Fitting farewell to flagship Ark Royal

Hundreds of people turned out to wave goodbye to the Royal Navy’s former flagship HMS Ark Royal as it was towed away to be scrapped.

The aircraft carrier, which was formally decommissioned in 2011, is being taken to Turkey where it will be dismantled by ship recycling firm Leyal.

People lined the harbour at Portsmouth, Hampshire, to catch a final glimpse of the warship as it left its home base, accompanied by a flotilla of small boats who sailed with her as she was pulled by tugs from the harbour.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Former crew member John Mayer, 47, a former stores assistant from Fareham, said: “It’s a very emotional day, it’s great to see so many people. She was a fantastic, iconic ship.”

The 22,000 tonne carrier, the fifth ship to carry the name, was sold as part of a £2.9m deal following the 2010 strategic defence review. It was “adopted” by Leeds as the ship’s affiliated city a week before the third vessel to carry the name was torpedoed and sunk in 1941 and proud residents raised £9m for Ark Royal IV. Ark Royal was awarded the Freedom of the City of Leeds in 1973, at a ceremony attended by the late Queen Mother.