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HMS Lancaster - home in time for Christmas

Kissing and cuddling has been going on at Portsmouth Naval Base today as HMS Lancaster arrived home after nine months at sea. The type 23 frigate has sailed more than 35,000 and visited 18 countries.

But the 200 crew couldn't hide their delight at seeing their friends and families. Their support was appreciated by everyone on board. Sally Simmonds watched this very special homecoming.


Sailor pleads guilty to two sex offences

HMS Montrose Credit: Royal Navy

A Royal Navy sailor has admitted two offences of sexual assault and exposure.

Leading Engineering Technician (Weapon Engineering) Mark Schofield, 34, pleaded guilty to the charges at a court martial hearing at Portsmouth Naval Base.

The sailor, from the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose, was ordered by Judge Advocate Robert Hill to sign on the sex offenders register.

Schofield will be sentenced on February 10.

Royal Marines band's festive surprise for shoppers

Shoppers in Portsmouth's Gunwharf Quays had an unexpected surprise as the sounds of live music filled the air.

From across the shopping centre, musicians from Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth band began playing the festive song, Carol of the Bells. The "flash mob" stunt was part of the Royal Navy's Yule the Waves campaign, for the making of their special Christmas video.

Laura White, Musician, Royal Marines Band Portsmouth Credit: ITV News Meridian

The video will be released on Tuesday and the Royal Navy are asking people to share it on social media to show support for naval personnel who will be away from their families at Christmas.

Corp Drum Major, Buster Brown, choreographed the performance Credit: ITV News Meridian

HMS Duncan is home for Christmas - after nine months at sea

For hundreds of families Christmas came early - as the crew of HMS Duncan made a triumphant return to Portsmouth after nine months at sea.

The Type 45 destroyer has visited 14 countries and helped in the fight against Islamic State in the Middle East.

Today's homecoming was an emotional reunion for the families of the 240 sailors and marines on board. From the dockside, Chris Maughan reports


Portsmouth minehunter to spend three years in the Gulf

HMS Middleton leaves on Monday Credit: Royal Navy

Portsmouth-based minehunter HMS Middleton will set sail on Monday for a three-year deployment to the Gulf where she will protect vital sea lanes and provide wider maritime security to the region.

Although Middleton will be based in Bahrain for three years, the ship's company will rotate every six months.

Four of the Navy's minehunters are a permanent presence in the Gulf, demonstrating the UK’s 'continued commitment to enduring peace and stability in the region'.

Two arrested after thefts reported from sunken warship

Police investigating the reported theft of items from a sunken Royal Navy warship in the English Channel have arrested two men.

HMS Hermes was a protected cruiser built in the 1890s and converted into an aircraft ferry and depot ship, ready for the start of the First World War in 1914.

It was sunk by a German submarine in the Dover Strait in October of that year with the loss of 44 lives.

A 56-year-old man from Winchelsea in East Sussex was arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud and released on bail pending further enquiries until 22 February 2016. A 55-year-old man from Teynham was arrested on suspicion of theft and released on bail pending further enquiries until the same date.

Royal Navy helicopter creates history on St Helena

The first helicopter to land on St Helena Credit: Royal Navy

The Royal Navy achieved a historic milestone when HMS Lancaster’s Wildcat helicopter became the first rotary wing aircraft to land at the island of St Helena’s new airport.

Sitting 1,200 miles off the coast of African and 1,800 miles from South America, St Helena is one of the most remote islands in the world – but all of that is scheduled to change early next year when the airport officially opens.

Landing at St Helena airport was a fantastic opportunity to bring a brand new helicopter to a brand new airport, particularly during such an historic period for the island. The airport will usher in a new era for the local community and I was delighted to be a part of that.

– Flight Commander Dave Neyland
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