Last of the Fighting 42s will be decommissioned

THE END HMS Edinburgh returning to Portsmouth last week
THE END HMS Edinburgh returning to Portsmouth last week
The Queen meets members of the ship's company

PICTURE GALLERY: The Queen commissions HMS Queen Elizabeth

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THE Royal Navy’s last Type 42 destroyer will be decommissioned from service tomorrow.

HMS Edinburgh’s white ensign will be lowered for the last time during the ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base.

It will mark the end of an era for the ‘Fighting 42s’ which began with the launch of HMS Sheffield in 1971.

The ageing destroyers have been gradually phased out of service to make way for the successor Type 45s, all of which are based in Portsmouth.

Commander Nick Borbone, HMS Edinburgh’s commanding officer, said: ‘It will be a poignant day for all of us associated with HMS Edinburgh.

‘It is also a day of celebration when we remember the 40 years of faithful service that the “Fighting 42s” have given, manned by dedicated men and women.’

Among hundreds of guests at the decommissioning ceremony will be Lady Heseltine, HMS Edinburgh’s sponsor and wife of former Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, who launched the ship on April 14 1983.

Seventeen former commanding officers of the ship and dozens of Type 42 veterans will also attend.