St Helens sailor part of historic last journey

Leading Seaman Specialist David Gee at work
Leading Seaman Specialist David Gee at work

A ST Helens sailor has made history by serving as a crew member on board the last of the Royal Navy’s Type 42 destroyers.

Leading Seaman (Seaman Specialist) David Gee was a member of the Ship’s Company at HMS Edinburgh when she entered Portsmouth Harbour for the final time before she is officially decommissioned on June 6.

It was an emotional journey for Leading Seaman Gee as the vessel undertook a Farewell Tour of the UK visiting London, her affiliated city of Edinburgh and the city where she was built, Liverpool, before heading home to Portsmouth.

Type 42s were built for the Royal Navy in the 1970s and 80s, and at 30 years old Edinburgh is last in class and being decommissioned to make way for new state-of-the-art Type 45 destroyers.

The 28-year-old, who was raised in Rainford and now lives in St Helens, said: “I joined the Navy five years ago already trained as an engineer because I wanted to see the world and experience new challenges and the Navy has certainly offered all of that.

“My Navy career has so far revolved around Type 42s having previously served in HMS Exeter and York so being in Edinburgh for her decommissioning is a bit emotional for me and I am sad to see the end of the class.”

Leading Seaman Gee, who is a keen rugby league player and was previously a member of Saints under 21 squad as well as Thatto Heath Crusaders, has continued his passion for the sport in the Navy.

He added: “When I first joined I said I played rugby league and was almost immediately snapped up by the Navy First team. I love the game and there is a real passion for it in the Armed Forces and I have played in leagues against the Army and RAF as well as teams from New Zealand and Australia. My granddad was an Army veteran and before he died he always said how proud he was that I had decided to join the Navy.”

As part of the Farewell Tour, HMS Edinburgh took part in Battle of the Atlantic 70th anniversary events in London and Liverpool where the Ship’s Company had the opportunity to host open days and meet with veterans.

LS Gee was on of those who met with war veterans.

Upon HMS Edinburgh’s decommissioning LS Gee will be redeployed to one of the new Type 45 destroyers.