Victim of defence cuts goes back to birthplace

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One of the Royal Navy ships to be decommissioned following cuts to the defence budget is paying her final visit to the river on which she was built.

HMS Chatham sailed into North Shields on the River Tyne yesterday for a four-day visit to Tyneside.

It was the frigate's final visit to a UK port before she returns to her base port of Devonport in Plymouth for the final time at the end of this month.

This will be followed by her official de-commissioning ceremony in February.

The ship's commanding officer, Commander Simon Huntingdon, was raised in Cumbria and spent several years in Newcastle studying at Newcastle University before returning with the Royal Navy to command HMS Example and the Northumbrian Universities Royal Naval Unit.

He said: "This short visit – to an area that I know very well – will be tinged with sadness as this will be HMS Chatham's final visit to the Tyne, the place where she was built by Swan Hunters."