American sailors’ visit brings back Portsmouth memories

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Picture: MC2 Justin Wolpert/US Navy/PA Wire

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Picture: MC2 Justin Wolpert/US Navy/PA Wire

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THE visit of a US Navy ship has brought back fond memories for people in Portsmouth.

More than 5,000 American sailors are due to arrive in Portsmouth tomorrow as part of USS Theodore Roosevelt’s round-the-world deployment.

It is hoped the 100,000-tonne ship’s visit will bring a million-pound boost to the city’s economy through the five-day visit.

The ship, nicknamed the US Navy’s ‘big stick’, is expected to arrived at around 4pm tomorrow.

Readers took to The News Facebook page to comment on the visit, which for many has brought back fond memories.

Pam Carter said: ‘When I was a teenager, 60 years ago, the American navy often came for navy days and the girls/women from London used to flock here.’

Sheena Wyles added: ‘I went on USS JFK many years ago. If you get to meet somebody on these great ships, I’m sure they will be happy to show you about. We had a fab day.’

For some people, American navy visits have even led to marriage.

‘51 years ago I met my American sailor at the Savoy in Southsea,’ said Lyn Lee. ‘We were married on September 11, 1965, and shared 47 wonderful years together.’

Others even had wedding bells in mind for tomorrow’s visit.

Carly Soffe posted: ‘That’s my future husband on his way!’

Portsmouth leaders and business owners are eagerly anticipating the arrival of USS Theodore Roosevelt, which last visited in 2009 and is predicted to bring a welcome economic boost of around £1m.

Bars, clubs, restaurants and visitor attractions in the city are hoping to welcome many of the sailors to their sites over the coming days, and are putting on themed events and party nights for the US sailors to enjoy some free time ashore.

The carrier will be accompanied by her destroyer escort Winston S Churchill.

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