A family gathers at Rhu hoping for a glimpse of their loved-one as HMS Blyth returns to the Clyde; HMS Blyth returns to the Clyde after a three-year deployment to the Gulf; Some family members chose to brave the weather to welcome the ship back from Rhu and waved to the ship as she passed on her way to Faslane.

By Gavin Carr

FASLANE-based Royal Navy mine hunter, HMS Blyth, returned home today (Friday, September 11) after completing a three-year mission to protect shipping in the Gulf.

While deployed, the Sandown Class mine hunter regularly worked alongside fellow Royal Navy ships and with US Navy allies, successfully conducting mine hunting exercises in the region.

The honour of sailing the vessel back home went to Crew 2 from the First Mine Counter Measures Squadron (MCM1) who have been deployed to the vessel since January this year.

Praising their efforts, the Commanding Officer of HMS Blyth, Lieutenant Commander Pete Ellison, said: “Crew 2 have performed magnificently through a difficult period and we now look forward to a well-deserved period of rest and relaxation with our families.

“My thanks must go to my crew for their professionalism and commitment, but also to our families at home; they have faced an extended and very challenging period with their loved-ones away at sea and I am extremely grateful for their support.”

HMS Blyth covered some 6,300 nautical miles during the mission.

In total, HMS Blyth covered some 6,300 nautical miles during the mission, spending 111 days at sea, with Crew 2 deployed for 230 days.  Covid-19 restrictions, which came into effect in March, meant it was a particularly challenging time for the crew.

Sailors stayed on their base at the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain while alongside, or on board the ship when they visited other ports.  However, despite the challenges, HMS Blyth continued operations throughout.

The ship and crew were welcomed back to HM Naval Base Clyde by a small flotilla of boats, including Royal Marine craft from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group and a Clyde-based tug.

Some family members also chose to head to Rhu Narrows so they could wave to their loved-ones as HMS Blyth passed on her way to the base on the Gareloch.

“Blyth and her Ship’s Company have done an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances over the last eight months,” said Commander Neil Griffiths, Commanding Officer of MCM1. “They have done this with the usual professionalism and can-do attitude that typify the MCM Community.

“I’m proud of what they have achieved and now they can enjoy some well-deserved leave with their families.”

Headquartered at HM Naval Base Clyde, MCM1 operates eight Crews which rotate between seven Sandown Class mine hunters, two of which are forward deployed to the Middle East.

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