HMS Argyll honoured by train company

A Royal Navy warship has been honoured by a commercial train company which is naming a locomotive after Plymouth-based HMS Argyll.

A naming ceremony took place at HM Naval Base Devonport yesterday when the GB Railfreight engine was named ‘Argyll’ and had a newly-attached ship’s crest unveiled with the crew present.

The naming marks the beginning of a new partnership between the Royal Navy and the company which started at sea.

The warship’s name will now be seen throughout the country, well away from the sea.

We were treated to such kindness and welcomed so much by her commander and crew that I asked the captain if I could name one of our GB Railfreight Locomotives after HMS Argyll in tribute to her crew.

Bob Tiller, GB Railfreight

The ship showed off its drills and gun firing and emergency exercises and guests were able to talk to crew members about their lives at sea and their careers.

The naming of GB Railfreight’s Locomotive 66 775 rekindles a tradition from the heydays of the 1900s railways, when it was common practice to name steam locomotives after notable Royal Navy warships of the day.

Commander Toby Shaughnessy, HMS Argyll’s captain said: “The act of naming a Locomotive after a warship is not a new one, but I don’t recall it being practised in modern times.

“I am very grateful to GB Railfreight for bestowing this honour upon HMS Argyll in recognition of the professionalism and dedication of my team and am very proud that our ships name will now be carried across the country.

“I believe that this event is a fantastic opportunity to rekindle an old tradition across two key tenets of national importance. 

“Whilst this day stands out in particular for us and our new affiliates, I hope it will mark the beginning of a wider relationship between our Royal Navy and the wider country at large as I hope they see more of us proudly affiliated across the national rail networks on many more locomotives.”

The event originated when a company director was on board off the South West of England on HMS Argyll with affiliated organisations as guests of the captain to experience a day in the life of a warship and crew.

He decided on the naming in honour of the dedication and service of the modern Royal Navy. 

Bob Tiller, Engineering Director, GB Railfreight Ltd, said: “I was lucky enough to be on board HMS Argyll during some work up trials as a quest of Commander Shaughnessy as part of an affiliated group.  

“Two of our train drivers, Clive Coulis and Martin Clemis joined me.   We sailed from Plymouth and undertook various exercises with the crew including live firing, damage-control, emergency fire and dummy man overboard retrieval.

“We were treated to such kindness and welcomed so much by her commander and crew that I asked the captain if I could name one of our GB Railfreight Locomotives after HMS Argyll in tribute to her crew. 

“This, I am pleased to say, was warmly accepted.

“We were to say the least overwhelmed with how the crew of HMS Argyll and worked together as a team and we at GB Railfreight took back with us a lot of thought and inspiration.’’

The company has repainted Class 66 loco - 66 775, into a special livery for the naming. The loco cannot be named HMS Argyll – only a Royal Navy warship can bear the title HMS.

Following the ceremony, guests were given a guided tour of the warship in the naval base.