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HMS St Albans
We were amazed, honoured and delighted to be asked to consider an affiliation with HMS St Albans, as they are also affiliated with the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers, a ‘slightly older’ and larger Company. However, we have taken to our duties with gusto and have made several trips to see her in action and in dock and have invited several of her officers to Great Events along with leaders of our other affiliations.
The ship is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy and the sixth ship to bear the name. She is also the sixteenth and final ship in the ‘Duke’ class of frigates and is based in Portsmouth.
In late 2013, a new Ship’s Company began to join and when St Albans proceeded to sea in the spring of 2014 after a £25M refit she was at full strength.The build-up of the Ship’s Company is an extremely important part of any refit and signals the start of the ‘regeneration’ of the warship before deployment.
HMS St Albans re-dedication service was held in Portsmouth in 2014 and the Master, all the Wardens and a number of Marketors were in attendance. Later, the Ship visited London where Marketors were invited to a capability demonstration and the Master and three other Marketors joined the Ship as she sailed from the Pool of London to Rotterdam and a similar visit was held in 2015 with Marketors on board Marketors for her return to Portsmouth and later they were invited on board to watch the ‘America’s Cup’ races at close quarters.
HMS St Albans left Home Waters on 30th November 2015 for a nine month operational deployment in the Mediterranean and on Operation Kipion in the Gulf two Marketors joiner her in Cyprus on her return in August 2016.
Marketors were invited to their affiliate’s dinner in the hanger on-board in October 2016 on her return.
Whilst each and every member of the team is hugely valued, the joining of the Commanding Officer is a significant event. Commander Chris Ansell RN, took command in December 2016 from Commander Rich Hutchings RN.
HMS St Albans is currently the Fleet Ready Escort is at short notice to react to any maritime threat to the UK including terrorism and smuggling of arms or narcotics and the like. The Fleet Ready Escort will spend the majority of the year in and around UK waters conducting training and exercises with various UK and military agencies and organisations.
In January 2017 she escorted Escorting the Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the guided missile cruiser Petr Velikiy through the English Channel and continued northwards to the west coast of Norway.
The Ship is commanded by Commander John Crombie.
A 400 page book with over 500 photographs, maps and drawings is available to download here – Guide to HMS St Albans (March 2018) from the Chairman. It has won the 2019 ‘Clarity in Communication Award’.