HMS Lancaster returns from operations in North and South Atlantic

HMS Lancaster was cheered home by hundreds of loves ones as she returned to Portsmouth today from a nine-month deployment to the North and South Atlantic.

The Type 23 frigate has steamed more than 35,000 nautical miles across four oceans and has visited 23 ports in 18 countries.

The ship – which left the UK in March – was the first Royal Navy vessel to deploy with the new Wildcat maritime attack helicopter.

She was also the first ship to sail on operations with ship’s company wearing the Navy’s new working uniform.

During nine months away HMS Lancaster has delivered an intensive programme of defence engagement and maritime security from the Caribbean to West Africa.

Highlights include participation in US Navy Fleet Week in New Orleans, 12 exercises with foreign navies, seven weeks of defence engagement in South Africa and training foreign navies in West Africa.

Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Peter Laughton, said: “This demanding and ambitious deployment has clearly demonstrated the Royal Navy’s ability to project UK global influence. 

“My superbly professional and upbeat ship’s company has consistently delivered throughout a challenging but ultimately fun and hugely rewarding period on operations and I could not be more proud of their achievements.”

The ship’s new Wildcat - from 825 Squadron based at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton in Somerset – was firmly put to the test, flying 200 hours supporting the ship’s activities.

And in West Africa the ship’s Royal Marines boarding team - working with the first ever US Marine Corps detachment in a Type 23 frigate - delivered training to more than 435 foreign military personnel, helping develop maritime security across the region. 

For Engineering Technician Will George, 20, from Manchester, the deployment was his first since joining the Navy. 

He said: “It has been a whirlwind nine months. There have been some steep learning curves but I have gained lifetime memories from eye-opening and great experiences.

"This deployment has taken me to four continents, countries that I never thought I would see and given me fantastic life skills – I have enjoyed every step of the way.”

Aside from operations, HMS Lancaster’s 200 crew have raised over £10,000 for charitable causes including the ship’s charity Unique Kidz and Co which provides specialist services for disabled children and their families.