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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 20:01 GMT 21:01 UK
Sub returns after record mission
A sailor is welcomed by his family
A sailor greets his family on the dockside at Plymouth
A nuclear-powered submarine has returned to its home port from the Gulf.

Devonport-based HMS Turbulent has been away for more than 10 months, which is believed to be the longest ever deployment by a nuclear-powered submarine.

The submarine spent the day in Plymouth Sound before docking at the naval base on the evening high tide.

The 116-strong crew were reunited with their families and friends.

Kay Chaston, 33, from Plymouth, held up her nine-week-old daughter Phoebe for her husband, Lieutenant Commander Steve Chaston, to see for the first time.

She said: "This is the first time he's seen her so it's very exciting for everyone.

"He was most upset to miss the birth. We just want to get him home - it's been too long."

A couple embrace
Tears flow as family and friends are reunited after a long absence

Lieutenant Commander Chaston, 33, cradled his daughter and said: "I am over the moon. Absolutely delighted.

"It is like Christmas and all the birthdays I've missed all at the same time. She's beautiful."

Petty Officer Fraser Pearson, 35, was met by his wife Sara and their children Katie, 7, and Chloe, 4.

He said: "It's very emotional. I've been waiting for this moment. They've changed a lot even though I've only been away for nine weeks."

HMS Turbulent was on exercise in the Far East when she was diverted to the Gulf to take part in the operation to remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq.

The submarine is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, some of which were fired by the vessel during the Iraqi conflict.

HMS Turbulent's targets were command and control centres in Baghdad, which were hit by the missiles that can be fired from more than 1,000 miles away.

HMS Turbulent returns to Plymouth
HMS Turbulent has been away for more than 10 months
She is one of five of the Royal Navy's seven Trafalgar Class hunter-killer boats based at Devonport and has been away from home for 300 days.

Commanding officer of HMS Turbulent, Commander Andrew McKendrick, said staying away for so long had not come as a shock.

"We knew events were developing.

"When we left home there was always an option of us staying away for longer, so it wasn't a surprise.

"To hear at Christmas that you were staying away for another two months was not the greatest news, but as ever, the team accepted it and got on with the job."

Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram was full of praise for the submarine's crew.

HMS Turbulent in Plymouth Sound
The submarine stayed in Plymouth Sound until evening high tide
"We can take great pride at what they have achieved.

"They have been at sea for a long time carrying out difficult tasks, but they performed magnificently."

Commander in Chief of the Fleet, Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, was also delighted with the efforts of the submariners.

"They are a huge credit. The submarine has done the equivalent of going twice around the world," he said.

"It has been away for 10 months and it has done every single kind of mission the Navy could ask of it.

"It has been the embodiment of what you pay for and get from a submarine."




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