HMS Kent berths in her adopted county

HMS Kent
Image caption HMS Kent will be in her adopted county until Monday afternoon

Crew from HMS Kent will provide a guard of honour at a tribute parade to airmen who took part in the World War II Channel Dash operation.

Saturday's parade, to be attended by the First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, is one of a series of events happening while the ship is in Dover.

The Type 23 frigate is due to dock at Prince of Wales Pier at midday.

The Channel Dash was an attempt to stop German ships breaking through into the North Sea in 1942.

Shot down

All 18 pilots who took off from Manston in six Swordfish torpedo bombers to try to stop three battle cruisers in the Channel were shot down and only five of the airmen survived.

Torpedo boats from Dover, shore batteries of the Royal Artillery and destroyers from Harwich supported the operation, planned in the tunnels below Dover Castle.

"I am delighted to be bringing HMS Kent back to her home county," said Commanding Officer Ben Ripley.

Image caption Members of the public will be invited on board to meet HMS Kent's crew

"My ship's company are pleased to be able to provide a guard of honour for the Channel Dash Memorial, dedicated to the memories of the extraordinarily brave men who flew their Swordfish aircraft to the heart of the enemy with little regard for their own safety."

Admiral Stanhope will attend the unveiling of a granite memorial to Operation Fuller - Channel Dash's formal title - in Marine Parade Gardens, followed by a fly-past of a vintage Swordfish torpedo bomber of the Royal Navy Historic Flight.

The public will be able to board HMS Kent on Saturday to view equipment and talk to the crew. Organisations including Sea Cadets from Sheerness and Tunbridge Wells will also be given tours.

On Sunday some of the ship's company will visit its charity, Demelza House children's hospice in Sittingbourne.

The vessel, affiliated to the county of Kent and the Cinque Ports, is the 12th to bear the name.

The warship leaves Dover on Monday afternoon.

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