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Hunt Visitor Brings Out the Foxes As Leicester City Turns Into Sea of Blue

17th May 2016
Sailors and 'Fighting Foxes' football team! of HMS Atherstone that visited Dublin at the weekend, are seen earlier this month to cheer and celebrate Leicester City Football Club’s triumph. Sailors and 'Fighting Foxes' football team! of HMS Atherstone that visited Dublin at the weekend, are seen earlier this month to cheer and celebrate Leicester City Football Club’s triumph. Photo: Royal Navy

#LeicesterBlue – A Royal Navy ‘Hunt’ class minehunter equipped with Sea-Fox mine-disposal team departed Dublin Port yesterday, the same day in which across the Irish Sea the City of Leicester also turned into a sea of blue, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The ‘Foxes’, the fans of Leicester City F.C. celebrated their championship of the Premier League title success as more than 240,000 people gathered in the city to watch the team’s open-top bus parade.

Crew members of HMS Atherstone (M38) which visited Dublin Port at the weekend until departing yesterday, had previously celebrated the historic and spectacular victory by beating Everton on 7 May. The club were 5,000-1 to win the title at the start of season.

It was during the game that sailors of HMS Atherstone a mine counter measures vessel (MCMV) while on a northbound transit through UK waters, cheer and celebrate Leicester City Football Club’s triumph.

In the latter half of 2015, Leicester City stepped in and sent out a new strip for Crew 4 following a call to assist with their old torn kit. The football team nicknamed the 'The Fighting Foxes' on board the 685 tonnes displacement vessel were then on a deployment in the Gulf. 

HMS Atherstone, whose affiliated town is just 20 miles from Leicester, have found since inheriting the playing kit, that they have enjoyed a long spell of good luck including their 7000nm transit home from Bahrain last year arriving home just before Christmas.

Published in Naval Visits
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.

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