HMS Campbeltown - 'last pipe'
March 28th, 2011, marked the 69th anniversary of the raid on Saint-Nazaire. Sadly, it also saw the last visit of the present HMS Campbeltown to the port so long associated with her name. A Type 22 Frigate of the 'Broadsword' Class, she is shortly to be decommissioned as part of the present government's contentious defence cuts. Launched on October 7th, 1987, and displacing 4,900 tons at full load, she is yet a young ship, and it is enormously sad to see her life cut short as part of a package of measures that can only accelerate our country's military decline.
The above image, taken on Campbeltown's after deck at the stroke of sunset on the evening of Monday 28th, shows the guard firing a salute as the White Ensign was hauled down. She was moored at the Quai du Commerce, with the huge bulk of the U-Boat pens in the background, and became the centre of attention in the port throughout her short stay. Earlier in the day, her crew, and her Commando complement, had together formed up next to the Monument du Commando where wreaths were laid by veterans and invited guests. Commander Keri Harris and his crew could not have been more courteous or hospitable during her stay - all in the very best traditions of the Senior Service.
Sad times for F86 - and for all those associated, both with the ship, and with the potent memories so closely bound to her name.