Lady sponsor of HMS Astute visits HM Naval Base Clyde

HER Royal Highness, The Duchess of Rothesay, visited HM Naval Base Clyde today (Thursday, September 10)to meet with the Commanding Officer and some of the crew of HMS Astute.

The visit marks the tenth anniversary of the submarine’s commissioning back in 2010.  As the Lady Sponsor of the Astute Class Submarine, Her Royal Highness also attended the commissioning at Faslane and visited again in 2014 when the submarine returned from her first operational deployment.

On her arrival at the Naval Base, Her Royal Highness met with the boat’s Commanding Officer, Commander David Crosby, who provided an operational update on HMS Astute before accompanying Her Royal Highness to the Naval Base’s giant Shiplift facility where the submarine is undergoing a period of planned maintenance.

Once inside the Shiplift, Her Royal Highness took a moment to address the Ship’s Company, thanking them for their ongoing dedication and commitment, which is key to providing the UK with remarkable security at sea to protect our nation’s interests.

Her Royal Highness also passed on her thanks to the families of the submariners for their ongoing support and finished off by saying: “as we look forward to the next ten years of Astute’s service, please know that, wherever you may be, I will be holding you all in my thoughts and prayers. 

“I am certain that, just as you have always done, you will continue to carry out your duties with the pride that comes of being at the forefront of our Naval prowess.  May you always return safely to harbour.”

It is a great honour for me to show our Lady Sponsor her submarine and update Her Royal Highness on the recent challenges and successes of her crew and their families. HMS Astute, as the first of class, has been at the forefront of delivering the extremely capable Astute Class submarines into the Fleet for over a decade and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to discuss with Her Royal Highness our next operational period.

Commander David Crosby, the Commanding Officer of HMS Astute

“HMS Astute, as the first of class, has been at the forefront of delivering the extremely capable Astute Class submarines into the Fleet for over a decade and I am delighted to have had the opportunity to discuss with Her Royal Highness our next operational period.

“Her Royal Highness, as our Lady Sponsor, has always paid close attention to our progress and regularly sends her gratitude to my crew, and as importantly, their families; to that end, it was a great honour to be granted this opportunity for my team to show their appreciation of her support”.  

Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions, Her Royal Highness was unable to meet with the families of the submariners during this visit; however she did take a few minutes to present – at a suitable distance - some special awards to a couple of HMS Astute crew members.

The first was the Admiral Max Horton Award which is awarded to the Best Warfare Officer during the Basic Submarine Qualification (BSQ). The Duchess presented the award to Lieutenant Craig Barrie, for completing his BSQ to an extremely high standard in parallel with quickly qualifying as a Control Room Watchkeeper and Junior Warfare Officer.

Next to get his award was Lieutenant James Montgomery, who received the Beaufort-Wharton Testimonial Award for achieving the highest marks in the Initial Warfare course at HMS Collingwood during Warfare Officer Phase 2 Training.

HMS Astute, the first of Class in the Royal Navy’s most advanced fleet of attack submarines is based at HM Naval Base Clyde, the Home of the Submarine Service. Also based at Clyde are her three sister boats, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful and HMS Audacious, with a further three boats – named Anson, Agamemnon and Agincourt – currently under construction at BAE Systems in Barrow.

The Astute-class submarines are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world-leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel.