HMS Diamond welcomes drug dog Charlton on board as part of exercise

They said diamonds are a girl’s best friend and dogs are man’s best friend.

The two combined last month as the crew of HMS Diamond welcomed RAF drug dog Charlton on board as part of an exercise.

The unusual visitor, trained in detecting drugs and explosives, was joined by his handler Corporal Natalie Bain in boarding the Type 45 destroyer.

Charlton arrived on the ship via a RIB and quickly got to work on the exercise - although he did need a helping hand to get up some of Diamond’s steep ladders to reach the upper decks.

The dog team wanted to bring Charlton on board because warships are full of unusual smells and it was a good opportunity to familiarise him with working in that environment.

Lieutenant Commander Oliver Clark RN

Lieutenant Commander Oliver Clark, a logistics officer on HMS Diamond, said: “The dog team wanted to bring Charlton on board because warships are full of unusual smells and it was a good opportunity to familiarise him with working in that environment.

“He was taken around all of the mess decks and then to some of the working areas of the ship as well.

“Due to us being at anchor, Charlton had to travel to and from the ship by boat but he was not phased at all and everyone enjoyed the exercise.”

The training with Cpl Bain and Charlton, from the RAF Akrotiri dog unit, took place when HMS Diamond anchored off the coast of Cyprus last month and sent personnel ashore to work alongside the 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, also based at RAF Akrotiri, in their fight against Daesh.

Cpl Bain said: “We don’t normally get this type of opportunity, it was a great piece of environmental training for Charlton and I.

“Working on board a ship is a rare occurrence for us and it was a hugely beneficial exercise.”