Published: Friday, 3rd September 2021

We're inviting residents to view a piece of naval history when it goes up on display in Chatham. 

The Royal Navy presented two funnel badges from HMS Chatham to Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and us on Thursday, 2 September.

Funnel badges, oversized versions of the ship’s badge, survived the trophy hunters and ship breakers when the frigate was decommissioned in 2011.

A decade on they have been presented to us and Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust on behalf of the Naval Region Command, with HMS Trumpeter providing the backdrop.

The P2000 patrol craft has made the short trip from her base in Ipswich for a three-day visit.

Covid restrictions mean she won’t be opening her gangway to the general public, but her ship’s company will welcome local Sea Cadets aboard as well as the formal handover of the badges.

The funnel badge, which has been given to us, will be available for residents to view at the St George’s Centre, Pembroke Road, Chatham Maritime, on Tuesdays from Tuesday, 7 September, between 10am and 4pm. The badge will be on display along with two of HMS Chatham’s bells, a painting of the ship and flags that she flew.

Little piece of history

Lieutenant Ben Wood, Trumpeter’s Commanding Officer, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Naval Regional Command in this little piece of history. We are the only Royal Navy vessel based in the area and like to visit areas connected with the Service: Lowestoft, Harwich, Ramsgate and Chatham. Both my dad and uncle served on HMS Chatham in the 1990s and 2000s and enjoyed their time aboard her.”

Keeping the historic link going into the future

Cdre Rob Bellfield CBE ADC RN added: “Having previously served on HMS Chatham twice, I was delighted to visit Medway to handover HMS Chatham’s funnel badges to her affiliated town. It’s important that we continue to keep the link between this historic maritime town and the Royal Navy going now and into the future.”

Extremely proud of Medway's rich military history

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We were delighted to receive a funnel badge from HMS Chatham and welcome HMS Trumpeter to Medway. We are extremely proud of Medway’s rich military history and I am pleased that the badge will soon be on display for residents to admire. I would like to thank the Naval Regional Command for gifting it to us.”

Committed to doing everything we can to support our armed forces community

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services and Armed Forces Champion, said: “Medway is incredibly proud of its long-standing military connections and we are committed to doing all we can to continue to support our armed forces community. I would encourage residents to visit the badge, when it is on display at the St George’s Centre, and find out more about HMS Chatham’s history.”

Maintaining strong links with the Royal Navy

Richard Morsley, Chief Executive, Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, said: “As custodians of The Historic Dockyard Chatham, we have maintained strong links with the Royal Navy following its closure as a Royal Dockyard in 1984. We are thrilled this special relationship continues and we are extremely grateful for donation of HMS Chatham’s funnel crest. The badge will shortly be put on public display in our Steam, Steel and Submarines gallery for all visitors to the Historic Dockyard to enjoy.”

Medway's rich heritage supports the area's bid to become UK City of Culture 2025

HMS Trumpeter is part of the Royal Navy’s Coastal Forces Squadron and the only warship based in East Anglia.

Alongside her sisters in the P2000 class, she supports training and operations, gives university students a taste of life in the Senior Service, and represents the Navy at events such as this.

Trumpeter has spent much of the spring and summer at sea, ranging from a combined exercise with the rest of the squadron off the South Coast, all the way up to the Shetland Islands and the Royal Navy’s Scottish exercises, helping to prepare carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and her carrier battle group for their maiden deployment (currently in progress in the Pacific).

She’ll continue training after her Chatham visit, helping Royal Navy Reservist seaman specialists hone their seafaring skills – something the pandemic has largely prevented them doing for the past 18 months.

HMS Chatham, which took her ‘Up and at ‘em’ motto from Medway sporting teams, was the last of 14 Type 22 frigates built for the Royal Navy in the 1970s and 80s, serving for 21 years.

She took part in almost every major operation the Royal Navy was involved in between over that period: peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Sierra Leone, the return of Hong Kong to China, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, lifesaving and humanitarian work in Sri Lanka in 2005 following the Boxing Day Tsunami, and counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

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