I would like to thank you for all you do to protect the interests of the UK; your service in Afghanistan over the last thirteen years, your counter piracy work off the coast of East Africa and in all other operations across the world.

David Cameron, Prime Minister

The head of the Naval Service the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas said: “It is a great, and rare, privilege for the Royal Navy to be invited to march into Parliament, the seat of the democracy we protect.

“Today has been an opportunity for the Royal Navy to connect with those who govern our island nation. 

"And it has been an opportunity for Parliament to recognise our sleepless watch over the seas – from credible strategic deterrence and maritime security, to support of the UK’s trade-led recovery from recession and vital overseas aid.”

The APPG for the Armed Forces asked the Royal Navy to march into Parliament as a way of thanking the personnel for their contribution to protecting UK shores and overseas territories.

Warships are deployed in the Middle East to keep sea lanes safe from piracy, drug and people trafficking as well as terrorism, they also operate in the North and South Atlantic providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief – as in the recent case of HMS Argyll in Bermuda – and providing a reassuring presence for those living in British Overseas Territories.

Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines also provided an enduring presence in Afghanistan, both on land and in the air with the Fleet Air Arm while survey ships have helped with the search for missing Malaysian airliner MH370 and evacuated British citizens from Libya in the summer.

The service is also well versed in contingent operations – providing two warships filled with aid and expertise to the Philippines last year, turning them away from pre-planned activity to race to the beleaguered country, and sending medical ship RFA Argus to Sierra Leone earlier this month to provide support to the Ebola operation. 

And when the UK was flooded during the torrential rainstorms earlier this year it was the Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines who worked around the clock to protect people’s houses and livelihoods in Hampshire and Somerset with sandbags and flood defences.

Following the march the MPs held a reception for the Naval personnel and gave them a tour of the Palace of Westminster before holding a dinner for selected personnel from a number of operations. 

Images by POA(Phot) Owen Cooban and Petty Officer Arron Hoare

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