HMS Trenchant has arrived in her patrol area for the next few months after a 29-day passage from her home in Devonport.
The T-boat has taken over from her sister Triumph as the Silent Service’s duty boat east of Suez – and aside from her torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles, she has a secret weapon: Echo the Duck.
YOU’RE never too old to take to the water with rubber ducky.
Not even if you’re a grizzled submariner in the middle of the ocean.
Crew from Her Majesty’s Submarine Trenchant enjoy a traditional ‘hands to bathe’ with the hunter-killer boat’s mascot, a rare chance to relax for the men after a 29-day passage from Devonport to the Middle East.
The third of the Royal Navy’s five Trafalgar-class submarines has reached the waters she will furtively sail for the next few months, taking over as Britain’s on-call boat east of Suez from her sister HMS Triumph.
Like Triumph before her, Trenchant is blessed with a mascot. Triumph was donated a teddy by Triumph motorcycles and, as befitting his pedigree, ‘Rocky’ had a leather jacket, enjoyed sport and the odd drink…
…whereas Trenchant’s lucky symbol is content to just bob along on the rare occasions when the submarine surfaces.
The duck was donated to the nuclear-powered boat by the affiliated Sea Cadet unit, TS Echo, who visited the submarine shortly before its departure.
The rare appearance on the surface also afforded a barbecue on the casing and, for those who prefer tales of war and derring do, plenty of gunnery practice for the general purpose machine-gun.
The journey east featured trials and calibrations to ready the submarine for maritime security operations, with Trenchant conducting an extensive training package including weapons integration with US forces.
It also allowed seven members of the crew to receive the coveted dolphins – a submariner’s badge of honour which sets him aside from general service sailors, earned for completing the Submarine Qualification (or SMQ) which demonstrates that he understands not merely his own trade (such as chef or sonar operator) but the fundamentals of every compartment and piece of kit aboard Trenchant.
The boat will now enjoy a short break in Fujairah to prepare for forthcoming operations. This time will include equipment maintenance as well as some well-deserved rest for the crew.
Once back on patrol Trenchant will take her place in a multi-national task force in support of Royal Naval operations in the region, providing security at sea and protecting the economy of the UK.