While the news that HMS Monmouth will be scrapped for spare parts and recycling wasn’t unexpected, it has still caused some dismay after such a long association between the ship and town.

But Monmouth Royal Naval Association secretary Adrian Hamilton said: “Whilst this marks the final sad chapter of this wonderful ship’s long and illustrious career in the Royal Navy I can assure everyone that the spirit of ‘The Black Duke’ lives on, as typified by the very successful reunion of the first ships’ company (1993-1995) here in the town only last month.

“Let us not forget the ship’s motto ‘Fear Nothing but God’.”

There have been seven ships carrying the name, the first launched in 1666, the year of the Great fire of London, an eight-gun yacht launched in 1666 and sold in 1698.

She was replaced by a 66-gun third rate rebuilt in 1700 and 1742, which was broken up in 1767.

The third HMS Monmouth (1772) was a 64-gun third rate launched in 1772, who became a prison ship renamed HMS Captivity in 1796, and was broken up in 1818.

The fourth HMS Monmouth (1796) was a 64-gun third rate, originally the Indiaman Belmont. She was purchased on the stocks and launched in 1796, and later became a sheer hulk in 1815 before being broken up in 1834.

The fifth ship was a 46-gun fifth rate orginally launched in 1828 as HMS Hotspur.

She became a chapel hulk in 1859, was renamed HMS Monmouth in 1868, and sold in 1902.

The sixth HMS Monmouth was a Monmouth-class armoured cruiser launched in 1901.

At the outbreak of WWI, she was sent to patrol the Brazilian coast for German ships, and was later ordered to the South Atlantic to join Rear Admiral Christopher Cradock’s squadron in their search for the German East Asia Squadron.

He found them on November 1 off the coast of Chile, but the enemy fleet outnumbered Cradock’s force and were individually more powerful, sinking Monmouth in the Battle of Coronel with the loss of all 734 hands.

After a 77-year gap, the seventh HMS Monmouth - a Type 23 frigate - was launched in 1991 and decommissioned in 2021, lying in Portsmouth Harbour since then.

And news that it will be broken up again leaves the town without a ship in the Royal Navy.