Famous warship arrives

A CRIME-fighting warship that has served as the base for a new television series has docked in the waters of its adopted town.Royal Navy frigate HMS Grafton arrived yesterday in Ipswich, the town it is affiliated with, for a five-day visit after a two-year absence.

A CRIME-fighting warship that has served as the base for a new television series has docked in the waters of its adopted town.

Royal Navy frigate HMS Grafton arrived yesterday in Ipswich, the town it is affiliated with, for a five-day visit after a two-year absence.

The frigate's crew, who have the freedom of the town, will march through the centre at 4pm tomorrow with the men and women of 4 Regiment Army Corps, who received the award last year.

Commander Richard Thomas, captain of HMS Grafton, said: "We have been trying to get Grafton into Ipswich throughout my time in command and I am delighted, therefore, that we are finally in a position to do so.


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"Ipswich is our spiritual home and the crew see it as their home from home. We feel we belong here.

"We have all been looking forward to this visit immensely and I hope that many local people can come and see their warship and meet the sailors who make up their ship's company.

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"We are extremely proud of our affiliation with Ipswich and will look to do all we can this week to foster and build on the strong relationships we already enjoy."

Meanwhile, five hospitality students from Suffolk College and West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds have been getting a taste of Navy life – by joining chefs in the galley of HMS Grafton.

John Cardwell, 22, from Ipswich, who studies at Suffolk College, enjoyed his experience as they sailed from Hull on the three-day trip.

He said: "We learned a lot about how the ship works and that to be a Navy chef you also need to learn firefighting, first aid and many other skills. The job is more than one role.

"The ship is actually quite spacious and the beds are comfortable, which was good as the work was very tiring and we slept a great deal. I didn't think the Navy life was for me, but now I have seen it from a different point of view."

HMS Grafton hit the headlines last year when it was involved in a multi-million dollar operation intercepting drug-runners in Caribbean waters – seizing cocaine worth $100million in one raid alone.

The warship is now claiming fame once more as the backdrop for a new Carlton television drama, Making Waves, which stars Alex Ferns and Emily Hamilton.

The frigate, cast as HMS Suffolk, has – together with her crew – received a full makeover for the show.

Crewman Gary Barber, from Woodbridge, even managed to appear as an extra in some of the scenes.

"It is nice to come back and have the opportunity to show my friends and family what we do," he said.

HMS Grafton will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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