Gravesend sailor’s homeward bound

PUBLISHED: 09:45 24 February 2011

HMS Westminster

HMS Westminster


A Royal Navy engineer was due to sail past his hometown on board HMS Westminster this week as the ship and its crew take part in an historical handover of rum.

Petty Officer Darren Fuller, 29, will accompany The type 23 frigate as it passes Gravesend, under pilot, and on to Canary Wharf, where it will berth until Monday, February 28.

The ship, which last year had a multi-million pound refit, recently completed an operational sea training period and is returning to take part in the historical Ceremony of the Constables Dues at the Tower of London on Friday.

Dating back centuries the tradition sees the captain of the visiting warship hand over a barrel of rum as recompense for the safety provided along the river by the Tower’s guns.

Mr Fuller said: “I’m really looking forward to sailing up the River Thames and into London, it’s a real homecoming for me and an excellent opportunity to play a part in the Tower of London’s rich heritage.”

Born in Gravesend, he joined the Navy in 2002 after 
completing his apprenticeship at Kenard Engineering in Dartford.

His responsibilities onboard include maintaining chilled water plants that cool the sophisticated weapon and sensor systems. At Action Stations, or in an emergency, he also conducts fire fighting and damage control.

While in London Petty 
Officer Fuller will celebrate his 30th birthday.

At the end of the month the ship will be deployed to safeguard UK interests at sea.

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