HMS Liverpool crew to say goodbye

Those on board the Royal Navy warship HMS Liverpool are preparing to say goodbye to her before she is taken out of service early next year.

The Type-42 destroyer, built at Cammell Laird in Birkenhead, returns to its base in Portsmouth on Monday.

The ship has just spent more than seven months working off the coast of Libya.

During this time the ship's company witnessed the siege of Misratah and the fall of Tripoli, Zlitan, Al Khums and Sirte to the rebels.

The ship also helped enforce the No-Fly Zone above Libya and helped prevent arms from reaching pro-Gaddafi forces by sea.

The Royal Navy said she had been fired at and returned fire 10 times and launched 211 rounds of illumination and high explosive shells from her 4.5 inch gun.

She also worked alongside minehunters HMS Brocklesby and HMS Bangor, standing by to protect the ships as they worked to search and destroy any mines that had been laid.

The nearly 300-strong crew were awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool on their last visit in February.

They are set to make one final visit to Liverpool early next year, before the ship is decommissioned.

Commanding Officer of HMS Liverpool, Commander Colin Williams, said: "She's a beautiful ship. She's got great lines, she has a real heart in her which is generated over generations of sailors coming through and developing a special bond with the city, with each other and with the nation as a whole."

Chris Reeves, a physical trainer on board the ship, said: "I love the city of Liverpool. It means a lot to me and it will always be my home, when I see those Liver birds and all my family I get a bit emotional and I have to look down rather than look at them because I get a bit of a lump in my throat."

HMS Liverpool was commissioned in 1982 and was finished a year ahead of schedule.

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