Montrose’s namesake ship has been acknowledged by the Royal Navy as the service has recognised the best ships and units of the last 12 months.
More than a dozen Fleet Effectiveness Trophies are being awarded to surface ships and Royal Marines units whose actions and efforts in 2014 stood out above and beyond the normal call of duty.
Cream of the crop of 13 Type 23 frigates was HMS Montrose, who also found herself east of Suez keeping pirates and smugglers in check before she was diverted to the eastern Mediterranean to support the United Nations’ operation removing chemical weapons from Syria.
Before handing over to destroyer HMS Diamond, Devonport-based Montrose spent a couple of months escorting merchant ships bringing toxic materials out of Syria.
After returning to the UK in the spring, Montrose was soon dispatched to the Baltic to take part in NATO exercises in the face of increased Russian military activity in the region.
She is currently undergoing a major overhaul in Devon to ready her for another 12 years’ service and has barely a dozen crew assigned to her.
Her captain throughout the Syria mission, Commander James Parkin, says the award from Rear Admiral Surface Ships Rear Admiral Tony Radakin is rich reward for the 200 men and women who were under his charge during a hectic and demanding year.
He said: “In a busy and unrelenting year, my team of professional and dedicated sailors never failed to do the job they were asked to do, in demanding circumstances, while keeping smiling, even though they were away from their families for many months at a time.
“Coming on top of the ship’s aviators being awarded the Osprey Trophy for best ship’s flight, I am delighted the rest of the ship’s company have been recognised in a similar way, and I am humbled by this accolade being awarded to our fine vessel.
“The ‘Class of 2014’, wherever they are now serving, can be proud that all the long hours, hard work, and time away, has been noticed by those for whom we worked.”
In addition to bragging rights and a trophy, winning a Fleet Efficiency allows the vessels and units to fly a special blue and white flag featuring two hippocampi – symbol of the Surface Fleet.
In July, HMS Montrose visited her namesake port for a six-day visit for the first time since 2008.