Gosport welcomes in HMS Prince of Wales

A ‘DIVIDED country’ came together and celebrated the homecoming of HMS Prince of Wales to the city.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 6:38 pm
(l-r) The Smallbone family - Isla, 10, Margaux, 4, Dane, 37, Marley, 10 and Jools, 6.

Hundreds of people lined the Gosport shoreline to give the Royal Navy carrier a big welcome home.

Among them was Dean Button and his family from Fareham.

The 44-year-old works in the Royal Navy and is based at HMS Collingwood.

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He said: ‘I think we are a very divided country at the moment so it seems very important that everyone comes together and marks such a special occasion for the Royal Navy.

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The faces behind the mighty HMS Prince of Wales

‘It brings a huge sense of pride to our towns.’

Daughter Ellie Button, 17, added: ‘The navy is a big part of our family and so it is important that we support it and that is why we came to see the ship.’

Beckie Pepperell from Gosport, whose husband is in the navy, brought her two daughters Daisy, 12, and Esmee, 3, down to see the historic moment.

Beckie said: 'There is something special about seeing this ship coming in for the first time. It brings our community together.'

Dane Smallbone, who is an electrical engineer in the Royal Navy, came along with his wife and four children.

The 37-year-old said: ‘It is a big part of our lives and we wanted to bring the children to come and see it.’

Alison Hatcher, daughter Celeste, 7, and son Benjamin, 5, from Lee-on-the-Solent came along to see the ship enter Portsmouth Harbour on Saturday afternoon.

Alison said: 'We have only lived in the area for 18 months and so we wanted to bring the kids because it isn't something you see every day.’​​​​​​​