It is heartening to see so many members of the public, from the very young to the very old, here today supporting your Royal Navy and for that we are extremely grateful

Commander Gareth Jenkins, Commanding Officer of HMS Astute

Wirral Councillors voted to present the honour during a meeting in Wallasey Town Hall on July 6.

Award of the Freedom of the Borough means that the crew of HMS Astute has the “right, privilege, honour and distinction” of marching through the streets flying their colours with bayonets fixed.

One member of Astute’s ship’s company who was particularly proud to be marching was Petty Officer Karl Williams.

“I feel so proud to be marching through my hometown with my family watching,” he said.  “It feels like recognition for all of the hard work that we have put in over the last few years deploying all around the world.  For HMS Astute to have received recognition from my home town fills me with pride.”

One of the most technically advanced vessels in the world, HMS Astute is first of the Royal Navy’s new class of attack submarines.

Operating from her home at HM Naval Base Clyde, Astute has most recently been deployed to one of the world’s busiest shipping routes between the Straits of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal.  For two months the submarine took an active role in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour, providing surveillance and deterrence.

Described as “more complex than the Space Shuttle”, HMS Astute is arguably the finest attack submarine in the world today.  Constructed by BAE Systems at Barrow-in-Furness, she is among the largest, most advanced and powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy.

Images taken by LA(Phot) Caroline Davies.

HMNB Clyde

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Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) (Submariner)

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