Last week marked one year since HMS Medway left Portsmouth for a long-term mission to patrol the Caribbean.
And it will be several more years before you see the patrol ship in home waters as she continues to patrol Britain’s North Atlantic territories.
HMS Medway is at the vanguard of the Royal Navy’s Forward Presence programme, stationing warships overseas for several years at a time, using regional ports and British or allied nations’ bases for resupply and maintenance and regular crew changes.
HMS Medway is currently in Mayport, Florida, undergoing winter maintenance before resuming her work providing support, assistance and reassurance for Britain’s overseas territories in the region, from flag flying for the UK and participating in key local events, to delivering assistance in the event of a natural disaster.
The ship has sailed just short of 50,000 miles – the equivalent of twice around the globe – since leaving Portsmouth, spending 184 of her 366 days away at sea.
Much of her first year was spent getting to know the many islands and their civilian/emergency services, facilities and the lay of the land should HMS Medway be called on to provide assistance in the event of a hurricane or volcanic eruption.
And similarly, island communities have learned what HMS Medway can offer in an emergency – communications, planning, skilled engineers and equipment, food, fresh water, trained medics, and the general ‘can-do’ attitude of sailors – culminating in two large-scale disaster relief exercises.
'Taking Medway on her first deployment has been a challenge and an honour'
Chief Petty Officer Luke Travell is the longest serving member of the crew – he was the first person to join Medway while she was still being built on the Clyde back in 2017.
“When I first set eyes on Medway she was still having equipment fitted and set to work,” said Luke who’s the ship’s Deputy Weapon Engineer Officer, responsible for weapons systems and sensors.
“Assisting with the build process up to taking Medway on her first deployment has been a challenge and an honour. Now she is fully functioning and a key asset to Overseas Territories.”
We wish HMS Medway and her crew every success
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “It’s fantastic news that HMS Medway has completed the first year of her Caribbean mission. We were delighted to welcome her crew to Medway in 2019 for the vessel’s commissioning and freedom parade. Medway has a historic naval heritage, and we wish HMS Medway and her crew every success for the future.”