Brazil formally welcomed the former Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) landing ship Sir Galahad into her Navy at Portsmouth Naval Base yesterday, Tuesday 4 December 2007.
The Sir Galahad, which in 1988 replaced the ship of the same name lost in the Falklands War, was commissioned into the Brazilian Navy as the Garcia D'Avila - the name of a distinguished captain and Brazilian war hero who served from 1913 until 1945.
Representing the British Armed Forces at the commissioning ceremony was Portsmouth Naval Base Commander, Commodore David Steel:
"Sir Galahad has seen long and distinguished service with the RFA," he said. "While it is always sad to bid farewell to one of our ships, all of us in the Naval Service are delighted and heartened that Sir Galahad, as the Garcia D'Avila, will be a valued and very capable addition to the Brazilian fleet."
Sir Galahad (8,750 tonnes) and her five sister ships began entering service from the mid-1960s, but from 2001 were replaced by four much larger and more capable vessels of 16,000 tonnes - RFAs Largs Bay, Lyme Bay, Mounts Bay and Cardigan Bay - each of which are equipped with landing craft and can accommodate 356 troops and up to 150 trucks or 24 Challenger battle tanks.
The present Sir Galahad was built by Swan Hunter at Tyne and Wear and has served in both Iraq wars. She is unique in the RFA having won two Wilkinson Swords of Peace for humanitarian aid - to Angola in 1995 and Iraq in 2003.
In July last year she made her last journey under the RFA flag when she sailed from Marchwood port, the Armed Forces' Sea Mounting Centre on Southampton Water, to Portsmouth, where she has been refitted for Brazilian service.
Source: Sir Galahad joins the Brazilian Navy
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