HMS Defender returned to HM Naval Base Portsmouth this morning after a “hugely successful 222 days away from home”, say the Royal Navy.

According to a Royal Navy news release, her crew of 270 and embarked helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron safely accompanied 38 British-flagged tankers and cargo ships through troubled waters and made two significant drug seizures.

Instead of a six-month patrol of the Far East as originally planned, the destroyer was diverted to the Middle East last summer to join other Royal Navy vessels accompanying British merchant shipping into and out of the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.

“There would normally be hundreds of family and friends on the return jetty waiting for the sailors to disembark, but to help preserve good health the homecoming was cancelled. However, for the final leg of the destroyer’s journey home, 39 relatives were able to join as planned in Gibraltar, to experience of life aboard with loved ones. Fleet Commander, Vice-Admiral Jerry Kyd, embarked at Spithead early on Friday to meet the crew and thank for them for their service since departing on 12 August before they made the final transit into harbour from their overnight anchor in the Solent.”

HMS Defender’s Commanding Officer, Commander Richard Hewitt, was quoted as saying:

“While disappointing not to see our families on the jetty as we return to Portsmouth, we understand the situation and we are extremely grateful for all the support our families have provided while we have been deployed. We could not do it without them and are looking forward to spending some quality time with them now we have returned.”

She sailed the narrow waters at the gateway to the Gulf 28 times, accompanying 1.6m tonnes of cargo on those 38 ships – cargo vital to UK trade and economy say the Royal Navy.

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Andrew

Wonder if the crew thought it was hugely successful being away from loved ones for 222 days?

That’s one very long deployment….

Mike

But nothing like the 13 months on spent Gan.

Mike

Er… spent on Gan!

Gunbuster

Pretty much average length of a deployment 6-7 months… Not wanting to be a black cat but I did do a 8 and a 9 month trip along with plenty of 6 month, 4 and 3 month trips.

Over a year its the short ones that get you… A 4 and a couple of 3 months with only a main leave break in between.

Barry Larking

Well done Defender.

Robert Blay

Spent longer in the NAFFI que 🤣😂😄

geoff

Wonderful ships-sad we never got the 12. I often wonder what names the other 6 would have worn-my offer Drake, Dreadnought,Defiant, Donald, Dart,..Dandelion?

Geoff

They are underarmed piles of junk kept in fighting shape by superb crew

4thwatch

Cruisers in all but name but Not With the armament. Its crazy not fitting the Mk41 tubes and building up their capabilities further while they are in to get new engines. No way to run a business.
In days gone by a cruiser squadron was 4 ships but later reduced to 3, then abandoned altogether as technology advanced. 4 so they could sweep a wide horizon with Mk1 eyeball.
We needed at least 8 especially with the carriers.
The Navy must be taken seriously by the politicians.

BB85

Too much screwing around by the mod in the early 2000s meant money wasted and numbers cut and delivery delayed. The De Zeven and F100 Frigates where delivered from 2003 when the T23 run ended for almost half the cost of a T45. So if we had not messed about so much we could have had 8 to 10 and used the extra money for tlam. Its mind boggling to opted for Sylver launchers unless the missiles designed where made to be incomparable by the French and Italians who built the missiles despite the UK being the biggest customer at… Read more »

julian1

feel sorry for the crew and their families…after so long away they will have to start social distancing from one another (extended family)

DaveyB

Always felt that the area behind the last funnel above the hangar is wasted unused space. Looks like a good place for a BAe/Bofors 57mm weapon system that weighs 7 tons and is non deck penetrating. There is supposed to be a magazine that slots behind the turret that feeds additional ammo, but I’ve not seen it.