Sailors who served on HMS Daring as she defied a ‘missile threat’ during a 2016 deployment are to be awarded a new medal clasp, the Royal Navy has announced. 

The Gulf of Aden Clasp is in recognition of those who protected merchant shipping in the Bab al-Mandeb strait. The MV Swift, a privately owned 320ft hybrid catamaran was attacked in October 2016 off the coast of Yemen. The incident was described as ‘a horrific reminder of how anti-ship missiles are falling into the hands of non-state actors’ by The Drive.

‘This achievement shows how capable the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyers truly are, having successfully defended hundreds of thousands of tonnes of merchant shipping with our sensors and weapons’

Commander Phil Dennis, HMS Daring

At the time, HMS Daring was already heading to the area at the start of a 9 month deployment on maritime security operations.

The deployment involved escorting each merchant shipping transit of the strait at ‘the highest degree of readiness’. HMS Daring was threatened both by land-based missiles and explosive boats operated by the Houthi insurgency.


Britain depends on the sea for around 95% of its imports and exports, and a vast amount of global trade passes through the Bab al-Mandeb strait. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that it was an ’emerging chokepoint for Middle East oil flows’. Indeed the US Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2016 4.8m barrels a day of crude and petroleum products transited through the strait.

13 COMMENTS

  1. While not wishing to demean any award given to the brave service men and women who serve our country abroad in hazardous areas, I wonder how the criteria is determined by the Awards Committee in deciding to make the awards. I say this because many years ago in Aden, the Committee decided to stop the award of the RAF GSM in June 1960 and reinstated it again in 1964. During the interval nothing changed about the state of danger to the Service people in Aden. Aircraft were still being shot at upcountry and en-route into RAF Khormaskar and bombs placed in aircraft at RAF Bahrain. Yet the RAF personnel serving in that region from July 1960 to Jan 1964 were denied a GSM or clasp for their service in the area. Perhaps a member of todays’ Committee if reading this would care to comment or redress the issue for those of us who are still about. Respectively Robert L Crutchlow RAF Wg Cdr (Retd)

    • My father was an RAF fireman in Aden during that period and was routinely shot at having been lured from their airbase by false emergency calls. A member of his crew was killed during one such call when they got ambushed, my dad had never fired a gun up to that point but took it off his dead colleague and fired into the bushes. To this day he has no idea if he hit anyone.

      None of his crew received awards for their service during that tour, despite not hesitating to leave the base to tackle a fire in the local villages, not knowing if they were being lured into an ambush. He felt that that the powers at be didn’t want to know. ‘Only’ fireman after all.

  2. I find it annoying that anyone above a certain rank appears to have more ribbons than a dress shop. Fine if awarded for service but not if just sat in an office sending others into danger, and don’t get me started on the politicos who do the sending in the first place.

  3. they did their job so get a medal for it. then you look at the chest of a guy who did multiple tours of Afghan, fighting on the FLET and he may have one or two at most.
    I’m not bashing the navy, I suppose they are doing it right by recognising their peoples efforts which is something the army absolutely doesn’t like doing.

  4. N Ireland 1981,south of Innniskilling, in PVCPS, our CO got the OBE our RSM MBE, and the guy with the nicest control point he got a mention in despsches, no matter for the rest in riots and petrol bombs or who found the bomb in the caravan, That is the Army and you will never change it.

  5. The ship is utterly under armed to defend itself even in this type of situation. Politicians should make up the crew if Parliament wants to place a vessel in harms way with inadequate defensive capabilities.

    • If she’s performing the role of protecting shipping from missile attack then there isn’t a ship in the world more capable than a Daring class

      • The Daring only carries 48 missiles, not much compared to the American ships. I’ll take an upgraded Ticonderoga cruiser any day with 122 missiles and all the other weapons it carries.

  6. To the best of my knowledge there has been three attempts to have RAF personnel awarded a Clasp to the General Service Medal 1918 for service in Aden. Each time rejected. RAF Bahrain is a very long way from Aden, and there was only one case of bomb being planted on a civilian airliner in 1963. It only started to get hot in the area when in 1964 President Nasser decided to arm the tribes and pay them gold Maria Theresa’s to cause havoc in the Radfan. I think people get confused with the then Wilson Labour Government’s cancellation of the Clasp Aden for Internal Security service there, just carried the South Arabia Clasp onto the Colony for that service there – remember South Arabia was a Protectorate not a Colony.

    Now if they extended the dates of teh GSM 1918 to go back to 1946, that would be more realistic.

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