The Royal Navy's eight Sandown Class Minehunters have found a new home at HM Naval Base Clyde in Scotland. And as befits a new Scottish squadron, the ships will proudly display a Lion Rampant on their funnels.
Scotland’s new Flag Officer, Rear Admiral Philip Willcocks, said:
"They have served with distinction in every Royal Navy theatre of operations around the globe, going in first to clear hostile waters before the bigger ships follow.
"What they do is tremendously courageous and extremely technical but the modern Navy couldn’t do without them. These ships are incredibly relevant to modern joint operations. Today’s wars are fought around coastlines and coastlines are where you find mines.
"These ships are designed to go in and take them out. They might not be the biggest ships in the Royal Navy but they certainly do a fantastic job.
"The thing to remember about mines is that they are cheap to produce and can be very destructive. Countries that could never dream of building an aircraft carrier can buy countless numbers of mines. These ships represent our own Navy’s front line."
The squadron will be known as MCM1 (Mine Counter Measures 1), replacing the current MCM3. A previous Squadron was based at Rosyth before being transferred to Portsmouth 11 years ago. Now the squadron is returning home.
The squadron has been established in Scotland because the west coast provides some of the best coastal waters in the world.
Commander Chris Davies, the Faslane based commander of MCM3, will assume command of MCM1. He said:
"These are eight surface ships of the highest quality and they do a superb job in protecting British maritime interests worldwide. That they are to be based at Faslane is an exciting prospect and I am looking forward to commanding these top class vessels and top class people."
The eight ships to be based at HM Naval Base Clyde are: Walney, Penzance, Pembroke, Grimsby, Bangor, Blyth, Ramsey and Shoreham.