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Family and friends wait for HMS Illustrious to arrive

Friends and family wait for loved ones on board HMS Illustrious to arrive in Portsmouth Credit: ITV Meridian

Christmas at last for sailors and their families.

Thousands of people have gathered on the dockside at Portsmouth Naval Base to welcome home the carrier HMS Illustrious.

The ship was due home before Christmas but was diverted to the Philippines to help deliver aid in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

So for many of the crew and their families, Christmas celebrations will this weekend!

Illustrious spent three weeks in the typhoon-affected region delivering supplies and carrying out repairs to buildings.

The crew believe they were able to help at least 40,000 people, many in some of the most isolated areas.

She has been away since August and will now undergo essential maintenance before going back to sea later in the year.

Crew members forego Christmas to help in Philippines

Crew of HMS Illustrious are coming back from the Philippines Credit: ITV Meridian
The ship had been on deployment in the Gulf when it was diverted to deliver aid after the typhoon in the Philippines Credit: ITV Meridian
Crew members were away for Christmas, which will probably be celebrated this weekend with friends and family! Credit: ITV Meridian

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Philippines to Portsmouth, HMS Illustrious comes home

HMS Illustrious is heading back to the UK after helping in the aftermath of the Philippines disaster.

The ship and her 650 crew members delivered emergency aid supplies in response to the typhoon.

The 23,000-tonne ship was operating in the Gulf when it was diverted to the Philippines to relieve HMS Daring, which was one of the first ships on the scene.

Commanding Officer, Captain Mike Utley, said, "Our capabilities perfectly matched what was required in the Philippines.

"We were able to get to where we were needed quickly and our size and flexibility meant that we could store and distribute extremely large volumes of emergency aid supplies."

HMS Illustrious Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

HMS Westminster visits Indian Ocean

Crew from HMS Westminster are on deployment in the Indian Ocean Credit: Royal Navy

Portsmouth-based HMS Westminster is currently on deployment in the Indian Ocean conducting counter piracy operations and training.

The warship was in Tanzania in mid December and undertook training, sporting and social activities since its time out there.

The warship ran an interactive training programme in the Indian Ocean Credit: Royal Navy

The visit saw a three day maritime operations training package with the Tanzania Maritime Law Enforcement Detachment.

The team ran an interactive programme which covered all the aspects of boarding operations at the Dar es Salaam harbour.

The Indian Ocean provided a beautiful backdrop for their training Credit: Royal Navy

Lieutenant Nick Palmer, HMS Westminster’s RN Boarding Officer, said: “It was really enjoyable to work with the Tanzanian LEDET team. They were enthusiastic throughout and truly learnt a lot.”

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Royal Navy celebrate in real life winter wonderland

Crew on board HMS Protector have celebrated Christmas in a real life winter wonderland in Antarctica.

They settled down to a traditional Christmas dinner, with the Captain carving the turkey!

Crews on board HMS Protector settle down to a traditional Christmas dinner! Credit: Royal Navy

The ship set sail from Portsmouth back in October and have travelled to Antarctica to carry out surveys and patrol operations.

Commanding Officer, Captain Rhett Hatcher said, "Spending Christmas in the coldest, windiest and driest place on earth comes with a number of challenges but it is a truly unique privilege."

HMS Protector is on patrol in Antarctica to carry out survey and patrol operations Credit: Royal Navy

Christmas delivery for navy sailors

Sailors from HMS Illustrious helping to take presents on board Credit: Royal Navy

Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious received a large parcel of presents in time for Christmas, despite being in Singapore across the holiday.

The ship had a delivery of 600 bags of mail from families and loved ones.

The endless sacks of presents for the sailors away from their families this christmas Credit: Royal Navy
The sailors have received an abundance of presents despite being out in Singapore Credit: Royal Navy

The ship picked up the bags in Singapore when she called into replenish food, fuel and essential stores.

HMS Illustrious has completed her aid operation and is now on the long voyage home. The remaining crew of around 530 men and women are expected to be reunited with their loved ones in early January.

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