Souvenir of Navy’s role against Gaddafi in No 10

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A shell case from a round used by a Royal Navy destroyer against pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya will now take pride of place in No 10 – as the Prime Minister’s umbrella stand.

The casing was presented to David Cameron by the crew of HMS Liverpool after he invited 120 servicemen and women from across the Armed Forces to a reception in Downing Street to recognise their actions in Libya.

Mr Cameron said the sailors, marines and air crew who took part in the operation had shown “incredible courage, professionalism and dedication”.

He said: “I can’t tell you what a thrill it is having sat, day after day – 68 meetings – in some bunker and we were talking about ‘Will the minesweeper get through to Misrata?’ “Well, I’ve now met the people that were sailing on it.

“We were talking about how HMS Liverpool was getting on, trying to stop Gaddafi in Tripoli – I’ve now met not only the captain of that ship, but he’s very kindly given me my proudest possession: one of the shell casings that was fired in anger that is now going to be an umbrella stand in the Cameron household.”

He added: “We are no strangers to what Gaddafi was capable of.

“He murdered the police officer on the streets of London.

“He managed to blow up an airliner over the skies of Lockerbie. He gave Semtex to the IRA.

“Our world is safer, our nation is safer if more countries make the transition from dictatorship to democracy.