HMS sailors tearfully greeted by loved ones at Portsmouth Naval Base

Welcome home! Emotional HMS sailors tearfully greeted by loved ones at Portsmouth Naval Base as they return home for the first time in nearly two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Families and loves ones lined the jetty at Portsmouth Naval Base to welcome home sailors on HMS Brocklesby
  • Sailors have returned home for the first time in almost two years after homecomings cancelled due to Covid
  • Crew members were seen hugging and kissing partners and children as the warship was greeted into port

Naval families lined the jetty at Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time in nearly two years to welcome home their emotional loved ones after traditional homecomings were cancelled because of the pandemic.

The crew of minehunter HMS Brocklesby were cheered home as it arrived at the Hampshire port following the warship’s three-year deployment to the Gulf.

The homecoming is the first time in 22 months that families have been on the quayside to greet them.

Crew hugged and kissed their partners and children as family members were finally allowed back onto jetties to greet a returning warship.

Naval families have lined the jetty at Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time in nearly two years to welcome home their emotional loved ones on the HMS Brocklesby after traditional homecomings were cancelled because of the pandemic

A crew member of the HMS Brocklesby hugs his loved one after returning to Portsmouth Naval Base for the first time in almost two years

A sailor is greeted with a passionate kiss from his loved one as families welcomed home sailors in Portsmouth

Lieutenant Commander Daniel Lee is greeted by his daughters Jemima (left) and Abigail (right) after disembarking from the HMS Brocklesby

Lieutenant Commander Dan Lee, commanding officer of the Hunt class mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV), said: ‘It is through the love and support of our families that we are able to maintain the routine of six-monthly operational deployments to the Gulf.

‘So it’s heartening to see them back on the jetty to welcome us back, and after such a long time since any Royal Navy families were able to do this.’

More than 150 family members gathered at Portsmouth’s historic naval base, Hants, to welcome back HMS Brocklesby. 

On its journey back to the UK, HMS Brocklesby travelled via Gibraltar, Sardinia, Crete, Muscat, Djibouti and Oman.

Heroes’ welcome: crowds greeted the crew of the HMS Brocklesby with cheers and waves at Portsmouth naval base

The Royal Navy personnel looked out towards their families and loved ones from aboard the deck of the HMS Brocklesby as they pulled into harbour

A crew member is greeted by his children in Portsmouth who presented him with a soft toy. The sailor gives his son his hat to wear

‘Welcome home daddy’: Signs are held in the arms of children eagerly awaiting the arrival of their father on the Royal Navy vessel

It also stopped at the last known position of HMS Eagle in the western Mediterranean to enable the crew, which have spent 11 of the last 15 months deployed on operations, to pay their respects to the 131 who died when it was sunk in 1942.

Petty Officer Kev Aston said: ‘It’s a short deployment overall but it’s been a long four months, not being able to go ashore much because of Covid, and now looking forward to spending some time with my wife and kids.’

Gunnery officer Sub-Lieutenant Ben Hyde, said: ‘It’s fantastic to be back after just over four months away, and it’s nice for our families to be let back into the dockyard for this.’

Proud mother and Aldi warehouse worker at Linda Waterhouse, 51, said she was excited to see her 19-year-old son Liam after four months.

Emotional: One of the sailors is seen embracing his two daughters tightly after disembarking from the Royal Navy ship

Good fit! One of the sailors beams down at his daughter, who he is holding in his arms, as she wears his sailor’s hat

Holding on tight: A father and his daughter share a sweet moment together as they hold hands for the first time in almost two years

A member of the Navy personnel looks out at Portsmouth Naval base as the HMS Brocklesby pulled into the harbour

She said: ‘I am excited to see him. This is his first deployment and I haven’t seen him since June. His sister has had a baby and he has not met his niece yet.’

Liam’s sister, Melissa Caslin, dressed her 3-month-old baby daughter Amelia in a sailor’s outfit to meet her uncle for the first time.

The 24-year-old warehouse worker said: ‘She was just about to be born and he had to go. She was late.

‘We have Facetimed but it is not the same as meeting in person. I think he will cry when he meets her.’

Welcome home! Hands were thrown in the air as emotional loved ones clambered to catch a glimpse of their family members on board the navy ship

Long time no see: A member of the HMS Brocklesby crew holds his loved one tightly in an emotional embrace

After nearly two years away from home, loved ones were clearly emotional as they wiped away tears in preparation to welcome home the sailors

Standing to attention: Sailors on the HMS Brocklesby can be seen standing to attention on the deck of the Royal Navy ship

Since leaving Portsmouth in 2018, Brocklesby has travelled 150,000 nautical miles and completed six crew changes while taking part in 18 operations and exercises.

It has also played a key role in the development of the latest autonomous systems which will likely replace the Royal Navy’s current generation of MCMVs.

Brocklesby will now spend time in maintenance while HMS Middleton, which left the base earlier in the year, takes over in the Gulf.

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