Arriving home in time for Christmas is obviously a huge bonus and my crew can now enjoy some well-earned rest and leave

Lieutenant Commander Mark Headley, Commanding Officer HMS Atherstone

Atherstone’s role included conducting route surveys, sea-bed clearance and mine clearance operations throughout the Gulf region to protect busy shipping lanes. She also provided a visible Naval presence in an area which supplies much of the UK’s oil and gas and therefore vital to the country’s economy.

Her Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mark Headley, said: “Our homecoming is a fantastic finale to a highly successful six months deployed upholding the UK’s reputation of operating some of the finest front-line mine warfare forces in the world, together with building partner capabilities and reassuring other nations. 

“To bring HMS Atherstone back to Portsmouth three years and seven months after she set sail for deployment is a rare privilege within the mine countermeasures community.

“Arriving home in time for Christmas is obviously a huge bonus and my crew can now enjoy some well-earned rest and leave.”