Oh My Goodness. We thought the six Daring Class destroyers were massive when they originally arrived – they are cruiser’s compared to her! HMS Queen Elizabeth, or to give her official pennant number of RO8, sailed into port through the harbour very gingerly, amongst a huge flotilla of tugs, Harbour Police, cruisers, yachts, ribs, pleasure craft, whatever anybody could find to go out and meet her in the early morning of a potentially sunny August day. Crowds everywhere on both sides of the harbour all around were waiting to welcome her; you would think the Queen was arriving and of course she was. Regardless of the ongoing debate of her cost (and that of her sister ship to follow, HMS Prince of Wales) it cannot be denied that when she is in full service her full potential will be well recognised. There are no adjectives enough to describe her size; it’s just breathtaking and we should all be very proud of our Navy and its heritage. A considerable number of the complement lined the decks, a fly-past of two Hawk jets, a Sea King helicopter together with four Merlins joined in with us all to cheer in our very new Aircraft Carrier.
For some two years dredging of the harbour has been ongoing, day and night, to make the draft deep enough to accomodate her. For the past months anticipation of her arrival has been growing and eventually this magnificent vessel is here after being nudged gently by the many tugs required, including those specially commissioned to support her, into her, again specially adapted, berth.
This was really a once in a lifetime experience and while she is in Port you must visit the Naval Dockyard – go and be amazed.
It was an incredible privilege to watch this spectacular ship arrive into her home port for the very first time and she is now my neighbour, while in port, outside my windows!