Two Portsmouth Warships Home For Christmas
HMS St Albans and HMS Edinburgh are back in Portsmouth for the festive season.
Hundreds of family members have welcomed their loved ones home today as two Royal Navy warships return to port in time for Christmas following deployments around the world.
HMS St Albans, a Type 23 frigate, arrived at Portsmouth Naval Base from a six-month operational tour of the Middle East while Type 42 destroyer HMS Edinburgh is returning from its mission of the same length to the South Atlantic.
St Albans spent much of its deployment policing shipping lanes and providing security for the region alongside other coalition forces.
Commanding Officer of The Saint, Commander Tom Sharpe said: "What this deployment lacked in glamour it has made up for in sustained productivity, grit and influence.
"The ship has been quietly operating in the Gulf area, reassuring, deterring, exercising and generally doing all the diplomacy activities that the RN (Royal Navy) has contributed to the region for many years.
"However, maintaining the focus and skills required to swing immediately to the other end of the scale was the challenge of the trip and I am proud of the way my ship's company achieved this through the heat of the Arabian summer.
"In sum, we did the blockades, and whilst there was no Trafalgar on completion, we were ready."
HMS Edinburgh's deployment, which took in Portugal, Angola and South Africa, was its first since completing a #17.5 million refit.
Commanding Officer, Commander Paul Russell, said: "During our Atlantic deployment, Edinburgh's footprint spanned over four continents in temperatures ranging from -19 to 32 degrees Celsius.
"From defence diplomacy along the West African coast to exercises in the Pacific, from the Antarctic to drug-busting operations in the Caribbean, the ship and her crew have demonstrated the versatility and agility that typifies the modern Royal Navy.
"With HMS Edinburgh approaching 30 years of service to the nation, it has been a privilege to be in command of such a can-do group of sailors."
Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "We are so pleased to be welcoming HMS St Albans and HMS Edinburgh back into Portsmouth, and seeing their crews reunited with their families and loved ones at this time of year.
"Portsmouth is so proud to be the home of the Royal Navy, and occasions such as this allow us to show our respect and support for all the dedication these brave men and women show whilst serving to protect us.
"Both warships have been away on six-month deployments this year, and it will mean so much to the families of Portsmouth to have their loved ones home with them for the holiday season.
"It's a time of upmost importance when it comes to family.
"The city council will be inviting crew and their families to come to the Portsmouth Guildhall for a reception to welcome them home, and officially thank them for their work on deployment on behalf of this country."