HMS MANCHESTER, a veteran of the first Gulf War, will return to her Portsmouth home for the last time later this week.
The 31-year-old destroyer, which has clocked up 858,882 nautical miles, is being decommissioned as the ageing fleet of Type 42s makes way for the new Type 45 destroyers.
Manchester’s final entry to Portsmouth on Thursday will see her return from her families’ day when dozens of relatives of her 260-strong ship’s company will enjoy a day at sea.
In keeping with tradition she will fly a decommissioning pennant to mark her final return.
Her commanding officer Commander Rex Cox said: ‘As we enter Portsmouth for the final time with our decommissioning pennant flying and families onboard, it is appropriate to reflect on what HMS Manchester has achieved.
‘The ship has served the Royal Navy for 30 years and has a fine pedigree that includes seeing active service in the Gulf.
‘More recently she has been an integral part of narcotics operations and hurricane relief in the Caribbean.’
Commander Cox added: ‘Although she is decommissioning, it is her people that bring the ship to life and as the ship’s company move on to other units, the spirit of the Mighty Manch will live on,’
HMS Manchester was launched on November 24, 1980.
She is due to pass the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth for the last time at about 3.30pm on Thursday.