HMS Diamond returns to Portsmouth following historic deployment 

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HMS Diamond ship's company wave to their friends and family during the ship's homecoming. Photographer: LPhot Unaisi Luke ©UK Ministry of Defence CROWN COPYRIGHT, 2024. MOD Crown Copyright News / Editorial Licence.

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond and her crew have returned home to Portsmouth this weekend, having spent months protecting international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. 

The Type 45 destroyer has helped keep vital shipping lanes flowing since December, in the face of missile and drone attacks from Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. 

Around 11% of global trade goes through the Red Sea and, during her deployment, HMS Diamond became the first Royal Navy warship to shoot down a missile since the First Gulf War.  

HMS Diamond was warmly welcomed back to her homeport of Portsmouth on Saturday, with some family members of the crew sailing with the ship as she came into port.   

HMS DIAMOND RETURNS TO PORTSMOUTH AFTER HISTORIC FRONT-LINE MISSION. Photographer: LH Alika Mundy Copyright: ©UK Ministry of Defence CROWN COPYRIGHT, 2024 MOD News Licence.

The ship’s momentous mission saw her sail nearly 44,000 miles, spending 151 days at sea and, in one night on January 9, shot down seven drones aimed at merchant vessels by the Houthis in Yemen – the most aerial threats ever defeated by a Royal Navy warship in one day.  

Her tenth and last target shot down was also a landmark moment. Never have the British Armed Forces engaged a target travelling so fast as the ballistic missile Diamond destroyed in the Gulf of Aden in April.  

The final weeks of HMS Diamond’s deployment were spent patrolling the Indian Ocean to counter illegal activity where she seized over 2.4 tonnes of illegal drugs.   

Recalling the night Diamond shot down seven drones, Officer of the Watch 4, Lieutenant Freddy Hamblin, said:  

“I’d just come on watch after sunset when we anticipated the large-scale drone attack.  

“As they closed on us the apprehension and excitement built and it was great to see the crew’s training kicking in.   

“When US Navy units began engaging the sky lit up with orange sparks like fireworks. When you engage with Sea Viper, the whole bridge shakes and there’s a bright flash and a loud whoosh, followed by silence and darkness.   

“We have such trust in the ship and in each other. The professionalism and skills we’ve built as a team is hard to replicate and we’ve built absolute faith in the command and in the capabilities of the ship.   

“After seven months we’ve built a great team but it’s good to be coming home now.”  

Friends and families gathered to welcome their loved ones on HMS Diamond after a long successful deployment. Photographer: LPhot Unaisi Luke Copyright: ©UK Ministry of Defence CROWN COPYRIGHT, 2024 MOD News Licence.

Diamond spent more than ten months deployed after initially escorting aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth for major NATO exercises off the coast of Norway last autumn. The destroyer spent two months in the melting pot of high or medium threat areas, on a relentless operational pace – her Wildcat helicopter flew sorties amounting to 200 hours.  

Commanding Officer, Commander Peter Evans, said:   

“The sailors onboard HMS Diamond have been fantastic – through the time we’ve been away, they have demonstrated courage, professionalism and the very best of teamwork.   

“Whether it be operating as part of the Carrier Strike Group within the Arctic Circle, fighting in the Red Sea to protect merchant seafarers lives or conducting counter narcotic operations; every success that Diamond has achieved for the RN and UK Defence is due to her ship’s company.   

“We’re now really excited to be home with our friends and families, whose support has been absolutely critical to us on board.” 

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