HMS Dragon Joins Fleet In Portsmouth

Hundreds of family members attended a ceremony to welcome the latest of the Royal Navy's powerful new Type 45 destroyers into the fleet today (Friday 20th April).

The colourful 'Christening' ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base was held to accept HMS Dragon into the force.

The warship, described as the fleet's most hi-tech ship, is the fourth of six Type 45 destroyers being built for the Navy.

The first, HMS Daring, was commissioned in July 2009 and the fifth, HMS Defender, is to arrive in Portsmouth for the first time this summer, with all six set to be in service by the middle of the decade.

Principal guests at the ceremony were Susie Boissier, the ship's sponsor who launched the vessel at BAE Systems' Govan shipyard on the River Clyde in November 2008, and Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery.

The ceremony was conducted by the Venerable Scott Brown, Chaplain of the Fleet.

Representatives from the ship's affiliate city of Cardiff were also present.

Commander Darren Houston, Dragon's commanding officer (CO), read a commissioning warrant during the hour-long ceremony which was rounded off in traditional Royal Navy fashion with the cutting of a commissioning cake.

Performing the honour will be the CO's wife, Liesl, and Engineering Technician Mark Soldiew, at 18 the youngest member of the ship's company.

Cdr Houston said the event was a proud moment for all on board HMS Dragon.

He added: "This very special day marks the end of our trials phase and the transition to front-line service. Thereafter the emphasis will be on combat readiness in preparation for our first deployment next year.

"I am very pleased that so many families, friends and affiliates could be part of our momentous day."