HMS Vanguard hosts historic army visit

Topic: Fighting armsSubmarine Service

Royal Navy submariners helped Army gunners mark the 300th year of their regiment’s formation.

HMS Vanguard’s crew welcomed a group of soldiers from the Royal Artillery on board at Plymouth Naval Base on the final days of a world tour.

The captain of HMS Vanguard, Commander Martin Gill, said: “It was a great honour and privilege to be able to participate in the Royal Artillery’s 300 year celebrations.  We both have a strong history that cements our affiliation and we look forward to maintaining this cooperation into the next 300 years!”

The nuclear-powered submarine, which carries Britain’s nuclear deterrent when at sea, and now in refit in Devonport Naval Base, is affiliated to the regiment.

Members of 1 Assault Squadron Royal Marines delivered the soldiers and baton by off-shore raiding craft to the submarine in dry dock. 

The baton had earlier arrived in Plymouth after being carried on a speed march along the Exe Valley to Woodbury Common, Exeter, where the soldiers underwent the tough Royal Marines Commando training endurance course and completed the ‘Tarzan obstacle course’ at Commando Training Centre, Exmouth, all carrying the baton.

The specially made baton, made of titanium, (the Captain General’s Baton) has been on a worldwide tour to mark the regiment’s anniversary - carried through 26 Commonwealth and allied countries with an artillery link to their history.

Other locations visited include the Arsenal FC ground (formerly the site of gun-makers Woolwich Arsenal), and at Plymouth Citadel (home of 29 Commando Royal Artillery.  

The troops scaled the UK’s three highest peaks (Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike) in 24 hours last weekend in honour of artilleryman Colonel Sir George Everest, after whom the mountain was named by the English-speaking world. 

Fellow artillery officer and Olympic gold medallist rower Captain Heather Stanning was honoured with a presentation of the baton by colleagues on a rigid inflatable boat on the River Thames.  

The baton tour ends next week with a royal review at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain training area.

It was a great honour and privilege to be able to participate in the Royal Artillery’s 300 year celebrations.

Commander Martin Gill