HMS Monmouth march in freedom parade

One hundred and twenty-two members of the ship’s company of Type 23 frigate HMS Monmouth received a warm Welsh welcome as they marched through their namesake town, exercising their rights to the freedom of the town.

Led by the Band of the Royal Marines, the sailors from HMS Monmouth began their march from the ancient historical Monnow Bridge with their ‘drums beating, flags flying and bayonets fixed’. Hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets, clapping and cheering as the crew proudly marched by.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Commander William King was delighted by the warm welcome received today. 

He said: “I take great pride in my Ship and the name it bears.  But what is more important to me are the men and women that serve in it with me. 

We first bestowed the freedom of the town to HMS Monmouth in 2003 and since then our ties have gone from strength to strength,

Terry Christopher, Mayor of Monmouth

“I admire them as they go about their daily business onboard; they put the heart and soul into HMS Monmouth.  They are professional, highly valued and highly motivated. 

“Looking at them assembled today, in their best uniforms, I respectfully thank them for all they have done.

Standing on parade today reminds me of why we do our job: to defend and protect the UK’s interest and to defend us all from those that wish to harm us and our way of life. Days like today make it thoroughly worthwhile.”

The parade marched through the Town to the Castle, stopping en-route to be inspected by the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE, the Mayor, Councillor Terry Christopher, and other dignitaries. 

In his welcome the Mayor said: “We first bestowed the freedom of the town to HMS Monmouth in 2003 and since then our ties have gone from strength to strength, and I am sure over the coming years the ties will become even stronger.”

This was the final opportunity for the current crew of ‘the Black Duke’ to exercise their right to march through the town before the ship enters a period of refit at HM Naval Base Devonport, her home port in the West Country.

During the refit she will undergo a series of up-grades to her engines and systems.  During this time the Ship’s company will transfer onto sister ship HMS Montrose and take up duties on operations with the Fleet.

HMS Monmouth has been very active as part of the Devonport Flotilla, more recently she escorted HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Royal Navy’s new generation of Aircraft Carrier on her initial Fixed Wing F35B fighter Jet trials in the United States.