HMS Dragon celebrates Festival of Light

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon will be spectacularly lit up this Sunday evening as she prowls off the east coast of the United States.

The warship will be bathed in red, blue, orange and green lighting to celebrate Diwali – the Festival of Lights – as the sun goes down.

The ship's engineers attached filters to spotlights which are normally used to bathe the 152-metre-long ship in bright light when she makes ceremonial visits to ports, such as her affiliated city of Cardiff.

It's believed to be the first time that a Royal Navy warship has marked the Hindu celebration formally.

In keeping with the Diwali spirit, the 200 sailors aboard will be treated to a specially-prepared Indian meal by the destroyer's chefs.

Dragon – already the most recognisable ship in the Royal Navy thanks to the giant red emblem of her namesake mythical beast on her bow – is currently escorting new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as she conducts fast-jet training with her F-35 Lightnings.

“I recently had the privilege to meet the ship’s company of HMS Dragon and will be sending a message to the Captain, Commander Giles Palin, his crew and their loved ones: A Happy Diwali – happiness, good health and success in all their activities,” said Honorary Commander Raj Aggarwal – a Cardiff businessman and India's honorary consul in Wales who was recognised by the Royal Navy last year for his advocacy of and support for the Senior Service.