UKHMS Ledbury deploys to Mediterranean

HMS Led­bury became the first Roy­al Navy ves­sel to deploy in 2012 yes­ter­day when she set sail from Portsmouth for the Mediter­ranean.

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HMS Led­bury will spend the next six months attached to a NATO mine­hunt­ing force (stock image) [Pic­ture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The Hunt Class mine­hunter will spend the next six months attached to a NATO mine­hunt­ing force, Stand­ing Mine Coun­ter­mea­sures Group 2, which will exer­cise over the length and breadth of the Mediter­ranean.

The group will prac­tise the art of hunt­ing mines and oth­er under­wa­ter explo­sive devices, a prac­tice which paid off in full in 2011.

The last time a Portsmouth-based mine­hunter — HMS Brock­les­by — served with the NATO force she found her­self ‘in the thick of it’, clear­ing mines for real off Libya to keep the sea lanes to Mis­ura­ta open. HMS Ban­gor replaced her lat­er in the con­flict and per­formed sim­i­lar ster­ling work.

With the Libyan mis­sion now over, the group will resume its more usu­al mis­sion — a mix­ture of exer­cis­ing, good­will vis­its to a mul­ti­tude of ports on the Mediter­ranean shore, includ­ing stops in Italy, Spain, Greece and Moroc­co, and the hunt for his­toric ord­nance left by wars past.

To pre­pare for her role with the NATO force, Led­bury spent much of 2011 in train­ing. The 31-year-old ship came out of a main­te­nance peri­od in March and then went through the rigours of oper­a­tional sea train­ing which pre­pared the 40-plus ship’s com­pa­ny for deploy­ment.

More recent­ly, the ship joined British and inter­na­tion­al war­ships for a two-week war game in north west Scot­land, Exer­cise Joint War­rior, and found time to reaf­firm bonds built up over the past three decades with her name­sake town in Here­ford­shire.

Led­bury will be fol­lowed out of Portsmouth lat­er this week by HMS Dar­ing, the first deploy­ment for any of the new Type 45 destroy­ers, when she sets sail for waters east of Suez.

In addi­tion to the ships deployed, there are around 3,000 Roy­al Navy and Roy­al Fleet Aux­il­iary sailors, Fleet Air Arm per­son­nel and Roy­al Marines already on duty — as they have been through­out the fes­tive sea­son — pro­tect­ing our nation’s inter­ests around the globe.

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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