HMS Ledbury returns home to Portsmouth

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A MINEHUNTER returned to Portsmouth today after six months in the Mediterranean.

HMS Ledbury arrived after clocking up 12,000 miles since her departure in January.

Ledbury, which has a crew of 42, has been working with other Nato minesweepers to clear the Mediterranean of historic ordnance left over from both world wars and more recent conflicts. The ship has sailed around most of the Mediterranean, visiting 18 ports in eight countries including Malta, Croatia, Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Family and friends braved the wet and windy conditions to greet their loved ones today.

Wendy Cooke, 33, travelled down from Leicestershire with son Benjamin, 2, to meet her husband, petty officer Simon Cooke, 35. She said: ‘we are really looking forward to seeing him again.

‘This is his fourth tour but he usually serves in the Gulf.’

Lauren Hodgeson, 19, greeted boyfriend Kyle Greenan, 22. The Torquay couple are expecting their first child in three weeks time.

She said: ‘he won’t believe the size of me when he sees me!’