THERE were emotional reunions today as HMS Edinburgh returned to Portsmouth from her last ever deployment.
The last Type 42 destroyer arrived in her home port at 10.30am after six months patrolling the Atlantic.
The ageing class of ships has been replaced by the new Type 45 destroyers, which are all based in Portsmouth.
Families cheered and waved flags as the ship came alongside at Portsmouth Naval Base.
Once dismissed, sailors jammed the gangways as they rushed to meet their loved ones.
Engineering Technician Sinead Molyneux, 22, from Gosport, was met by her three-year-old nephew Finley King.
She said: ‘It’s awesome to be back. ‘
‘I said I wouldn’t cry but I am crying a little.’
The commanding officer of HMS Edinburgh, Commander Nick Borbone, spoke of his pride at bringing the ship home from its last every deployment.
He told The News: ‘Everybody can really sense the fact we are in the final chapter in the life of the Type 45.
‘It makes the day even more poignant.
‘The ship’s company should be extremely proud of what they have achieved.’
The destroyer will be decommissioned in June.
Petty Officer Damien Allen was greeted by wife Joy, 31, and daughter Eve, four, from Portsmouth, when he left the ship.
He said: ‘It’s absolutely amazing to be back.’
Joy said: ‘It’s been a long six-and-a-half months – it’s a bit emotional.’
Before decommissioning, she will take part in a tour of the UK to commemorate the battle of the Atlantic.
She comes home to Portsmouth for the final time on May.
HMS Edinburgh’s ship’s company has been busy over the last six months on routine operations across the North and South Atlantic.