The Prime Minister has waved off the Royal British Legion’s cruise ship MV Boudicca from the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth as it carries 250 Second World War heroes to Normandy.
Theresa May was joined by defence secretary Penny Mordaunt and First Sea Lord Sir Philip Jones on the deck of the Royal Navy’s largest warship as the ship’s company held a guard of honour for the veterans.
Well-wishers lined the seafront and a flotilla of small boats took to the waters to see off the Boudicca as it sailed out of Portsmouth harbour.
A total of 11 Royal navy warships lined its route out to the Solent as it headed to France for the commemorations on D-Day on Thursday in Bayeux and Arromanches.
A Spitfire from Battle of Britain Memorial Flight also flew overhead and circled the Boudicca three times.
The ship returns to Portsmouth on Saturday before concluding its journey in Dover on Sunday.
Earlier, tens of thousands of people lined the seafront to watch a display by the Red Arrows following the national commemoration event on Southsea Common.