Royal Naval warship HMS Argyll has completed a successful five-day visit to the US to mark celebrations marking the 200th birthday of the US National Anthem and mark the bicentenary of the War of 1812.
After HMS Argyll’s spectacular entry into Baltimore harbour, with an impressive 21-gun salute, her crew proudly showed off their ship to the crowds of people that visited the Plymouth-based frigate. The sailors took a full part in the celebrations including ceremonies, demonstrations, military events and sporting fixtures – proving they are from a world class navy.
HMS Argyll’s ceremonial guard of sailors represented the Royal Navy at various events across the city, in front of thousands of onlookers, including a wide range of VIPs from General Colin Powell, former US secretary of State, to Hannah Brewer, a finalist in Miss Teen USA.
The ship demonstrated the capabilities of a globally deployed Royal Navy frigate to thousands of visitors. HMS Argyll also staged a formal reception and capability demonstration for Admiral Michelle Howard, 38th Vice Chief of US Naval Operations, and Patrick Davies, Deputy Director of Missions in the British Embassy.
In their down-time the crew has been able to socialise with other sailors from the host nation and its many friends and allies around the world who gathered in the port for the event. They also enjoyed many of the ‘Star Spangled Spectacular’ events including; firework displays, concerts, air shows, tall ships and sporting events.
Engineering Technician Owain Jones, 18, said: “I only joined the Royal Navy a little over a year ago and already I have travelled to 11 different countries. Coming to Baltimore and experiencing such an event has been an experience I will never forget.”
In the case of the national anthem celebrations, they honour the work of Francis Scott Key who witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1812 by the Royal Navy in the Chesapeake Bay and turned his impressions into a poem – The Defence of Fort McHenry.
It was subsequently set to music – although as the Star-Spangled Banner it only became the US National Anthem officially in 1931. By taking part in the event HMS Argyll is therefore, also marking almost 200 years of peace between the UK and the US – long term key allies and partners.
HMS Argyll has spent much of the summer working hand-in-hand with US forces on counter-drugs patrols in the Caribbean, notably seizing £25m ($41m US) of drugs and arrested five suspected smugglers.
The ship will remain in the Caribbean until December 2014, resuming her counter-narcotic operations as well as responding to calls for assistance in the wake of any natural disasters as the hurricane season is now upon the region.