May 2 2012 by John Sutton, Heswall News
THOUSANDS of people went “all aboard” to welcome the Royal Navy’s newest ship to the Mersey.
HMS Dragon opened up her decks to the public during last weekend’s visit .
And the Type 45 Destroyer, only commissioned into service just over a fortnight ago, played host to more than 2,600 wellwishers from both sides of the river.
It was an extra special visit for dad-of-two Christopher Brown.
The 38-year-old, from Bebington, has served 20 years in the Senior Service – and this was the first time he had sailed up the Mersey in a warship.
He said: “It gets to you when you sail up and see the waterfronts.
“And it’s been great for my mum and dad to be able to see this too.
“I have only got a couple of years left in the Navy and it was fantastic to have the chance to come up the Mersey in one of my ships.”
On the flight deck, families posed for pictures beside the ship’s Lynx helicopter.
HMS Dragon’s primary role is to shield the fleet from air attack using the Sea Viper missile, which can knock targets out of the sky up to 70 miles away if necessary, but she can also carry up to 60 Royal Marines.
Lieutenant Commander Kevin Miller, a senior crew member, said the ship’s visit had been a resounding success.
He said: “We had a really impressive turnout from the people of Merseyside to see the ship, and we’ve had a hugely successful visit.
“The ship’s company enjoyed a very hospitable welcome by the people of the city, who were interested to learn about the ship and her role in the Royal Navy.
“Many had been on board HMS Liverpool a few weeks ago before she decommissioned, and were astounded at the leap in technological advancement.
“We have some fine memories of this visit and will be looking forward to returning to the Mersey.”