HMS Montrose (F236)

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For other ships of the same name, see HMS Montrose.
HMS Montrose, a Type 23 Frigate, performed a series of tight turns, during Marstrike 05. MOD 45145955.jpg
HMS Montrose, 2005
Name: HMS Montrose
Operator: Royal Navy
Ordered: July 1988
Builder: Yarrow Shipbuilders
Laid down: 1 November 1989
Launched: 31 July 1992
Sponsored by: Lady Rifkind
Commissioned: 2 June 1994
Refit: Major 2014-2016
Homeport: HMNB Devonport, Plymouth
  • Mare ditat rosa decorat
  • Latin: "The sea enriches and the rose adorns"
Status: in active service, as of 2016
Badge: HMS MONTROSE ship's crest.jpg
General characteristics
Class & type: Type 23 Frigate
Displacement: 4,900 t (4,800 long tons; 5,400 short tons)[1]
Length: 133 m (436 ft 4 in)
Beam: 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in)
Height: 28.6 m (93 ft 10 in)
Draught: 7.3 m (23 ft 9 in)
Speed: In excess of 28 kn (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Complement: 185 (accommodation for up to 205)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried:
Aviation facilities:

The current HMS Montrose is the eighth of the sixteen ship Type 23 or 'Duke' class of frigates, of the Royal Navy, named after the Duke of Montrose. She was laid down in November 1989 by Yarrow Shipbuilders on the Clyde, and was launched on 31 July 1992 by Lady Rifkind (when, as Mrs Edith Rifkind, her husband Sir Malcolm Rifkind was Secretary of State for Defence). She commissioned into service in June 1994.

Having once been the flagship of the 6th Frigate Squadron, Montrose is now part of the Devonport Flotilla, based in Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth.[2]

Battle honours[edit]

There has only been one previous ship built with the same name, which was HMS Montrose (D01), the first of eight Admiralty-type destroyer leaders, sometimes known as the Scott class. However, whichever tender was attached to the Tay Division of the Royal Naval Reserve was always renamed HMS Montrose in honour of James Graham, 6th Duke of Montrose, who founded the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1903; the last ship that was so named was the Ton class minesweeper HMS Stubbington.

All of HMS Montrose battle honours were won by her WW2-era predecessor, and are as follows:

  • Atlantic (1939-1940)
  • Dunkirk (1940)
  • Arctic (1942-1943)
  • North Sea (1942-1944)
  • English Channel (1943-1944)
  • Normandy (1944)

The honours board for that ship can be seen on board the preserved frigate HMS Unicorn, alongside in Dundee.[3]

Operational history[edit]

Service in 1990s and early 2000s[edit]

Deployments in the 1990s include her first trip to the South Atlantic, as Falkland Islands Guardship, which ended in October 1996. Her first visit to the City of Dundee was in 1993. Several NATO deployments followed, and in early 2002, Montrose returned to the Falklands on the now-renamed Atlantic Patrol Task (South) deployment, during which divers from Montrose replaced the White Ensign on Antelope, which was sunk during the Falklands War. On her return from this deployment, she conducted her first refit period (RP1), which was completed in early January 2004.

2004 Chicoutimi Incident[edit]

In October 2004, Montrose was one of a number of ships that was dispatched to the rescue of the stricken Canadian submarine Chicoutimi (an ex-Royal Navy Upholder-class submarine) which had suffered a number of fires on board, causing casualties and the loss of power in the submarine. Montrose was the first Royal Navy vessel to make contact with the boat and assisted the submarine.[4]

Service in late 2000s[edit]

Montrose deployed in 2006 to the Persian Gulf on Operation Telic in the first half of 2006. After returning to the UK for personnel changes and maintenance, from 8 January to 27 July 2007, Montrose then deployed for seven months to the Mediterranean Sea as the UK contribution to the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2). As part of this group, she participated in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour (OAE), countering terrorist activity in the Mediterranean and preventing smuggling and other illegal activity. After Summer Leave, the ship headed to Scotland to take part in Exercise Neptune Warrior, during which time she was visited by Prince Michael of Kent, Honorary Rear Admiral of the Royal Naval Reserve, on 24 September 2007.

Following Operational Sea Training, Montrose deployed again to the Middle East on 12 March 2008 to join Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, operating in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Activity in this deployment included Exercise KhunjarHaad, a multi-national exercise held in the Gulf of Oman,[5] and (working with Chatham, Edinburgh and RFA Argus the seizure of over 23 tonnes of drugs including cocaine, hashish, amphetamines and opiates.[6] She returned home on 3 October 2008, and after operating in UK waters, commenced a £15,000,000 upkeep package at Rosyth in early 2009.

This second refit package (RP2) included a number of major capability upgrades for the ship, including the first fitting of the Royal Navy’s newest command system, DNA(2), and the replacement of the two old manually-operated 30mm guns with two 30mm DS30M Mark 2 Guns.[7] Having rejoined the ship on 20 July 2009, the Ship's Company conducted post-refits trials until January 2010, and Montrose was formally accepted back into the Fleet on 11 February 2010.

Service in 2010s[edit]

After operational sea training Montrose deployed to Arabian Sea in Summer 2010 to conduct anti-piracy operations, highlights of which included the November 2010 destruction of a Somalian pirate ship by the ships Lynx helicopter while on patrol off the coast of Somalia and the disruption of several pirate attacks on merchant ships.[8]

In October 2011, Montrose deployed again to the South Atlantic,[9] during which she was due to visit Callao, Peru in March 2012, but the Peruvian government cancelled the visit, according to the Foreign Minister, as a gesture of solidarity with Argentina over the Falklands.[10] After visits to New Orleans and Bermuda in March and April 2012, Montrose returned to the UK in May 2012.[11] In July 2012, the ship acted as the escort vessel for HM the Queen during her Diamond Jubilee visit to Cowes.[12]

From September to November 2012, the ship participated in the COUGAR 12 deployment to the Mediterranean. In early 2013, the ship and crew underwent intensive training to return to the front line,[13] and then deployed as part of the COUGAR 13 task group in August 2013.[14] After the remainder of the COUGAR 13 task group returned to the UK, Montrose remained in the Middle East to act as the UK's frigate in the Persian Gulf under Operation KIPION, and conducted numerous exercises with allied nations, as well as UK-only training events such as the maintenance exercise with RFA Diligence.[15]

In 2014, Montrose was tasked to join Norwegian and Danish warships in Operation RECSYR - the mission to escort the merchant vessels removing the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile for destruction.[16] Having handed over to HMS Diamond, the ship arrived home in March 2014.[17] Subsequently, and after a high profile London visit to celebrate 20 years since the ship's commissioning,[18] the ship was sent to the Baltic Sea to participate in BALTOPS 14, a large scale US-led multinational exercise with participation from 30 ships and submarines from 14 nations.[19] The ship entered refit at Devonport in October 2014, and will rejoin the Fleet in 2016.[20]

Visits to Dundee and Montrose[edit]

Montrose has visited the city of Dundee on many occasions, include Easter 1997, 6–9 November 1998 (Dundee Navy Days), 9 October 2004 (for wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Admiral Adam Duncan), 4 June 2005, and 9–13 November 2006 (covering the Remembrance Sunday memorial service).

The port of Montrose is smaller than Dundee, but Montrose has been able to call in four times in her history. The first visit took place in November 1999, and has only happened three times subsequently, once in July 2002, when the ship was granted the Freedom of Angus by the Provost Mrs Frances Duncan, and marched through the town,[21] and 6 years later in November 2008, when the-then Angus Provost Ruth Melville took the salute during a Remembrance Sunday parade in which this Freedom was exercised.[22] The ship returned to Montrose in July 2014,[23] where they exercised the Freedom of Angus in front of Provost Helen Oswald,[24] as well as conducting numerous engagements in the local area.[25]

Commanding officers[edit]

As the flagship of the 6th Frigate Squadron (or F6), many of the first commanding officers of HMS Montrose were Captains, rather than Commanders, as they had administrative responsibility over all the Type 23 frigates based in Devonport. The equivalent squadron for the Portsmouth-based Type 23s was the 4th Frigate Squadron. With the abolition of the frigate and destroyer squadrons in 2002/3, and their replacement by Flotillas, command of Montrose reverted to a that of a Commander.

Of this list, three Commanding Officers have been subsequently promoted to Vice Admiral, including the husband of the Princess Royal, Timothy Laurence, who assumed command of the ship (and the 6th Frigate Squadron) on 27 August 1996.

Montrose in Dundee Docks, 1998
Montrose at dusk in Dundee Docks, 1998
Name Date
Cdr J W Arrow 1993-1995
Capt N S R Kilgour 1995-1996
Capt T J H Laurence MVO 1996-1997
Capt A R Nance OBE 1997-1998
Capt R G Cooling 1998-2000
Capt C A Johnstone-Burt OBE 2000-2001
Capt M J Parr 2001-2002
Cdr A J Webb 2003-2005
Cdr A J L Watt OBE 2005-2007
Cdr A L Hogben 2007-2008
Cdr J M Lowther 2009
Cdr W J Warrender 2009
Cdr J D Lett 2009-2012
Cdr J M B Parkin 2012-2014

(decorations and ranks detailed at the time of being in Command, and do not reflect subsequent promotions, or honours and awards)

Ten of the former Commanding Officers were reunited on board Montrose on 30 May 2014 at a lunch held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ship's commissioning, when they were invited on board while the ship was in London; the ship's sponsor, Lady Rifkind, also attended.[26]

Prizes and Awards[edit]

At the end of 2014, HMS Montrose was awarded the Fleet Effectiveness Trophy for best frigate in the Royal Navy in 2014.[27]



  1. ^ Royal Navy Frigates: Type 23 Frigate,
  2. ^ "HMNB Devonport". 
  3. ^ "The Frigate Unicorn". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  4. ^ - Fire on the HMCS Chicoutimi Timetable of Events[dead link]
  5. ^ Lt. (j.g.) Courtney Thraen, USN (8 August 2008). "USS Momsen Visits Cyprus". NNS080805-04. USS Momsen Public Affairs. Retrieved 27 December 2010. 
  6. ^ "South West Royal Navy Ships Seize 23 Tonnes of Drugs in Gulf.". Royal Navy. 13 July 2008. 
  7. ^ "Scott, Richard, ''ASCG enhances Type 23 close-in defence'', International Defence Review, 30 October 2007". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  8. ^ "Marines on HMS Montrose destroy Somali pirate boat". The Courier. 26 November 2010. 
  9. ^ "Montrose begins six-month stint in the South Atlantic". Royal Navy. 25 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Peru cancels Royal Navy visit over Falklands". BBC News. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Ministry of Defence (2012-05-15). "HMS MONTROSE returns home". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  12. ^ "A 'Rose for Her Majesty - retrieved 17 August 12". 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  13. ^ "HMS Montrose". Royal Navy. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  14. ^ Ministry of Defence (2013-08-08). "Royal Navy set for Cougar 13 - News stories". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ HMS Montrose to assist in removal of chemical stocks from Syria
  17. ^ HMS Montrose returns to Plymouth
  18. ^ HMS Montrose hosts Princess Anne
  19. ^ Royal Navy warship sent to Baltic Seas amid Ukraine tension
  20. ^ Babcock starts HMS Montrose upgrade programme - 15 October 14
  21. ^ Montrose celebrates with Nautical Namesake
  22. ^ Warship Returns to Freedom Town - BBC News Nov 08
  23. ^ Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose visits Angus namesake
  24. ^ HMS Montrose crew in town for freedom parade
  25. ^ Bon voyage — HMS Montrose bids farewell to Angus after six-day visit
  26. ^ HMS Montrose Celebrated Two Decades of Service
  27. ^ Navy salutes its Surface Fleet class of 2014 by naming best ships and units - 23 Dec 14
  • HMS Montrose Type 23 Frigate guide. Directorate of Public Relations (Royal Navy). Printed in UK for HMSO by Roman Press Ltd, Bournemouth. Crown Copyright 1995, London.
  • Devonport Navy Days guide 1999

External links[edit]