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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Remembrance role for crew of HMS Walney

A WARSHIP with a special link to Barrow has sailed into town to coincide with Remembrance Day events.

The Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Walney is now berthed at Buccleuch Dock East near Morrisons and will be open to members of the public tomorrow from 10am to 3pm.

Then on Sunday, 25 members of the ship’s company will join locals outside Barrow Town Hall to pay their respects during the Remembrance Day memorial, as part of the guard for the day’s parade.

Also during the 550-tonne ship’s four-day stay, the crew will welcome pupils on board from local schools and colleges, including Barrow Sixth Form College who will be given a demonstration of the capabilities of HMS Walney.

Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tim Green, said: “For my ship’s company and I, our visit marks a welcome homecoming as the ship enjoys strong links to her affiliated town of Barrow.

“Although this is a sombre occasion as I, along with others from my ship’s company, pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price for their country, we look forward, too, to welcoming the people of Barrow on board and to the traditional warm North West welcome.”

As one of eight Sandown Class Mine Countermeasure Vessels, considered to be one of the best mine hunters in the world, HMS Walney is part of the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron based at HM Naval Base Clyde on the west coast of Scotland.

Walney and her sister ships have been given the task of helping to keep ports and coastal shipping lanes free from the threat of mining, an essential part of successful maritime operations.

Continued mine countermeasure operations are still important as hundreds of mines, bombs and torpedoes from the Second World War are still washed up around the coast of the British Isles every year.

Modern mines can be triggered not only by collision but also by the sound of the ship passing through the water or by the magnetic signature of the ship’s hull, which means modern mine hunters have to be very sophisticated. Their hulls are made from glass-reinforced plastic and even the buckets on board are made from non-magnetic materials.

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