HMS Portland was built on the Clyde and was launched by the Ship’s Sponsor, Lady Heather Brigstocke on 15 May 1999. She was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 3 May 2001. The Branch were honoured to be invited to the commissioning ceremony, with Shipmates: President Sam Bartholomew, Chairman Bill McMurray, and Dan and Maureen Sherren attending.
Under the command of Captain Paul Stroude, Royal Navy, in March 2017 HMS Portland completed a 38,000 mile, nine-month patrol of the Mediterranean and Gulf, the Indian, North and South Atlantic and Pacific Oceans supporting the international naval mission clamping down on smuggling, trafficking, terrorism and piracy. A photo gallery of the ships deployment has been created.
During the ship’s visit to Freetown, Sierra Leone in February 2017 HMS Portland’s ships company volunteered for two days at the Heaven Home and Saint Georges Foundation orphanages, read more here.
Trafalgar Day at 2005
On Trafalgar Day, 21st October 2005, the Branch were honoured to be invited on-board HMS Portland for a day at sea and transit from Devonport to Portland. Stuart Morris, a member of the branch and a well known local historian, has kindly given us permission to show his excellent video of the days events here.
The “Portland Plate”
In 2006 the Branch commissioned a silver server to endow to HMS Portland as an annual award to a member of the ship’s company who had performed over and above their normal duty. The server (then to be known as the Portland Plate) has been awarded ever since.
RNA Portland Annual Dinner 2015
Having been hosted by HMS Portland during a recent visit to their affiliated port we were able to reciprocate on the 11th of April 2015 by having the pleasure of the Commanding Officer Captain Simon Asquithe OBE Royal Navy, accompanied by his wife Jane as our honoured guests.
Captain Asquithe made a presentation of a signed copy of the celebrated reference book “The Royal Navy Day-by-Day” In response the Captain was given a hand blown whiskey tumbler and single malt, which he was most pleased with.
The event was well attended by over 70 branch members enjoying good food, good company and dancing through to the early hours.Affiliation goes back to 3 May 2001 when we were proud to be invited to attend the ship commissioning ceremony at HM Naval Base Devonport.
Since then we have enjoyed a very close relationship with this fine ship taking advantage of some enjoyable days at sea and capability demonstrations during the frequent ship visits to Portland. Whenever possible members of the ship’s company attend our Remembrance Sunday service at the Portland cenotaph and retire for refreshments in true Naval tradition.
Top of our list of invitees for our annual dinners is of course the current Commanding officer, and when ship tasking allows they have never let us down. One such event was on the occasion of our 50th anniversary where we presented the Captain with an endowed silver waiter to reward any member of the crew for outstanding achievement.
This tradition continued through 2015 with the current Commanding Officer Captain Simon Asquith OBE accompanied by his good lady wife Jane attended our annual dinner as our honoured guests, also from the ship was the Executive Warrant Officer Steve Thorpe and his wife Kerry. The dinner was a great success.
In July shipmates from the Portland Branch are invited to spend the day at sea with the ship to experience what the navy gets up to these days.