THE youngest member of a crewman’s family was among the first on board the Royal Navy’s newest ship when she docked in Liverpool for her inaugural visit.
Little Amelia Rose Smith is just 16 weeks old but already has her sea legs thanks to a special trip aboard HMS Dragon with her dad, Andrew Smith.
The 29-year-old, from Southport, has been in the Navy for two years and was delighted to make the trip up the Mersey.
He said: “It is very special to be here, especially sailing up the river and seeing the city from a different angle.
“I am going to enjoy showing my family around this weekend.”
The Type 45 Destroyer was commissioned into service just eight days ago and is one of the most terminologically advanced ships patrolling the oceans.
Her angular shape and design make her appear to radar as a small fishing vessel, yet she carries on board a cache of a missiles, torpedos, guns and a Lynx helicopter.
Her mission is to shield the fleet from air attack using the Sea Viper missile, which can knock targets out of the sky up to 70 miles away if necessary.
She is also a multi-purpose warship, with enough space for up to 60 Royal Marines.
But when she came alongside the Pier Head yesterday afternoon her mission was to show life on board to the people of Liverpool.
Last night city dignitaries and other guests were invited to a party by Commander Darren Houston, the commanding officer. Other groups will also be given tours during the weekend while on Saturday afternoon members of the public can board the ship.
One of those keen to welcome visitors, including his family, is dad-of-two Christopher Brown.
The 38-year-old, from Bebington, has served 20 years in the Senior Service – but this was his first trip in a warship up the Mersey.
He said: “It gets to you when you sail up – the waterfront looks really great.
“It is great for my mum and dad to be able to see this too. I have only got a couple of years left in the Navy and it is great to have the chance to come to Liverpool in one of my ships.”
HMS Dragon is open to visitors between 12pm and 5pm on today. She departs at 4.30pm on Sunday.
VIDEO: Maritime correspondent Peter Elson on HMS Dragon