LOVE was in the air as happy couples rekindled their romance after months apart.
But for Lieutenant Rubin Nash, 34, and his fiancee Emma Pinder, 28, the reunion was bittersweet after having to postpone their wedding not once but twice during the war.
They first had to rearrange their big day on August 19 to mid-October after the government extended HMS Liverpool’s patrols off Libya to beyond September.
But when the mission was extended again to the end of October, it was too much to bear.
Lt Nash said: ‘We’d just sorted everything out for October 15 and then the captain said we’d been extended another month. I thought “right I need to make a phone call.” She was in floods of tears.’
The couple haven’t set another date yet but Emma said she was hoping for third time lucky.
Meanwhile, Leading Seaman James Birch, 26, and Gemma Davis, 26 are setting a date after getting engaged during the conflict.
James popped the question while the ship had a few days’ rest in Malta in June. But it was hardly a surprise proposal after he told Gemma to bring an engagement ring out with her. ‘There’s no H Samuel in Libya,’ said James, who lives in Stamshaw. ‘Still, I kept her waiting for three days once she got to Malta to keep her guessing.’
Also kissing and cuddling were Able Seaman Brendan Keiller, 22, and his girlfriend Leanne Funnell, 24, who are pictured on the front page. ‘I’ve missed him so much,’ said Leanne. ‘We’ve been together for three years. I was worried a little bit but after a while I just get used to being on my own.’
Brendan, a warfare specialist, said: ‘It feels so good to be home. It’s been a long time away but when you’ve got a job to do you just get on with it.
‘I’m leaving the navy in March to become a locksmith so this was my last deployment and it’s something going to stick in my mind for the rest of my life.’