HMS Diamond: Portsmouth destroyer deployed to join NATO’s response to Russian invasion of Ukraine

HMS Diamond was deployed last week to stand by in the Mediterranean as part of NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She left Portsmouth at midday on Friday February 25, following several delays caused by Storm Eunice and reported ‘minor repairs’.

As previously reported by HampshireLive, the Type 45 destroyer will join offshore patrol vessel HMS Trent in the Eastern Mediterranean with four other RAF Typhoon jets also deployed to Cyprus to assist with NATO patrols in Eastern Europe.

READ MORE: Portsmouth’s HMS Prince of Wales will take part in a massive NATO exercise

Families of Diamond’s crew kept them away from the harbor walls, including the family of Chief Petty Officer Sean Baldwin, 35, from Havant, Hampshire.

Her children could be heard shouting “I love you daddy” as the warship passed.

His mother, Beverley Baldwin, told the PA News Agency: ‘We are really proud of them all. We are pretty worried and worried and we just have to support him and hope they all come back safe and sound.

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HMS Diamond returned to Portsmouth in December 2021, the same day HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to her home port.

The Type 45 destroyer left Portsmouth in May last year as part of a nine-ship force, accompanying the Royal Navy flagship on its first deployment to the Pacific and back.

HMS Diamond was part of the defensive circle of ships around the 65,000 ton aircraft carrier, fulfilling its primary role, watching for threats from the air.

Described as the Royal Navy’s largest peacetime deployment in a generation, Britain’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) visited more than 40 countries during its seven months at sea.

It was an emotional scene at Portsmouth Naval Base on December 9, 2021 as families greeted their loved ones in time for the festive period.

Speaking after his return, the Diamond’s executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Tom Leonard, said: “It has been a long but rewarding deployment where we have accomplished a lot as part of the Carrier Strike Group.

“We have taken HMS Diamond further east than it has ever been before – all against the backdrop of Covid and other challenges.

“As always, the whole ship handled everything thrown at it with good humor and hard work, and I’m incredibly proud of the team for all they’ve achieved. I really look forward to spending time with my wife, my children
and dogs during the holiday season.

During her time with CSG, HMS Diamond had the chance to shine away from the task force, playing the UK’s lead role with key Commonwealth powers in the large-scale exercise Bersama Gold off the peninsula discomfort in October 2021.

She also had a key mission in support of Operation Shader – operations against Daesh in the Middle East. In addition to warning of threats in the sky, the destroyer is also capable of directing the operations of the carrier’s F-35 stealth fighters.

The deployment took Diamond farther east – and south (including her first crossing of the equator) – than ever before in her decade-long career.

Since commissioning in 2011, HMS Diamond has covered a reported distance 181,228 nautical miles.

It is one of six Type 45 (Daring-class) destroyers currently active. Among them is HMS Defender, which also left Portsmouth last week.

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