Final emotional homecoming for HMS Gloucester

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VETERAN warship HMS Gloucester returns to her Portsmouth home for the last time on Monday.

The 29-year-old destroyer is being decommissioned next month as the navy’s fleet of ageing Type 42s is gradually being phased out to make way for the new hi-tech Type 45 destroyers.

HMS Gloucester – which has clocked up 787,928 miles during service across the globe – will mark her final entry to the naval base in traditional fashion by flying a decommissioning pennant.

She has just paid a farewell visit to her affiliated namesake city and will be returning from Exercise Saxon Warrior involving Royal Navy, French, Spanish warships and a United States carrier force in war games off the south-west coast of the UK.

Her commanding officer, Commander David George, said: ‘I cannot express how proud I am of the ship. It will be a very emotional final entry for the very best of ships, but she is 29 years old and with more than 750,000 miles under belt, there are more capable Type 45 destroyers now taking the stage and Gloucester’s time has come to bow out with dignity.’

The ship will pass the Round Tower, Old Portsmouth, at approximately 10.10am.