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London Man Brings His Warship HMS Argyll to Thames

(A Royal Navy Press Release)

A Royal Navy Commanding Officer from London will bring his Type 23 frigate into his home city on January 15.

Commander Paul Hammond, a former student of Northwood School, will guide HMS Argyll into the Thames, through the Barrier, beneath Tower Bridge and alongside to her temporary berth at HMS Belfast.

“I am proud and delighted to be able to steer this great ship into the heart of my home city,” said 41-year-old Paul, originally from Ruislip and now living in Balham. “This is my first UK port visit since I took command in December – and it is particularly coincidental and lucky that the port in question happens to be where I was born and bred.

“Any port visit is much anticipated, but this is particularly special for me and one or two other crew members from London – it feels like a homecoming.”

Remaining in London until Sunday January 19, HMS Argyll will host a number of pre-arranged tours during her stay in the capital.

In addition to these tours, she will also welcome a number of invited guests to two capability demonstrations on board. Many of the ship’s company will also be able to enjoy a tour of the Houses of Parliament and the Guildhall.

On January 18, members of London’s Royal Naval Reserve Unit, HMS President, along with potential new reservist recruits will visit the ship as part of HMS President’s Live event.

Reservists serve in their spare time, unless called for an operational tour of duty with the Royal Navy. They normally commit to the equivalent of 24 days a year for training, which takes place mainly during the evenings and at weekends, with one continuous period of two weeks’ professional training. For more details on training and to find out more about the ‘Live’ open day, call 08456 00 32 22 or visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/navyreserves.

After a busy few days at the heart of the capital, the ship will leave on Sunday January 19, passing beneath Tower Bridge at 4.05pm.

“We are very much looking forward to this visit,” continued Paul. “It will be a busy few days and we are pleased that we will be able to show so many groups the capability and versatility of one of the Royal Navy’s most operationally advanced frigates.

“I know that members of the crew are looking forward to their visit to the Houses of Parliament and Guildhall, and we are also particularly delighted to be able to bring one of our affiliated groups to the ship – the City of London Sea Cadets.

“We also hope that enabling our colleagues at the Royal Navy Reserve unit HMS President to bring along potential new reservist recruits on Saturday for a taste of life on board will be of help to them in their open day.”

A keen member of Ruislip Sea Cadets from an early age, Paul joined the Royal Navy in 1991 and has deployed on numerous ships including HM Ships Battleaxe, Norfolk, Iron Duke, Archer, Pursuer, Montrose, Lancaster and Dauntless. He has served all over the world, including the South Atlantic, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Adriatic in support of operations in the former Yugoslavia and counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

“I saw the opportunities the Royal Navy offered, the exciting career prospects and the chance to see the world really appealed,” he continued. “The variety and challenge of the various roles I have had during my 23 year career have kept me motivated and to command a warship is a massive honour.”

As well as his official duties when in London, he looks forward to catching up with family and friends and showing them around his ship.

Based in Plymouth, HMS Argyll is the longest-serving Type 23 frigate in the Royal Navy.

Built in the late 1980s at the Yarrow Yard in Scotstoun on the Clyde (today part of BAE Systems), she was commissioned in 1991.

Following an extensive £20 million refit in Rosyth during 2009 to 2010, HMS Argyll emerged as one of the most up-to-date and capable frigates in the Fleet, with her structure preserved and her weapons and sensors significantly enhanced.

The Type 23 Frigate arrived home last September to a rapturous welcome at Plymouth Naval Base after completing a wide range of operations in the seas around Africa, the Falklands, the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean.

This scope of operations, from Maritime Security training in Africa, to reassurance operations in the Falkland Islands and counter narcotics and the disruption of over $100m of drugs in the Pacific and Caribbean, has displayed the huge variety of tasks a Royal Navy warship can undertake.

- ENDS -

Fiona Holland, UK Regions Media Officer, Royal Navy 01436 674 321 Faslane x6623

Media opportunity – HMS President Live event

Any media enquiries relating to HMS President’s Live event on Saturday January 18 should be directed to Chris Kirby on 01223 771 876 or Valerie Amar-Matthews on 01223 771 878

Members of the media are welcome to attend the Live event at HMS President, 72 St Katharine’s Way, London, E1W 1UQ at 9.30am prompt when the Commanding Officer Commander Eugene Morgan will be available for interview. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interview serving reservists, take a tour of the base and see demonstrations of some of the equipment used at sea. Those interested should contact Chris on the above number for further details on timings and what can be expected.