HMS Northumberland celebrates Freedom of the County of Northumberland

Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland sails into North Shields on Wednesday 24 June for a six-day visit.

She will be berthing at Northumbrian Quay North Shields at approximately 10am and will remain alongside until Monday 29 June.

During her stay the ship and her crew will play host to a wide range of visitors and take part in a number of affiliation events. 

The highlight of the visit will be on Friday 26 June when 160 members of the ship’s company will proudly march in a spectacular Freedom Parade through the county town of Morpeth.

HMS Northumberland is open to the public on Armed Forces Day, Saturday 27 June, between 11am and 4pm with last entry at 3.30pm.

The ship will be hosting an affiliates day at sea on Thursday 25 June, for invited guests. These will include the ship’s sponsor Lady Anne Kerr, High Sheriff of Northumberland Mrs Lucy Carroll, Civic Head of Northumberland County Council Councillor Kath Nisbet and Mr Steven Mason, Chief Executive of Northumberland County Council. 

It is an immensely exciting time for both the Ship’s company and I to bring HMS Northumberland back home

Commanding Officer, Commander Trish Kohn

Other guests attending are representatives from the Worshipful Companies of Bowyers and Carmen, the Bank of England and the ship’s charities – Calvert Trust and Sir John Knott Trust.

This will be HMS Northumberland’s first visit to the North East under the Command of her new Commanding Officer, Commander Trish Kohn who commented: “It is an immensely exciting time for both the Ship’s company and I to bring HMS Northumberland back home.

“Launched on the Tyne, 23 years ago, the Type 23 frigate has been the backbone of the Naval Service for some 21 years, deploying across the world in response to any given tasking. HMS Northumberland continues to protect us and our country to this day 

“I know I speak on behalf of the ship’s company when I say we are very much looking forward to our visit and the program of events across the weekend.”

The ship was first granted freedom of the county of Northumberland in 2004 and has exercised that right several times since. 

On Friday 26 June, more than 160 of the ship’s company will march through the streets of Morpeth accompanied by the Band of the Royal Regiment of Scotland dressed in scarlet tunics, bearskins and kilts. 

The musicians will lead an armed guard, colour party and the ship’s company through the town between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.

Halting outside Morpeth Town Hall, civic leaders from around the county will be assembled for a formal conferral ceremony at which the Freedom scroll will be presented to Commander Kohn by Civic Head of Northumberland, Councillor Kath Nisbet.

Councillor Nisbet said: “We are particularly proud of the county’s close association with HMS Northumberland and I hope that residents will share that same sense of pride, make a note of the date and turn out to give our naval personnel the very warm welcome they so richly deserve.

“The ship’s company spend many months at sea patrolling our seas and enforcing maritime security. Occasions such as these give everybody the opportunity to show their appreciation of the role and the good work they do. I’m sure they will be made very welcome.

“I would particularly like to remind residents that Saturday 27 June is the national Armed Forces Day and I am therefore very pleased to see both the Royal Navy and the Army parade in Morpeth on this auspicious occasion. Please give them both your support.”

Parking is available on the quayside while the ship is open to the public on Saturday and visitors are advised that the queue will be closed at a time to allow HMS Northumberland to safely close her gangway at 4pm. 

HMS Northumberland sails at approximately 10am on 29 June.