Father and son’s navy careers end and begin in HMS Liverpool

L-R: Paul Clay, Ash Clay, Sarah Clay (brother and sister of Rob Clay in uniform , Sarah Wells (Girlfriend of Rob), Beverley Clay (Rob's Mum) and Alan Clay (Rob's grandfather)
L-R: Paul Clay, Ash Clay, Sarah Clay (brother and sister of Rob Clay in uniform , Sarah Wells (Girlfriend of Rob), Beverley Clay (Rob's Mum) and Alan Clay (Rob's grandfather)
An artist's impressions of the new props on HMS Victory. Picture: BAE Systems

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PAUL Clay was especially emotional to welcome son Rob home from his first deployment.

Paul, himself a former sailor, also served on HMS Liverpool.

More than 20 years ago the 50-year-old was a Chief Petty Officer on board the Type 42 destroyer and said he couldn’t believe his final ship and his son’s first were the same vessel.

‘It’s amazing and very moving for me,’ he said. ‘It almost puts my mind back 20 years.

‘I don’t think this is something that happens very often – if it’s ever happened before.

‘I’m just so proud to see him following in my footsteps.’

Able Seaman Rob Clay, 20, is based and grew up in Portsmouth. He said: ‘I just think it’s very, very ironic.

‘It’s as if I’m picking up where he left off. I keep thinking: what a way to start my career.

‘My dad served in the Falklands and now I’ve served in Libya. He won medals and had a great career, and now my ambition is to earn even more medals.’

Rob added: ‘There were times on the ship when we were under attack and I really thought “this is it”, but we stayed professional and did our jobs.’