Sailors and Royal Marines from HMS Ocean escorted the Paralympic Torch Relay as the prelude to the London games spectacular opening ceremony.
The torch relay made its way through Greenwich under the watchful eye of Plymouth-based HMS Ocean’s crew as the sailors formed a route-lining party.
The torch was then ferried across the Thames by a flotilla of small boats in the shadow of the Royal Navy’s largest warship which is moored on the river as the security guard ship to the Paralympics, following the same duty for the Olympics.
Lieutenant Commander ‘Grassy’ Meadows, the officer in charge of HMS Ocean’s route-lining party, said: “To provide an escort for the Paralympic flame has been an honour and a privilege for both the ship and her crew. To be able to show our support for these amazing torchbearers and athletes in the heart of Maritime Greenwich is an inspiring experience.”
A 25-strong ceremonial contingent of sailors from HMS Ocean lined the route past the Cutty Sark, helping to give a distinctly nautical feel to the proceedings as the torch made its way to the Olympic Stadium in East London.
The Old Naval College in Greenwich also provided a stunning maritime backdrop as five torchbearers, all of whom are sight-impaired, carried the Paralympic Flame through the Royal Borough.
It was then transported across the Thames aboard the ceremonial riverboat MV Havengore, escorted by the patrol boat HMS Express, a Royal Marines Landing Craft from HMS Ocean and a motor launch from HMS President crewed by HMS Ocean’s sailors.
A few metres away the warship, a 22,700-ton amphibious helicopter carrier, kept watch over the flotilla as it made its way down the River Thames. The ship is moored off Greenwich acting as a support and logistics hub for some the 430 military security personnel working at Greenwich Park as well as providing helicopter support to the Metropolitan Police as part of the Paralympic security effort.