After nine demanding months at sea conducting operations to protect Britain’s economy, returning home is a wonderful and rewarding moment for all of Daring’s sailors and their families

Commander Marcus Hember, Commanding Officer of HMS Daring

HMS Daring, the first of six Type 45 destroyers operated by the Royal Navy, left her home port of Portsmouth in September last year with almost 260 people on board including a Royal Marines boarding team and embarked flight from Yeovilton-based 825 Naval Air Squadron.

Daring operates with the Royal Navy’s newest type of helicopter – the Wildcat Mk2 – which extends the ship’s capability beyond the horizon and uses its cutting-edge targeting system and surveillance radar to help reduce the threat of waterborne attack.

After passing east of the Suez Canal, Daring escorted the Navy’s Joint Expeditionary Force task group including Devonport-based HMS Bulwark, flagship HMS Ocean, and the MV Eddystone Point. As well as providing air defence to the task group, Daring helped protect from the threat of waterborne attack, carrying Royal Navy and Royal Marine boarding parties to counter piracy, terrorists and smugglers.

The destroyer then went on to undertake 20 journeys through the Bab-al-Mandeb strait, protecting 800,000 tonnes of shipping and ensuring the critical choke point remained free flowing for international trade. Around 95 per cent of Britain’s economic activity by volume depends upon the sea and a vast amount of global trade passes through the region.

“The deployment has been long but I’ve learned loads and been to places in the world I never thought I would see,” said HMS Daring’s youngest sailor, 19-year-old Able Seaman Jake Hobday.

“I have made great friends and it has been amazing sharing this deployment with them. My highlights have been skydiving in Dubai, celebrating my 19th birthday while at sea off the coast of Somalia and being part of the important mission that HMS Daring was tasked with. I’m looking forward to spending some time with my family and friends before joining my next ship, another Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender.

After leaving the Gulf in April, HMS Daring moved on to the Black Sea for routine port visits to Romania and Bulgaria. As part of the longplanned visits, the 8,000-tonne destroyer spent time conducting training at sea with the Romanian Navy and Air Force before getting alongside and taking part in some defence engagement activities with the UK’s NATO allies.

HMS Daring has now passed on her duties to HMS Monmouth, a Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate. The Royal Navy has a permanent presence in the Middle East, working as part as part of the Combined Maritime Forces – a collective of 31 nations formed to promote security and stability in some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes.