The sailors are now taking a period of leave before returning to the Gulf next spring.Dec 24th · 1 min read
The crew of HMS Montrose, one the Royal Navy's Type 23 Frigates, have returned home for Christmas.The crew of the vessel, which is permanently stationed in the Gulf, returned to the UK over the weekend after a four-month deployment.The ship is deployed to the region to protect ships travelling through the Strait of Hormuz, as well as tackling terrorism in the area. Before flying back home, sailors were thanked First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin for their vital work.During their four-month deployment, the crew escorted more than 30 British merchant ships through the narrow Strait which at times this year has been at the centre of international political tensions. Every four months, the 200 sailors and Royal Marines on board HMS Montrose swap with a UK-based crew.The third and final exchange of Montrose crews for the year took place just before Christmas.Commander Ollie Hucker, Commanding Officer of the Port Crew, said: "We are now looking forward to spending Christmas with our families, regenerating in the New Year and returning to the area of operations in 2020."HMS Montrose escorts tanker Hellepont Pride through the Strait of Hormuz (Picture: Royal Navy).The sailors are now taking a period of leave before beginning another period of training to prepare them for a return to the Gulf in spring next year. Around 11,000 UK Armed Forces personnel will be working on operations overseas during the Christmas period.14 British naval assets will be at sea during the festive season, while troops are involved in 35 operations in more than 30 countries across the world including, Somalia, Estonia and Afghanistan.Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Over the festive period we should all take a moment to be grateful for the selflessness of our Armed Forces personnel and their families at this time of year."Cover Image: HMS Montrose's crew prior to flying back to the UK (Picture: Royal Navy).