HMS Liverpool sailed up the River Mersey and moored at the Pier Head for the last time this morning.
The men and women on board spoke of their pride and excitement at returning to the city.
For Leading Physical Trainer Instructor Christopher Reeves, who was at the helm and, therefore, “parking” the Type 42 Destroyer in front of the Three Graces, the homecoming was extra emotional.
The 28-year-old, from Fazakerley, had members of his family on board and also at the dock to watch his special moment.
He said: “This will be my last day at sea – I am going to be posted abroad on a land-based job so it is a huge honour to bring the ship alongside in my home port.
“I am a bit nervous too, but it means a lot to me and my family to be able to do this.”
HMS Liverpool will not pass by the waters of the River Mersey again.
She will be decommissioned at the end of March, putting an end to 30 years protecting Britain’s interest all over the world.
She came into service just weeks after the end of the Falklands conflict and, in Libya last year, was the first Royal Navy vessel to fire her guns in anger since those engagements in the South Atlantic in 1982.
On May 19 last year Leading Hand David Thomas, from Birkenhead, had just turned 21 whenthe call to action stations came over the ship’s pipes.
He told the ECHO: “The clock had just struck midnight and the ship went to action stations, so we had to put on our fireproof anti-flash suits and the 4.5m gun on the front of the ship was ready to fire.”
News of HMS Liverpool’s role in the conflict filtered back to the UK, where anxious families waited for word from their loved ones, which could be held up for days due to strict communications rules.