HMS St Albans takes starring role in Estonia

HMS St Albans was the star of the show in Tallinn as the Royal Navy’s decisive impact on the war for Estonian independence was marked.

A Royal Navy fleet travelled to the Baltic Sea in December 1918 – just a month after the end of the First World War – to halt Soviet advances into nations in the region.

The British warships helped to stop their progress, destroying a vital bridge and delivering vital supplies, with the Soviet army camped just 21 miles outside of capital Tallinn.

HMS Cardiff – a light cruiser built during the First World War involved in the campaign – entered Tallinn on December 12, 1918, and the same day welcomed members of the Estonian Provisional Government.

The UK’s ambassador to Estonia, her Excellency Theresa Bubbear hosted a reception on the jetty, for which a floodlit St Albans provided a stunning backdrop.

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Fast forward 100 years – to the day – and HMS St Albans came alongside in Estonia to further strengthen the strong bonds which have stood for a century.

The Portsmouth-based warship took centre stage and was a big hit with the Estonians who flocked to visit the ship. St Albans was there with the Yorkshire Regiment, who are currently deployed in Estonia.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid – who inspected a Presidential Guard of Honour – also came on board during the four-day stop.

The Type 23 frigate also linked up with an old friend as Sandown-class minehunter EML Ugandi – formerly HMS Bridport – moored alongside the frigate throughout the visit.

The UK’s ambassador to Estonia, her Excellency Theresa Bubbear hosted a reception on the jetty, for which a floodlit St Albans provided a stunning backdrop.

There, the Royal Navy’s impact on the battle for independence was acknowledged by the Estonian Prime Minister’s speech.

While the trip strengthened bonds with the Estonians, this was also a chance to look back and pay tribute to the 112 British sailors who lost their lives during the battle for Estonian independence.

St Albans’ Commanding Officer, Commander John Cromie attended a memorial service.

After more than 250 days at sea during 2018 as one of the Naval Service’s highest readiness ships, the Tallinn stop was also a chance for the ship’s company of St Albans to have some down time.

The frigate returns home to Portsmouth today before continuing her work at sea in January.