H.T.M.S. Maeklong of the sloop class is attached to the First Frigate Fleet of the Royal Fleet. She is now the second oldest ship in the world after "Goana Juata" gunship of Mexico. The Royal Thai Navy had her built during the first phase of the Royal Thai Navy Development Project in 1935, when ADM Sinthu Kamolnawin was commander-in-chief. A Japanese-based Mitsui Bussankaisa Co was responsible for her construction. The ship was primarily designed to serve a couple of missions.
The keel laying ceremony of H.T.M.S. Maeklong took place at 10.45 a.m. on July 24, 1936 at Uraga Dock in Yokosuka, Japan Her specifications are as follows.
On March 17, 1954, the folowing arms were installed:
Of the 173 personnel, there were 13 commissioned officers, 9 chief petty officers, 85 petty officers and 66 seamen.
H.T.M.S.Maeklong's commissioning ceremony was organised on June 10, 1937. It first reached Thailand at Rayavoradit Pier on September 26 of the same year.
The Defence Ministry organised her commission ceremony, presided over by the Regent of His Majesty King Rama VIII, to welcome and commission the ship at Rachakij Vinitchai Pavilion.
H.T.M.S.Maeklong was named after the Maeklong River, a major river in Samut Songkram. The people of Samut Songkram felt so highly honoured that they held a celebration to receive her from February 3-6, 1937.
Throughout her 58-year service in the Royal Thai Navy, H.T.M.S.Maeklong had served with vigour as a warship and training ship. Commissioned officers graduating from the Naval Academy, as well as non-commissioned officers graduating from the Naval Rating School, consider her a "tutor Ship" as she had provided them with skills and practical knowledge on navigation, armaments and military strategies and complemented their classroom studies. Only students sucessfully passing both the various units of the Royal Thai Navy. Moreover, H.T.M.S. Maeklong is considered a special envoy representing the Thai peeple during her innumerable journeys to Asian countries and promoting a better understanding between Thais and their neighbours.
Apart from her long service, H.T.M.S. Maeklong on many occasions served as the royal ship for His Majety the King. On January 13, 1938, she took His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulydej to further. his studies in Switzerland. On December 2,1951, she brought him back to the capital. On Novemner 20, 1954 His Majesty was on board during his inspection tour of the naval parade and disembarkment at Bang saen beach in Chol Buri Arriving at Rajavoradit Pier on May 20,1949, H.T.M.S. Maeklong took the royal ashes of the late King Rama VII to Thailand.
His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej once noted that the Royal Thai Navy should conserve its old warships as a museum of military history to propagate the knowledge to the public. Consequently, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of His Majesty the King's accession to the throne in 1996, the Royal Thai Navy plans to make a Thai warship museum of H.T.M.S. Maeklong. The ship will be docked for the public to visit. The pier and the area nearby will be arranged to become the Royal Thai Navy's outdoor museum. H.T.M.S. Maeklong herself will function as the main body of the museum. The ship will salute with flags flown and decoration lights illuminated on important occasions. Major guests of the kingdom can be received there and some activities will be displayed as part of the Royal Thai Navy's public relations.
From January 30 to March 20, 1995, H.T.M.S. Maeklong served as a sea training ship for the last time as she took the first, second, and third year naval cadets of the academic year 1994 on their training journey. Upon her decommission, the ship sailed on to bid farwell to the people of Samut Songkram, of which major river she had been named after and where she had once been warmly received. The Royal Thai Navy, together with Samut Songkram province, held a farewell party in honour of H.T.M.S. Maeklong from March 17 - 18, 1995 at Pak Samut Temple facing the Maeklong River in Laem Yai sub-district, Muang district.
A total of 17,718,800 baht is needed. The Royal Thai Navy will be in charge of mobilising it with the cooperation of the private sector and the public.
Chulachomklao Dockyard in Samut Prakan
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