LINING the route outside their base on Whale Island, reservists from HMS King Alfred cheered as they said farewell to the unit’s commanding officer.
Commander Kevin Robertson is stepping down from leading the Royal Navy’s largest reserves unit after three years.
On Tuesday evening, the reservists gathered for a big send-off as the commander handed over the reins to Cdr Anthony Stickland.
Cdr Robertson’s farewell evening also marked the end of his work with the Royal Navy.
He left the base at Whale Island by boat after a formal handover to his successor and the reservists arranged an honour guard salute for Cdr Robertson as he went.
Cdr Robertson said: ‘I have the utmost respect for the commitment, determination and professionalism of all the reservists based at HMS King Alfred.
‘To have been given the chance to command them over the past three years has been professionally rewarding and a highlight of my career in the navy.
‘As I look to take on new challenges away from the service environment, I wish all at King Alfred continued success in their reserves careers.’
Cdr Robertson joined the Royal Navy in 1978.
He saw his early service at sea on a South Atlantic deployment and conducted maritime patrols off Northern Ireland.
As a specialist in communications and electronic warfare, he served as the principal warfare officer in HMS London during the Gulf War in 1991.
Cdr Robertson was born in Portsmouth to a naval family, and has a keen interest in sports.
He is the chairman of the United Services Portsmouth Rugby Football Club.
Cdr Robertson said one of his proudest days was in July 2011, when HMS King Alfred exercised their freedom of the city of Portsmouth and marched through the city.
HMS King Alfred is the southern region’s Royal Navy Reserves unit and is the largest in the country.
Cdr Robertson has now left the Royal Navy to pursue a civilian career. His successor, Cdr Stickland, is a reservist.