A local sailor is in Baltimore to join Americans in a week-long commemorative event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the US National Anthem.
Able Seaman Martin Conway, 26, from Seaford, is a sailor on board HMS Argyll, a Plymouth-based Royal Navy Type 23 frigate. He attended Seaford Head Community College and joined the Navy in 2009.
During their time in Baltimore, Martin has played an integral part in several commemorative events including ceremonies at Fort McHenry and a service to honour the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.
Martin also welcomed VIPs and members of the general public on board Argyll and explained the daily work and showed what the Royal Navy is capable of doing worldwide.
As HMS Argyll entered the harbour with Martin standing to attention on the upper deck, there was an impressive 21-gun salute between the frigate and Fort McHenry – whose bombardment by the guns of the Royal Navy two centuries ago inspired the words of the United States’ national song.
Those events in 1814 have prompted the seven-day Star Spangled Spectacular – firework displays, concerts, air shows, tall ships and three dozen warships from the host nation plus its many friends and allies around the world, including Canada, Norway, Turkey, Germany and HMS Argyll representing the UK all gathered in the port city.
Martin, who is a Communication Information Specialist on Argyll, looks after the IT and communication systems on board. He said, “Of the three deployments I have been involved in, coming to places like Baltimore has been the most enjoyable.”
As for Argyll, she has spent much of the summer working hand-in-hand with US forces on counter-drugs patrols in the Caribbean, notably seizing £25m ($41m US) of drugs and arrested five suspected smugglers. The ship will remain in the Caribbean until December 2014, resuming her counter-narcotic operations as well as responding to calls for assistance in the wake of any natural disasters as the hurricane season is now upon the region.
Martin said, “It has been a real honour to represent the Royal Navy at such a prestigious event.”