Families today welcomed home to Portsmouth sailors on HMS St Albans and HMS Edinburgh.
The two warships made their way into the naval base one after another.
HMS St Albans, a Type-23 frigate, returns from a six-month tour of the Middle East where she was policing busy shipping lanes and providing security for the region.
In contrast, Type 42 Destroyer HMS Edinburgh is returning from cooler climates following a six month deployment to the South Atlantic.
Tinsel and tears welcomed home HMS Edinburgh ad hundreds of families lined Fountain Lake Jetty in the naval base to give loved ones a festive greeting.
One of the families desperately awaiting their Christmas reunion were the Hellers from Gosport.
Dad Kyle has been away in the South Atlantic for seven months and his children Paige, 11, and Brandon, eight, had made a banner of welcome.
‘We’re together again,’ it said.
Brandon said: ‘I can’t wait to see dad again and take him to his favourite place in the world - Nando’s.’
Paige said: ‘Just seeing him again will be the best Chrisdtmas present ever.’
Also desperate to welcome home his dad was Patrick Stafford, 10, who was six months old the last time his father Sean was deployed for thus long.
‘I can’t wait,’ he said. ‘We’ve missed him a lot.’
His mum Caroline agreed and added: ‘having him home is the vest Christmas present we could hope for. It’s been really tough waiting for him.’
As Edinburgh pulled alongside the crowd cheered and whistled at their returning heroes, as further up the jetty hundreds more people waited for the imminent arrival of HMS St Albans.
The commanding officer of HMS St Albans, Commander Tom Sharpe, said: ‘What this deployment lacked in glamour it has made up for in sustained productivity, grit and influence.
‘The ship has been quietly operating in the Gulf area, reassuring, deterring, exercising and generally doing all the diplomacy activities that the Royal Navy has contributed to the region for many years.
‘However, maintaining the focus and skills required to swing immediately to the other end of the scale was the challenge of the trip and I am proud of the way my ship’s company achieved this through the heat of the Arabian summer.
‘In sum, we did the blockades, and whilst there was no Trafalgar on completion, we were ready.’
The commanding officer of HMS Edinburgh, Commander Paul Russell, said: ‘During our Atlantic deployment, Edinburgh’s footprint spanned over four continents in temperatures ranging from -19 to 32 degrees celsius.
‘From defence diplomacy along the West African coast to exercises in the Pacific, from the Antarctic to drug-busting operations in the Caribbean, the ship and her crew have demonstrated the versatility and agility that typifies the modern Royal Navy.’