AFTER more than six months at sea, HMS Westminster has arrived back in Portsmouth.
The Type 23 frigate has been conducting counter-piracy and counter-narcotic patrols in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf.
Families gathered to welcome the sailors back to the city, cheering and waving their flags.
A helicopter flew past to mark the occasion and to welcome the ship’s company home.
Commanding Officer, Captain Hugh Beard, said: ‘It’s absolutely brilliant to be home.
‘It’s like Christmas for all of us even though it’s a couple of months later. I think there will be a few Christmas celebrations going on with some of the ships company and their families this weekend.
‘It’s been really interesting, varied, fascinating and very successful.
‘We’ve made a really useful contribution to the region – a key region to the prosperity of the UK.
‘They have come back very satisfied with what they have achieved and are delighted to be back home. They have worked very hard.’
Able Seaman Lauren Bruce arrived home on her 24th birthday. She spent her time on board with her sister Leading Seaman Alex Bruce, 25.
AB Bruce said: ‘It’s been good. We’ve found it a lot easier compared to some of the other girls. It’s a good birthday present to be back.
‘I’m glad that I’m home with the family. It’s better than spending my birthday away.’
LS Bruce added: ‘We make close friends on the ship but it’s just not the same as having my sister with me so it’s pretty cool.
‘It’s extra exciting for our mum and dad to have us both back at the same time.
‘It’s been nice for them to know that we’ve been together.
‘Even though we’ve both been going away, it’s better for them because we’ve been together.’