AFTER helping in the fight against terrorists in the Middle East the men and women of HMS Daring are finally set to return home to Portsmouth.
The state-of-the-art air defence destroyer will be making her triumphant return into her home city this afternoon.
It comes following a nine-month deployment which has seen the Type 45 and her 190-strong crew sailing across the Gulf, Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Daring had initially been tasked with providing air defence cover for US aircraft carriers in the Gulf as they launched bombing runs on key Isis terrorist positions in Syria, leaving Portsmouth at the beginning of September.
But just days into the deployment, Daring’s crew was struck by tragedy after a sailor was killed in an accident in Malta during a brief stop-off on the island.
Leading Engineering Technician Simon Allen, 30, died after being hit by a car in Msida, a harbour town west of Malta’s capital of Valletta.
Despite the shock of LET Allen’s death, Daring’s crew continued with their mission, sailing to the Gulf.
While there, they helped protect the Royal Navy’s flagship HMS Ocean after she assumed command of the maritime counter-Daesh effort towards the tail-end of 2016.
As well as providing air defence to Ocean, Daring played a key role in anti-piracy operations and defending vital shipping routes in the region.
While in the Middle East, the 8,000-tonne warship protected 800,000 tonnes of merchant shipping.
She tackled 20 journeys through the dangerous Bab-el-Mandeb strait – which last year saw missile attacks being launched against US warships.
The final stretch of her nine-month deployment saw Daring sail into Black Sea, paying her maiden visit to Romania.
She stayed alongside in Constanta before spending time conducting training at sea with the Romanian navy and air force.
Daring is expected to arrive in Portsmouth at about 2pm, where the ship’s company will be greeted by their family and friends.
HMS Daring is one of six Type 45 destroyers based in Portsmouth.
The Royal Navy has claimed the fleet are the most advanced air defence vessels in the world.