Gallery: Warship makes its mark on Ipswich

MARITIME history was made at Orwell Quay as Ipswich welcomed the first visit of the town's affiliated ship HMS Quorn.

MARITIME history was made at Orwell Quay as Ipswich welcomed the first visit of the town's affiliated ship HMS Quorn.

The 750 tonne Hunt Class Mine Hunter was greeted by civic dignitaries at Harwich, in what the ship's captain described as a “remarkable inauguration,” as it began a four day visit to the county on Friday.

The 44-strong crew allowed visitors an exclusive look onboard HMS Quorn, which became Ipswich's affiliated ship when HMS Grafton was decommissioned in 2006.

Harwich all-weather lifeboat accompanied Quorn for part of the journey up the River Orwell before Mayor of Ipswich, David Hale, welcomed the captain, Lieutenant Commander Tim Neild, to shore.

Capt Neild said: “We are very proud to be affiliating HMS Quorn with Ipswich.

“It has been absolutely fantastic and a really important time for the ship, particularly because Ipswich is the only affiliated town we can actually sail into.

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“The crew had a cracking time meeting hundreds of visitors onboard.”

On Saturday afternoon a team of select crewmembers was chosen to take on a Suffolk Police XI, in a charity football match, at Whitton Sports Centre.

Capt Neild was delighted to see his crew get the better of the police in a 3-1 victory, with Chief Petty Officer Fiona Fullerton grabbing two of the goals. “It was absolutely outstanding,” said Capt Neild.

“It was a well-spirited affair and the police were great hosts.”

The crew also took part in a 48-hour “row-a-thon” as they left Portsmouth until they berthed in Ipswich, to raise funds for the RNLI and a presentation was made to the charity's regional fundraising team when they arrived.

A mayoral procession was led throught the streets of Ipswich on Sunday afternoon from the Town Hall to St Mary-le-Tower Church. The mayor was joined by Capt Neild and his crew as well as members of the Boys Brigade band.

HMS Quorn is now preparing for operational sea training in Scotland before crossing the Atlantic in July.

Capt Neild said: “We will leave Ipswich with a heavy heart but hope to take the town along with us by keeping in regular contact along the way.”

n. Did you go on board HMS Quorn? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email

Fast facts: HMS Quorn

HMS Quorn was built in Southampton and launched on January 23 1988

The ship is named after the Leicestershire Hunt

HMS Quorn is a Hunt class Mine Countermeasures Vessel, measuring 60 metres long with a beam of 10m and a displacement of 750 tonnes. It carries two general purpose machine guns, along with a 30mm and two 20mm guns.

The ship performs the dual role of minesweeping and hunting in one hull

Many of the crew are clearance divers who swim to mines in order to place explosives.