HMS Montrose, Angus Council’s adopted Royal Navy ship, sailed into Montrose Harbour yesterday (July 1) for the first time in six years.
The Type 23 frigate, which celebrated her 20th anniversary in service with the Royal Navy on June 2, sailed into the harbour yesterday morning for the first time since 2008 for a six-day visit going alongside at North Quay.
The ship’s company will exercise the Freedom of Angus tonight (Wednesday, July 2) for only the second time since it was conferred in 2002, starting at 6 p.m. at the old swimming pool, on The Mall, going through the High Street and finishing at George Street.
Angus Provost Helen Oswald will inspect the guard of honour and the ship’s company in the town centre, after which she will take the salute.
The ship’s crew will then be guests of Angus Council at a civic reception afterwards in Montrose Town Hall.
The VIP party also includes the Lord Lieutenant of Angus Georgiana Osborne, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland Captain Chris Smith RN and the commanding officer of HMS Montrose Commander James Parkin RN.
Commander Parkin said: “This visit has been a long time in the planning and we couldn’t be more delighted to finally bring HMS Montrose back to Montrose for only the fourth time in her 20 years’ service with the Royal Navy.
“I know that my ship’s company is very much looking forward to the honour of exercising our Freedom of Angus and we are relishing the chance to welcome visitors on board from our affiliated area.
“The relationship we have with both Montrose and Angus is one which is very special and important to us – I am delighted to be in command for this return visit after six years and especially in this our special anniversary year.”
Mrs Oswald said: “The town is rightly proud of its association with HMS Montrose and has enjoyed, and I am sure will continue to enjoy, an excellent relationship with the ship which bears its name.
“The Freedom Scroll states that the Freedom of Angus is granted ‘In recognition of the long and close association between the ship’s company and the people of Angus and the contribution made by them to the educational and social well-being of our community’. These may be formal words but they are a sincere record of our appreciation.”
HMS Montrose will be open to the public tomorrow (Thursday, July 3) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry at 4 p.m.
The ship has just finished taking part in BALTOPS 14, an annual multinational maritime exercise in the Baltic Sea with NATO and Partnership for Peace allies.
She sails from Montrose next Monday at 9.30 a.m.