Graves are tended to by visiting sailors

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THE company of a Portsmouth-based minehunter has helped clean up British war graves near Muscat, the capital of Oman in the Middle East.

Seven sailors from HMS Atherstone spent an afternoon cleaning headstones and undertaking ground maintenance at the graveyard, which is in a cove in Ra’s Al Kindah Bay.

The earliest graves date from the nineteenth century while one of the most recent marks the resting place of an SAS trooper killed in the area in the 1950s.

Petty Officer Gary Belcher said: ‘The cove is surrounded by steep cliffs and we were unable to get to it without using our seaboat.

‘Once there we set about working using mops, shovels and brushes.

‘It was a very satisfying experience to be able to pay our respects in such a way, especially so close to Armistice Day.’

Atherstone will soon return to Portsmouth after three-and-a-half years in the Gulf.