Published: Thursday, 12th September 2019

Updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Medway is set to hold a historic event which will see the newest patrol vessel in a Royal Navy fleet commissioned in the area it takes its name from.

HMS Medway, which is due to arrive in Chatham on Tuesday, 17 September, will be officially commissioned during its stay, placing the ship on active service ready for global deployment. It is very rare that a ship gets commissioned in the location it takes its name from, making HMS Medway’s visit even more special.

HMS Medway is a 90-metre Offshore Patrol Vessel and will be involved in counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling operations to help keep Britain safe. Construction of HMS Medway began in June 2015 when the first steel was cut in Glasgow. The ship was then later named at Scotstoun yard on the Clyde by Lady Fallon, wife of the then Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon. With a total length of 90.5 metres and a flight deck which can operate the Merlin helicopter, the vessel is armed with a 30mm automatic cannon, two miniguns, four machine guns and capable of 24+ knots.

Public events

To mark the historic occasion of HMS Medway’s visit to Medway, public events will be held on Saturday, 21 and Sunday, 22 September - alongside the Historic Dockyard Chatham’s ever-popular Salute to the 40s event.

On Saturday, a parade to mark Freedom of Medway will be held in Chatham from 11am. The parade will start in Church Street (just off Chatham High Street) and will be led by the Royal Marine Band. With drums beating, they will march to Gun Wharf on Dock Road and salute as they pass, before making their way into the Historic Dockyard Chatham.

Get on board!

On Sunday, 22 September, the ship will be open to visitors at Chatham Maritime from 10am to 4pm. No visitors will be admitted unless they have booked in advance. All tickets have now been allocated.

Parking on 22 September

Got tickets to get on board HMS Medway? Chatham Dockside Outlet are allowing visitors to park in their car park. Usual restrictions will not apply. Please note this only applies on Sunday 22 September.

After her visit, HMS Medway will conduct front line training ready for her maiden deployment overseas at the turn of 2019/20.

Commanding officer thanks the Mayor and Medway's residents

HMS Medway's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ben Power, commented: “It is always a great honour to be given command of one of Her Majesty’s ships and a privilege to lead the men and women of such a fine ship’s company, especially on the occasion of her commissioning. On behalf of HMS Medway, I would like to thank the Mayor and people of Medway for granting us the honour of the freedom of Medway and we look forward to a long and productive affiliation.

'Historic occasion'

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Community Services at Medway Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the crew of the Royal Navy’s newest vessel to Medway. This is a particularly historic and unique occasion in that the commissioning is taking place in the area the ship is named after and it feels most fitting, given Medway’s historic naval heritage. I am pleased residents will have the opportunity of enjoying this momentous occasion by showing their support at the freedom parade and signing up to visit the ship. We wish HMS Medway and her crew every success for the future.”
Please note, due to the parade on Saturday, 21 September, Dock Road will be closed from around 11am until approximately 12pm. 
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