Palma.—Two Royal Navy warships will be paying a historic four-day visit to Port Soller starting on Saturday as they return home after a two and a half year deployment to the Persian Gulf.

It is the first time ever that Royal Navy warships have visited Soller, which was once home to a major Spanish Navy submarine base. The Spanish Navy still operates the base but warship visits are infrequent.

It will be a poignant moment for the British Navy Attache at the Madrid Embassy, Commodore Frederick Price, when HMS Middleton and HMS Pembroke sail into port because he was born in the Soller area and he spends his summer holidays there.

The two minesweepers are returning to Britain after a long tour of duty in the Gulf where they have been involved in counter-piracy operations and flying the flag for the Royal Navy in the area. “The ships will dock in Soller at about 9a.m. on Saturday morning, it will be a tight squeeze because the naval base is not that big. I would like to thank the Spanish Navy for all their help in organising this visit,” Commodore Price, told the Bulletin yesterday. “Although the ships have been away for two years their crews are rotated although the two crews who will be visiting Soller have still been away for eight months,” he added. HMS Middleton and HMS Pembroke have been in Malta this week where they have been taking part in the commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Malta convoys.

The ships will remain in port until early next week when they will begin the last leg of their journey home to their bases in Portsmouth and Faslane in Scotland.

The Naval Attache said that a small reception would take place on board the ships this weekend for local officials and members of the Spanish Navy. Usually Royal Navy ships visit the Port of Palma, which makes this visit extra special.

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