HMS Queen Elizabeth has returned home, bringing an historic global deployment to an end.
The Royal Navy say here that HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to Portsmouth today after her global seven month maiden operational deployment leading Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21).
The Carrier Strike Group sailed across three oceans and five seas, cumulatively covering around 500,000 nautical miles. The group has engaged with 44 countries, strengthening partnerships with allies including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, Greece, Israel, India, Italy, Japan, Oman and the Republic of Korea.
Sailors, aviators, ships and aircraft have returned to their home bases in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States of America.
Let's keep the homecomings rolling… 🇬🇧🎄
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) December 9, 2021
3,700 personnel from nine ships, a submarine, five air squadrons and a company of Royal Marines will arrive home in time for Christmas having departed the UK in early May.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“Today we pay tribute to the 3,700 personnel in the Carrier Strike Group that have been our global ambassadors on this historic and ground-breaking deployment.
The personnel and their families have made considerable sacrifices to make this deployment the success it has been. We thank them for all their efforts in strengthening our relationships with our allies and partners around the world.”
Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said:
“Throughout the past seven months HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Strike Group have been furthering the UK’s interests and strengthening our partnerships around the globe. With involvement from across the Armed Forces, and our allies integrated throughout, this deployment has been a truly joint, truly international endeavour, which represents the very best of Global Britain.
I thank everyone involved for their efforts to make this deployment such a resounding success, and I wish our returning sailors, aviators, soldiers and marines a very happy reunion with their families this Christmas.”
The Ministry of Defence said:
“The most significant peacetime deployment in a quarter of a century, Carrier Strike Group 21 has been more than just a military endeavour, bringing together elements of defence, diplomacy and prosperity and flying the flag for Global Britain.”