The crew of the Royal Navy warship HMS Montrose thanked their families for supporting them ahead of a deployment with an action-packed day at sea.
The sailors hosted more than 120 of their relatives and friends on board off the South west coast in recognition of the backing they get on the home-front now and during the future patrol.
The support of families and friends back home are vital to the effectiveness of Royal Navy ships at sea both in terms of morale and practically, looking after children and homes.
In recognition of how important their role is families were treated to the rare chance to see a gunfire salute, fire-fighting exercise, a children’s magic show and a tour of the ship to see where sailors work, eat, sleep and relax at sea.
HMS Montrose sailed from Devonport to the sound of Ian Kempsall on the bagpipes. The special guests then enjoyed an exchange of gunfire with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, based in The Citadel on Plymouth Hoe – a fitting tribute to the ship’s affiliated regiment as the soldiers returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. The ship’s salute was returned with a salvo from the Commando Gunners’ 105mm light guns.
HMS Montrose is due to deploy to the South Atlantic for seven months this autumn and will be away over Christmas.
Lieutenant Commander Mark Reynolds, HMS Montrose’s Marine Engineer Officer said: “It is sometimes hard for our families to visualise where we live and what we do at sea – as we are about to head off for a long deployment this has been a fantastic opportunity to show them exactly what life is like in Montrose.”
His wife Amber added: “It has been a great day – although Mark has been away many times before, I have now had the opportunity to have a good look around Montrose and meet the people he will be deploying with, which makes a huge difference.”
The Naval Personnel and Family Services organisation attended on board to provide information on the vital support they can offer to those at home while the ship is away.