HMS Montrose sets sail after further strengthening her links with Angus during a six-day visit.
The Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate sailed into the harbour at Montrose on Tuesday for the fourth time in 20 years.
The visit to Montrose was the final time the ship will visit anywhere outside its base port for some time as she is now preparing for a refit later this year.
During this 12-month maintenance period, extensive upgrades to the ship’s combat and weapons systems are planned, as well as the deep routine engineering work not possible when the ship is at sea.
With bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying, the ship’s company, led by the band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland, marched the full length of the High Street on Wednesday.
HMS Montrose opened its gangway to the public on Thursday before a marching platoon joined colleagues from the army and RAF in Dundee’s Armed Forces Day parade on Saturday.
The crew further strengthened the ship’s links with her namesake town during the visit, including with schoolchildren, who have a strong bond with the ship.
In the middle of the crew’s whirlwind round of activity during the Angus visit, the ship’s commanding officer, Commander James Parkin, found time to make the short walk from where his vessel was berthed to visit the statue of Second World War canine hero Bamse.
Accompanied by St Bernard, Benson, Cdr Parkin laid a wreath of remembrance at the feet of the Wharf Street monument to the dog, in memory of Bamse and all who served alongside British and Norwegian forces in Angus in the Second World War.
St Bernard Bamse left Norway aboard the minesweeper Thorodd with his owner, Captain Erling Hafto, and spent time in Dundee and Montrose during the war.
As a full member of the crew of the Thorodd, he served until his death in Montrose in July 1944. He became an Allied forces’ mascot and a symbol of resistance for the free Norwegian forces.
Bamse guarded his ship and looked after his shipmates, saving the lives of two of them, and was later awarded the PDSA gold medal.
Cdr Parkin said: “We are delighted to have brought HMS Montrose into port here for the first time in six years, and we are so pleased with the welcome we have received from the people of Angus.
“Everyone on board has come to learn about sea dog Bamse, especially as there is a miniature statue of him on display in my cabin.
“It is with sadness that we cannot be here at the same time as the Royal Norwegian Coast Guard visit and the commemoration events planned for July 21, but I am delighted we have had this opportunity to pay our respects to this extraordinary animal.”
The 70th anniversary of the death of the Allied forces’ mascot on July 24, is being marked by an event at Wharf Street on July 21, starting at 10.30am and open to all.
HMS Montrose was conferred the town’s freedom in 2002 and is marking its 20th year in service with the Royal Navy, having been built on the Clyde in 1992 and commissioned in 1994.
Earlier this year, Montrose was operating off the coast of Syria as part of the Danish-led Operation RECSYR, the UN mission tasked with escorting and protecting merchant ships carrying the ingredients that had been used by the Syrian regime to manufacture chemical weapons.