HMS Chiddingfold leaves Portsmouth for the Gulf

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FRIENDS and families said an emotional goodbye to their loved ones on HMS Chiddingfold as she sailed out of Portsmouth Harbour this afternoon.

The Hunt-class minehunter left port bound for the Gulf.

HMS Chiddingfold leaves Portsmouth

HMS Chiddingfold leaves Portsmouth

Louise Brown, of Chichester, was at the Round Tower to farewell her husband, Lieutenant Benjamin Brown, 25, the ship’s second officer.

She said: We’re just married, so it’s, obviously, a bit sad.

‘But I’m going out to the Middle East to see him and he’ll be back in time for Christmas, so that’s a blessing.’

Olly Almond and family, from Weymouth, were also at the tower to see off his son, James, 21.

He said: It’s his first big deployment so it’s a bit strange to say goodbye.

‘I was in the navy for 25 years, so I’ve always been on the other side of it.’

It’s not often that companies of mine hunters get to wave goodbye from the deck of their ship - they are usually flown to the Gulf and replaced after six to nine months while the vessel stays on deployment, which can last years.

The Chiddingfold, launched in 1983, underwent a major refit in 2012 which involved replacement of her engines, gearboxes, propellers and thruster system.