Hundreds braved the rain to see the crew of the HMS Enterprise exercise the freedom of Tiverton this weekend.
The Royal Navy vessel returned home to Plymouth after three years at sea on Tuesday, April 18, and her crew of more than 50 were joined by the Royal Marine Corps of Drums and members of Tiverton Sea Cadets in a parade through the town centre on Sunday, April 30.
Starting at Tiverton Pannier Market, the crew paraded with the Queen’s Colour in full ceremonial uniform with swords and rifles fitted with bayonets. The Mayor of Tiverton, Councillor Steve Flaws also gave an inspection of the crew.
HMS Enterprise has been affiliated with Tiverton for her whole life in service, beginning when she was commissioned in October 2003. A part of this affiliation was the granting of the freedom of the city by the town council.
Cllr Flaws said: “What a great honour it is for me as mayor of Tiverton to welcome to our town the members of our adopted ship and the Royal Marine Band.
“A couple of weeks ago, I actually had the pleasure of visiting the ship in Plymouth and sailing down to Falmouth. It was a fabulous day out and one that I will always remember. During this trip I learnt about the important work the Royal Navy does to protect our shores and its humanitarian work across the globe. Specifically, I discovered that over the last few years, HMS Enterprise has rescued many thousands of refugees and has probably saved many of those people from drowning.
“I believe that we should all be proud of the work done by HMS Enterprise and I trust we will all continue to develop stronger links between the town and the ship. These wonderful events do not happen very often so I feel highly privileged that this has happened during my year as mayor.”
Commanding Officer of the HMS Enterprise Philip Harper, who joined HMS Enterprise in November 2016 and has spent more than 25 years in the Royal Navy added: “I am humbled and honoured by the reception we have been given in Tiverton. My ship’s company have homes all over the UK and indeed as far afield as New Zealand and the US, but for the ship herself, Tiverton represents home – a home more fondly remembered for being visited so rarely.
“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the citizens of our great country, who keep the home fires burning and allow us to protect the nation’s interests abroad, at range. And this beautiful county of Devon does more than its fair share – it is home to half of the Royal Navy and most of the Royal Marines.For hundreds of years, Devon has supplied the best sailors in the world including Drake and Raleigh, and good a good many serving today in Enterprise.
“For today we thank the Mayor and the Town Council, and all those who have worked so hard to prepare. Most particularly we thank the people of Tiverton for their warm welcome and ongoing support. I’d also like to pay tribute to the Sea cadet Corps, led by Chief Petty Officer Mikki Chubb for all their good work with the young people of the town.
“Thank you Tiverton, and please go on making this town, county and country a place well worth coming home to.”