ROYAL Navy warship HMS Chiddingfold will arrive in Dartmouth on Thursday morning as she proudly maintains the Royal Navy’s close ties with the town to undertake the privileged duty of Guardship for the Royal Regatta.
The Portsmouth-based ship will provide the backdrop for many of the events that take place over the final weekend of the regatta including the air shows and fireworks display.
The Hunt Class mine-hunter is maintaining the long tradition of the regatta Guardship and it is an opportunity the 45-strong ship’s company is really looking forward to.
HMS Chiddingfold – or Chid as she is affectionately known – will be open to the general public between 10am-noon, then 1.30pm-4pm on Saturday, and 10am-1pm on Sunday with regular transfers out to the ship on a first-come, first-served basis.
There will be the opportunity to tour the upper deck and see the host of equipment the crew use in their core roles of mine-hunting and diving as well as fire-fighting and close range weaponry.
Chid arrives in Dartmouth having just completed a demanding period of Operational Sea Training following a significant refit which has seen her propulsion machinery changed beyond recognition. Three Deltic Engines have made way for two modern Caterpillars and she is, in effect, ‘First of Class’ for a new breed of Hunt.
After completing her machinery trials earlier in the year she has been put through her war-fighting and mine-hunting paces in and around the waters of the Clyde, culminating in live underwater firings last week for the first time since she returned from the Arabian Gulf in 2011.
The Commanding Officer of HMS Chiddingfold, Lt Cdr Richard Rees, said: “After a tough period of operational training, the opportunity to be Guardship and continue the support the RN has provided to the regatta for decades is a real honour. I know that all on board Chid are very much looking forward to welcoming the people of Devon on board when the ship is open to visit.
“My ship’s company have worked incredibly hard to get the ship to this stage and it is a fantastic opportunity for them to be able show off their ship, while supporting such a prestigious event as the Dartmouth Royal Regatta.’