Last Type 42 Destroyer Returns

Hundreds of family and friends have welcomed HMS Edinburgh back to Portsmouth from her final deployment.

The 30 year-old warship has spent the last six months patrolling the Atlantic. She decommissions in June - having clocked up 793,345 miles - as the Type 42s make way for the new-generation Type 45s.

Edinburgh left her home port of Portsmouth in September for routine operations across the North and South Atlantic in support of British interests worldwide.

She carried out maritime security operations around the British South Atlantic Islands and supported counter narcotics efforts off West Africa.

The deployment included many exotic goodwill port visits in South Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas.

HMS Edinburgh Spinnaker

Edinburgh's Commanding Officer, Commander Nick Borbone, said: "Returning home after a long period of operations is always a special event and, as the ship's company is reunited with families and friends after six months away, they can reflect on a job well done and take some well deserved leave.

"However, as this also marks the end of the operational life of the Type 42 destroyer, this deployment has been particularly poignant for all of us on board. I am extremely proud of the way the team in Edinburgh has, through sheer commitment and dedication, upheld the reputation that this exalted class has earned over the past four decades and also upheld the reputation of the Royal Navy in the protection of UK interests worldwide."

Built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, Edinburgh was launched in April 1983 and commissioned in December 1985.

Her first deployment was to the Arabian Gulf in 1987, escorting numerous merchant ships safely through the region.

The following year HRH The Duke of York joined as one of the ship's officers, serving on board during a six-month round-the-world deployment.

In 1996 Edinburgh rescued the crew of a crippled sailing boat while on patrol in the Gulf. She despatched her Lynx helicopter to rescue all nine Pakistani crewmen from the vessel after it took on water in stormy conditions and eventually sank.

She took part in the second Gulf War in 2003, supporting Royal Marines ashore and acting as escort to the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean.

The following year Edinburgh deployed to the Mediterranean and was involved in Operation Active Endeavour, monitoring sea lanes as part of the war on terror.

And in 2008 during operations in the Gulf she seized a drugs cargo - stashed on board a sailing boat - worth several million pounds.  

Edinburgh entered refit in 2010 and spent most of the following year in the South Atlantic before returning there during her final overseas deployment.