Video: HMS Kent returns to Portsmouth

Picture: Malcolm Wells

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AS HE descended the gangway to his waiting wife and family, sailor Tony Sweetland held some roses in his hand.

The 32-year-old Leading Seaman from Southsea was thrilled to be home after HMS Kent’s seven-month deployment.

Our video shows the frigate’s arrival at the naval base.

His wife, Sarah, 32, said she was delighted to welcome him back.

‘It’s nice to have him home,’ she said.

‘I’m going to miss the tidiness, though!’

It was one of many happy reunions that took place at the naval base as the anti-submarine frigate returned to her home port.

Hundreds of families came from all over the country to greet loved ones, many bearing ‘welcome home’ banners and waving tiny flags.

Ryan Yates’ family came down from Newcastle to see him off the ship.

The warfare specialist celebrated his 21st birthday while at sea.

He said: ‘It was my first deployment. It was hard work. I’m looking forward to four weeks off, then we’re back at sea.’

His sister, Samantha said: ‘It’s great to have him home. It’s been a big miss.’

Chief Petty Officer John Newall, from Newport, said it had been a ‘really rewarding’ deployment. ‘It’s nice to see such a lot of happy faces on the jetty. My mum was a bit teary-eyed as well.’

CPO Newall said the crew members were able to take a few fun breaks from the mission including a stay in the United Arab Emirates where they watched the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

‘That was a highlight for me,’ he said.

‘We got to see Lewis Hamilton win a title.’