HMS Brocklesby leaves Portsmouth for two years in the Gulf

Portsmouth based HMS Brocklesby left her homeport yesterday to embark on the 6,000-mile journey to Bahrain, to take over from her sister ship HMS Middleton.

The Hunt-class minehunter will form part of a four-strong permanent minehunter presence in the Gulf, working alongside coalition partners to provide reassurance to the region as well as route survey, sea-bed clearance, and mine clearance operations.

Commanding Officer  of HMS Brocklesby Lieutenant Commander Paul Irving said: “After a busy period of maintenance and a lot of hard work from my ships company it was a fantastic feeling to sail today to the Gulf.

“We are looking forward to getting into our primary role by ensuring we keep shipping lanes safe and working with our regional partners to provide maritime security.”

HMS Brocklesby will spend the next two years based in Bahrain with the crew rotating every six or seven months. Her current crew, Crew 3, will return in time for Christmas.

We are looking forward to getting into our primary role by ensuring we keep shipping lanes safe and working with our regional partners to provide maritime security

Lieutenant Commander Paul Irving

In preparation for the deployment, the crew has recently completed a five-week Operational Sea Training (OST) package as well as participating in major multi-national exercise Joint Warrior in April.

For many of the ship’s company this was their first experience of OST. Engineering Technician (Communication & Information Systems) ‘Smudge’ Smith said: “This has been a great opportunity for me to put my skills into practice and learn lots of new things too.”

At the other end of the scale, Brocklesby’s Executive Officer Lt Tom Forbes has gone through the travails of Operational Sea Training several times.

“Having served in Hunts my whole career, it still surprises me how many different scenarios the staff can produce to consistently create new and challenging incidents for the ship’s company to deal with,” he said.

HMS Shoreham, a Sandown-class minehunter, sailed on Monday (18th June) from HM Naval Base Clyde to take over from her sister ship HMS Bangor who has also been part of the minehunter team in the Gulf.