No 10 role for Navy ship shell
Published 09/12/2011 | 12:42
A shell case from a round used by a Royal Navy destroyer against pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya will now take pride of place in No 10 - as the Prime Minister's umbrella stand.
The casing was presented to David Cameron by the crew of HMS Liverpool after he invited 120 servicemen and women from across the Armed Forces to an official reception in Downing Street to recognise their actions in Libya.
Mr Cameron said the sailors, marines and air crew who took part in the operation had shown "incredible courage, professionalism and dedication".
He said: "I can't tell you what a thrill it is having sat, day after day - 68 meetings - in some bunker and we were talking about 'Will the minesweeper get through to Misrata?'.
"Well, I've now met the people that were sailing on it.
"We were talking about how HMS Liverpool was getting on, trying to stop Gaddafi in Tripoli - I've now met not only the captain of that ship, but he's very kindly given me my proudest possession: One of the shell casings that was fired in anger that is now going to be an umbrella stand in the Cameron household."
Able Seaman (Writer) Emma Graham was one of six members of HMS Liverpool's ship's company who attended the reception. The Portsmouth-based warship returned fire during operations in Libya with more than 200 rounds of high-explosive shells.
AB Graham said: "To be able to meet the Prime Minister - and all the other units we had worked with off Libya - was a huge privilege."
Her shipmates will return soon to No 10 as Liverpool has been nominated for a Sun Military Award (aka the Millies) for its actions off Libya.
Commanding Officer Commander Colin Williams said: "It's an honour to have been invited to No 10 not once but twice in recognition of our contribution and achievements in support of the Libyan population. I'm immensely proud of my ship's company - as, I am certain, their families are too."