FAMILIES were excited to be seeing loved ones as HMS Dragon returned home.
The Type 45 destroyer has been on deployment for six months in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and returned to Portsmouth yesterday.
At the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth, parents, children, siblings and grandparents gathered to cheer and wave the ship home.
Claire Myers, from Bournemouth, was at the tower with her three-year-old daughter Kiriana, waiting for husband and dad PO Mark Myers.
‘It is lovely to be welcoming him home,’ said the 35-year-old.
‘He has been away for a long time and we are excited to see him.
‘Mark hasn’t been home since he left in October so it will be great to see him. Kiriana is excited to see her daddy.’
Other families at the tower included Angela Mills who was looking forward to seeing her 22-year-old son Able Seaman warfare specialist George Mills.
The welcoming party included George’s aunt Corrina Collins and cousins. Other family members and close friends were waiting at the jetty.
Angela, from Borehamwood, said: ‘I was bursting to see him.
‘It was very emotional because he has been away for such a long time. I am so excited.
‘A lot of the family travelled down to welcome him home which was lovely.
‘His dad, my husband, Steve and George’s brother Sam were invited to go on the ship from Lisbon to Portsmouth so that was exciting for them.
‘It will be great when we are all reunited again after a long six months.’
During her deployment, HMS Dragon completed routine patrols of the Falkland Islands and supported people on Tristan De Cunha in the south Atlantic by moving stores and supplies around the island.
She worked alongside maritime forces from Africa, Europe, South America and America in a training exercise in the Gulf of Guinea designed to improve regional co-operation and information-sharing practices, while stopping illegal activity at sea.
Sonia Whitehouse, from Coventry, was excited to see her brother James Riordan.
She said: ‘I know what he does is great for the country but it is nice to have him back home.’