When a Royal Navy ship is launched, large numbers of dignitaries are invited for the ceremony; Royal Navy officers, politicians, senior members of the Defence Industry, members of the yard which built the ship etc. It is common for all those who are connected to the ship to be given a small souvenir of the momentous occasion, often in the form of a china mug with details of the ship and the company who built it. Today we have a pair of mugs from two Type 45 destroyers:
The first of these two mugs is for HMS Defender and has the ship’s badge, featuring a rapier and shield, on the front:
The rear has details of the launch and the company that built the ship, BVT Surface Fleet:
The date chosen for Defender’s launch is also significant, as the 21st October is Trafalgar Day- a fitting day to launch any Royal Naval vessel.
The second mug is for HMS Duncan and this ship’s badge is a light infantry bugle:
HMS Duncan was built by BAE Systems and was launched just under a year after her classmate HMS Duncan:
The BBC reported on the launch of HMS Duncan:
The champagne bottle smashes, the chains roar and thousands of tonnes of metal slide into the Clyde.
It is a scene which has been repeated hundreds of times over the past two centuries. But high tide on Monday afternoon could mark the end of this spectacular tradition. A 7,500-tonne destroyer, HMS Duncan, may be the last ship to go rattling and splashing into the river. Named after Admiral Duncan, who defeated the Dutch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797, HMS Duncan is the sixth and final Type 45 destroyer to be built at Govan for the Royal Navy.
The next generation of warships will not have such a grand entrance, even if they survive the government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, expected later this month. The hull sections of two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers being built at BAE Systems Surface Ship’s yard at Govan will be sent by barge to Rosyth, in Fife, for assembly. And the Type 26 frigate, which is still at the design stage, is to be constructed in purpose-built docks and floated out. So HMS Duncan may be afforded a place in history simply by making the short journey across the River Clyde for outfitting at Scotstoun.
When we stepped aboard a few days before the launch, the operations room was abuzz with activity. A worker in a white helmet and protective glasses popped his head up from a hatch in the floor. Another man was drilling a plate onto the wall. A third was climbing a ladder and feeding cable to yet another colleague, hidden among the electrical spaghetti. In all, some 400 people were working on the ship. But only a handful will be on board when the champagne crashes into the bow, signalling a descent into the water at five metres per second. Lyn Gordon, 23, an apprentice fabricator from Greenock, will be one of them. “I’m there as a safety precaution,” she explained. “I’ll be standing up on deck on the ship as it’s going into the water. Red flag for no, white flag for yes. I’m hoping it’s a white flag and I’m hoping I stay pretty dry.” Like many of her colleagues, Ms Gordon is then due to transfer to work on the aircraft carriers.