Sailor Sam Luckett’s return to Portsmouth will be an unforgettable one after he proposed to his girlfriend at a double navy homecoming celebration.
Engineering Technician (Marine Engineering) Luckett got down on bended knee the second he stepped off HMS Dauntless, and asked partner Danielle Cotton to marry him.
He was the first to disembark from Dauntless, which arrived home minutes after HMS Kent this morning.
The 27-year-old ran down the gangway and immediately kissed Miss Cotton, before pulling out a ring box to the delight of the crowd around them.
ET(ME) Luckett then turned to his shipmates on board the ship, stuck his thumbs up and shouted ‘She said yes’ before giving his fiancée a kiss.
He told The News: ‘I am chuffed to bits.
I wasn’t nervous until I was on the gangplank and then I was really nervous...ET(ME) Sam Luckett
‘I wasn’t nervous until I got to the top of the gangway and then I was really nervous.’
The happy couple, both from Portsmouth, were greeted with cheers and whistles from onlookers as they posed for photographs together.
Miss Cotton, 27, said: ‘I had no idea at all, not a clue, it feels really good. I missed him lots.’
As reported in The News, Portsmouth-based HMS Kent and HMS Dauntless have spent months at sea dividing their time between preventing criminal activity in the Indian Ocean and supporting missions against Isil in the Gulf.
HMS Kent became the first British warship to sail into the Gulf as part of a joint British/French carrier task group when she acted as anti-submarine warfare commander for French carrier Charles de Gaulle.
The role saw the ship protecting the carrier and battle group vessels from underwater threats while the carrier launched strikes against Isil in Iraq.
She also worked with the US carrier group USS Carl Vinson in the Gulf.
Commander Andrew Block, the commanding officer of HMS Kent, said: ‘I could not be more proud of my ship’s company, who have made a real impact in a volatile part of the world.
‘We have sailed over 47,000 miles, providing the crucial support to Charles de Gaulle’s strike operations against Isil – and before her USS Carl Vinson’s – and conducted maritime security patrols, reassuring the merchant traffic that the everyday lives of our families depend on.’
HMS Dauntless deployed to the Gulf in January and also supported the French and US navies by providing air defence cover. The deployment also included a visit to Kuwait where she hosted a reception for Prince Charles.