Destroyer HMS Gloucester arrives home to Portsmouth for the final time

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HMS Gloucester sailed in to Portsmouth today after completing her last deployment in the Royal Navy.

The Duchess of Gloucester joined the ship by helicopter at 9am and spoke with members of the ship’s company before the Type 42 destroyer made her entry in to Portsmouth Harbour.

The Duchess of Gloucester shares a lighter moment aboard HMS Gloucester as the ship sailed into Portsmouth for the last time.     'Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (111088-6)

The Duchess of Gloucester shares a lighter moment aboard HMS Gloucester as the ship sailed into Portsmouth for the last time. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (111088-6)

The ship will be decommissioned in the summer.

For Petty Officer Lee Shaw, 37, the occasion held extra significance because it was his last day at sea in the navy.

He said: ‘This is my last day at sea on a warship. There’s a fair bit of emotion. The last 22 years has just gone by like that.

‘My time is almost done in the navy but I don’t particularly want to leave at the moment.’

Gloucester has been away for seven months. In that time she helped secure a £4m cocaine bust off the Cape Verde islands. She also patrolled the Falkland Islands, went to Chile and finished up with runs ashore in Miami and New York before returning to Portsmouth today.

The ship’s navigator, Lieutenant Dan Briscoe, drove the ship in.

The 26-year-old who lives in Southsea said: ‘It’s been a good deployment. The whole ship’s company is on a high at the moment. I think after seven months we’re all glad to be home.’

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