1. ITV Report

Families welcome home sailors from HMS Bulwark

One sailor was surprised to be greeted by his son in a matching uniform Photo: ITV News West Country

The Navy's flagship, HMS Bulwark, has returned home to Plymouth from a four-month deployment around the Mediterranean and Middle East. Being home for Christmas made today's homecoming even more emotional than normal.

HMS Bulwark has been on a four month deployment Credit: ITV News West Country

Hundreds of friends and family lined the quayside at Devonport as the Commando carrier came home. It's often an agonising wait for families and crew as gangplanks are eased into place. But with HMS Bulwark's hydraulic ramp they were pouring off in minutes.

Friends and family lined the quayside to welcome them home Credit: ITV News West Country

The captain's family managed to join the ship in the Sound. He was proud of what his crew had achieved in working with a dozen Navies around the Mediterranian and Indian Ocean, and in visits to ports in Libya and Pakistan.

Having a ship like HMS Bulwark, the Navy's flagship, in a port sends a big message and it is a big statement if the nation's commitment and the nation's commitment to the Middle East in particular which is where most of our deployment has taken place.

– Capt Andrew Burns, HMS Bulwark

Our defence correspondent John Andrews joined family and friends as they greeted their loved ones at Devonport: