Cattistock village’s own warship calls at Poole after three-months’ ops

She has just spent three months in the Mediterranean as part of the NATO Standing Mine Countermeasures Group 2, but now HMS Cattistock is coming home.

The 60-metre Hunt Class mine hunter, though, has rather unusually elected to make her first UK landfall in her adopted area of Cattistock village and the town of Poole, before making her way back to the naval base at Portsmouth.

Going alongside Town Quay on Friday (May 3) at approximately 11.30am, the ship is determined to make the very most of her time in her affiliated port and will open her gangway to townsfolk to go on board on Saturday May 4th from 0900-1200, allowing them to visit their own warship, chat to some of the crew about their experiences in the Senior Service and hear more about life in the modern Royal Navy as it goes about the daily task of protecting our nation’s interests on the seas around the world.

A small party from the ship will also visit Poole Council Offices in the afternoon for the official unveiling of a White Ensign presented to the local authority on a previous visit.

During Friday evening, the ship will also play host to a number of invited guests, who will have the opportunity to witness a capability demonstration, ably illustrating just some of what the ship is able to do in her role as one of the world’s most capable mine countermeasures vessels.

Members of the ship’s company will pay a visit to Cattistock village on Saturday, meeting community groups in the village and re-affirming ties with a cricket match between the Ship and village residents.

HMS Cattistock will leave Poole at 10am on Sunday morning, with a number of people from their affiliated organisations on board, as well as family of some of the crew, for the short final journey to her home port of HM Naval Base Portsmouth, where they will arrive around 4pm.

“This is really a rather unusual visit,”

said HMS Cattistock’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Stephen Higham.

“We are returning from a deployment and most ships in that situation would sail immediately into their home port – in our case HM Naval Base Portsmouth.

“But we’ve decided to do things a little differently and as we have such close and supportive links with the town of Poole and our affiliated village of Cattistock, we elected to make our first UK landfall in our adopted area instead.

“It’s a real reflection of how important our relationship with Dorset is and we are very excited about spending time with all the local people in the area who show us such a humbling amount of support and commitment.

“And we particularly hope that as many people as possible will be able to join us on the ship on Saturday to hear all about HMS Cattistock and speak to those who have just returned from operations.

“Our return home to Portsmouth marks the end of a very challenging period for MCM2 Crew 2. Deployed for 12 months over the last 16, this has been a difficult time for families and friends.

“However, I know they share my pride in what Crew 2 have achieved conducting missions across the military spectrum, initially in HMS Middleton in the Gulf and, recently, in HMS Cattistock in the Mediterranean.

“We have trained hard with other navies and proven the Royal Navy’s ability to find and destroy sea mines in the most challenging of conditions.

"Throughout these deployments, this Ship’s Company has performed in arduous conditions with courage and resilience. Acting as ambassadors for Britain, they have been a credit to their country and the Royal Navy.”

Since February 2013, the current Ship’s Company of HMS Cattistock has served during a period of high tempo operations and strategically important exercises, conducting maritime security operations, providing force protection and, most importantly, training with coalition allies to find and destroy sea mines.

Towards the end of her time away, the ship took part in a major multinational mine hunting exercise off the coast of Spain involving ships, submarines and aircraft from Spain, France, Turkey and the UK.

The Exercise tested NATO forces against a variety of threats such as fast attack craft and terrorist drones whilst fighting a complex mine counter-measures battle.

HMS Cattistock was a front runner in the number of exercise mines ‘neutralised’, again proving the skills and equipment that make the Royal Navy world leaders in mine countermeasures.

We’ve decided to do things a little differently as we have such close and supportive links with the town of Poole and our affiliated village of Cattistock.

Lieutenant Commander Stephen Higham RN