The Royal Navy warship had sailed from her base port, HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth on maritime policing patrol waved off by families braving wet weather.
HMS Monmouth, affectionately known as the Black Duke, has left the UK for nine months, deployed to the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and surrounding areas.
Among the many tasks HMS Monmouth is ready to conduct are maritime security to protect crucial trade routes, defence engagement with the UK’s partners in the gulf and illegal drug interdiction.
Commander Ian Feasey, the ship’s captain, said: “Sailing marks the culmination of 18 months of preparation and intensive training for the Black Duke. We leave Devonport ready for operations, and with a keen fighting spirit supported by the families we leave behind until December.
“We are under no illusion how critical Monmouth’s presence in the Gulf region will be in the face of an uncertain political climate, and we look forward to ensuring UK trade and regional stability throughout our time away.”
Sub Lieutenant Gordon Pickthallis on his first deployment. He said: “I’m proud to be sailing for my first deployment, not only because it’s something I’ve trained so long for but also because it’s clear how important this deployment is. Nine months is a long time to be away from my family, but they know how important this job is, and how unique of an opportunity this is for me to visit parts of the world most people rarely see; it’s what I signed up to do!”
HMS Monmouth has been preparing for this deployment over the last 6 months conducting two periods of operational sea training in UK waters and a short period of upkeep to ensure the ship is prepared materially and personally.
The ship has 220 personnel onboard working as one team to operate effectively as a lone unit or as part of a wider task force. In between making final preparations to deploy and setting sail, the ship’s company have been granted leave to spend time with families and loved ones and will get an opportunity mid-deployment to return to the UK for some well earned rest and relaxation.
HMS Monmouth named the Black Duke after James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth who was beheaded at Tower Hill in 1685. In reference to this heritage the Ship is unique in the Royal Navy as the only ship to fly a black flag and have a black as opposed to red name plate. HMS Monmouth has more battle honours than any other serving warship.
The current and 7th HMS Monmouth returned in 2013 from a seven month deployment to the Arabian Gulf deterring piracy and other illegal activities. She emerged from a large refit package in 2015, conducted two periods sea training to prepare her crew for deployment and sailed to Canada to take part in a NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise.