Warship makes final visit to town

HMS Grafton is making its final official visit to Ipswich this week before being decommissioned.In what is expected to be a fond farewell to its affiliated town, there will be a series of event and activities between July 7 and 13 to thank the town for its support over the past nine years.

HMS Grafton is making its final official visit to Ipswich this week before being decommissioned.

In what is expected to be a fond farewell to its affiliated town, there will be a series of event and activities between July 7 and 13 to thank the town for its support over the past nine years.

In that time the ship has sailed more than 250,000 miles, had six commanding officers, been involved in operations in all the oceans of the world and taken the town's name to more than 25 countries.

Speaking about the visit, the vessel's Commander Robert Bellfield – a former Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge, and Framlingham College pupil, said: "This visit is a celebration of the excellent relationship that Ipswich has forged with HMS Grafton.


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"It is fitting that we are visiting during Veterans Awareness Week, which honours and remembers the sacrifice made by so many during World War II and so soon after the International Fleet Review; this visit recognises the strong naval heritage and maritime tradition that exists in the region."

HMS Grafton will arrive in Ipswich at 1pm on Thursday following a short visit to Antwerp.

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There will be a Freedom of the Borough parade on Saturday when the crew, veterans, cadets and more than 100 soldiers and officers from Wattisham-based 4 Regiment Army Air Corps will be marching through Ipswich.

A full programme of events is also being co-ordinated with Ipswich Borough Council, while members of the public will be able to visit the ship on July 10 and 11 afternoons at Cliff Quay.

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