There were tears of sadness and joy as HMS Cumberland returned to its base to be decommissioned.
As the ship's captain Steve Dainton expressed his sorrow at the ship being withdrawn from service so soon after playing a vital role in saving lives in Libya, one of his sailors had plenty to smile about.
As soon as the Type 22 frigate docked in Devonport Naval Base in Plymouth for the last time, Able Seaman Mike Marsden stepped off the vessel and proposed to his girlfriend Janine Hilton.
Mr Marsden, 23, from Manchester, made his way to Ms Hilton, 32, whom he has been dating for a year, and got down on bended knee - and in front of delighted friends, family and shipmates, she said yes.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Marsden said he had been planning the moment for the whole six-month tour.
"I got the answer I wanted, I'm over the moon," he said. "I just want to go out now and have a few drinks."
Ms Hilton added: "I just cannot get over it, I am extremely happy. I am amazed that he managed to keep it a surprise
Capt Dainton later revealed that Mr Marsden had used his cabin to practice the proposal on Friday night.
Speaking about the ship's demise, the captain added: "It is a very sad day and one of mixed emotions, not only for the ship's company but for everyone who has served on board her over the last 22 years."
The ship's final tour was extended by a month as she was called upon to rescue hundreds of British and foreign civilians caught up in the increasingly bitter conflict in Libya. During three emergency visits to the port city of Benghazi, Cumberland evacuated 454 people including 129 British citizens.