgiana Osborne, Captain Chris Smith, the Naval regional commander for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Commander James Parkin, the commanding officer of the HMS Montrose.

The ship will be open to the public between 10:00 and 17:00 on Thursday, and the ship's company are also to take part in a march in Dundee on Saturday to celebrate Armed Forces Day.

20th anniversary

Commander Parkin said he was "delighted" about the visit, which had been "a long time in the planning".

He said: "I know that my ship's company is very much looking forward to the honour of exercising our Freedom of Angus and we are relishing the chance to welcome visitors on board from our affiliated area.

"The relationship we have with both Montrose and Angus is one which is very special and important to us."

HMS Montrose is celebrating 20 years in service with the Royal Navy, having been built on the Clyde in 1992 and commissioned in 1994.

She has a crew of about 185, and carries a heavily-armed Lynx helicopter, Sting Ray torpedoes, a vertical-launch Sea Wolf air-defence system, Harpoon missiles and a 4.5in gun, as well as the latest sonar, radar and communications systems.

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