HMS Montrose returns after south Atlantic deployment

Friends and family welcome home the crew of Devonport-based frigate HMS Montrose.

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A seven-gun salute has marked the return of a Royal Navy warship to Plymouth after a six-month deployment.

HMS Montrose and its crew of 185 left its home base of Devonport last October.

During its deployment in the south Atlantic, the frigate travelled 35,340 miles (57,000km) and visited 13 ports.

In addition to the gun salute from the Royal Citadel, a lone piper played on the bridge as HMS Montrose entered the naval base.

During the deployment, a visit to the El Callao naval base in Peru was cancelled by the South American country as an "act of solidarity" with Argentina in its dispute with the UK over the Falkland Islands.

'Battery recharge'

HMS Montrose's commanding officer, Cdr Jonathan Lett, said the crew had faced "some significant challenges" during the deployment, but there was real sense of achievement of a job well done.

"My ship's company are clearly glad to be home and back with their families after six and a half months away," he said.

"I am fully aware that much of what we achieved would not have been possible without the support of our loved ones."

The commanding officer said one of the most memorable parts of the deployment was the journey down to South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which he described as "some of the most unique and beautiful places on earth".

"The variety of wildlife and harshness of the environment combine to ensure that no-one who has visited will ever forget the experience," he said.

"It is also important for those who are resident on the islands to know that we can and do reassure them of our presence and that they are not forgotten in such a remote location."

Taking leave and spending time with family and friends was essential to recharge the crew's batteries in advance of the next challenge, Cdr Lett added.

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