CADETS burst into song and dance as they bid farewell to a training ship which has given 43 years of service on the seas.
TS Royalist – crewed by young Sea Cadets – sailed back into Gosport for the final time.
It was young Harry Salmon’s first time aboard the ship but he was given the honour of taking down the ensign from the bow.
The 14-year-old, from Alverstoke, Gosport, said: ‘It’s my first time on Royalist – it’s just amazing. I feel privileged to be on this last voyage and to be representing the Sea Cadets.’
The ship arrived yesterday morning and the young sailors’ Mexican wave on board was greeted by members of the Sea Cadet Corps waving her in from Fort Blockhouse.
She was followed in by the cadets’ powerboat ships, TS Jack Petchey and TS John Jerwood.
A new £4.8m ship is due to be commissioned in Spain next month, and will also be called TS Royalist.
After the decommissioning service the cadets burst into a rendition of the Macarena while on board – much to the delight of the crowd watching from Petrol Pier in Fort Blockhouse.
Addressing the crowd in the decommissioning ceremony, captain of sea cadets Jonathan Holloway said the ship had taken many people on life-changing experiences.
Capt Holloway said: ‘Farewell to TS Royalist, a ship that has served the Sea Cadet Corps for many years and provided wonderful life-changing experiences to tens of thousands of cadets.’
Over the 43 years of service the ship has taken 30,000 cadets on offshore training and sailed 212,850 nautical miles – nine times around the globe.
Commanding officer Lieutenant Angie Morris said: ‘She’s been my ship for the last five years, I’m quite pleased I’m the person bringing her in for the final time. It’s quite emotional.’
The new 104ft brig will be running from March 2015.