Ark Royal’s last voyage


The British Royal Navy light aircraft carrier Ark Royal approaches Naval Station Mayport for a scheduled port call in May. // MC1 Leah Stiles

Her Majesty’s fleet took an austerity beating in October; that’s when it learned its flagship HMS Ark Royal would be decommissioned. On Friday, the doomed carrier pulled into Portsmouth, England, for the last time.

The Guardian reports:

“It’s very emotional,” said Leading Seaman Paul Stockell, one of those who had tears in his eyes — and not just because of the biting wind –as he helped bring the ship alongside in Portsmouth today.

Stockell has lived on board Ark Royal for four and a half years. “She’s home from home to me. It was a shock when we heard she was to be decommissioned. She’s the most famous ship in the world. I’ve been all over and everyone knows the Ark Royal.”

For many, joining the crew of Ark Royal has been a career goal. Chief Petty Officer Joseph Todd, the ship’s chief medical assistant, said he had long aimed to serve on board the flagship: “She’s been a talisman in the navy for a long time. Ark Royal is a name that resonates. She’s in a class of her own — she’s a proud ship and everyone who serves on her tries to live up to her name.”

The Guardian put together a nice slideshow that you can view here.


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