HMS Illustrious flies the flag
HMS Illustrious flies the flag proudly as she prepares for a busy 2013
With her huge White Ensign standing proud on a blustery Winter’s day, HMS Illustrious sails for the first time this year with a busy Spring programme ahead. Since returning from the Mediterranean – where she took part in the Royal Navy’s key autumn deployment, Cougar 12 – last November, the helicopter carrier has been at home in Portsmouth undergoing maintenance. This week she has been in the Channel, carrying out flying training; as the nation’s on-call helicopter assault ship, Lusty is at a few days’ notice to sail anywhere in the world should the British
Government require her.
She will be back in Portsmouth briefly over the weekend, before heading off again next week to pay a high-profile visit to Liverpool where, among other events, she will help launch events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. Liverpool was home to the Western Approaches Command in World War 2 – it was from here that the struggle against the U-boat was successfully directed.
And it is in Liverpool that 70th anniversary commemorations will reach their climax between May 24 and 28 with services of thanksgiving, parades, demonstrations, flying displays and a gathering of around two dozen warships from around the world. Key events are also planned in Derry-Londonderry (another key staging post in the Battle of the Atlantic) from May 10-12 and in London from May 8-13.
As for HMS Illustrious, she’ll be in Liverpool from February 14-18, berthed at the cruise terminal in the shadow of the famous Liver Building.
She’s due to open her gangway to the public on Saturday February 16 (10am – 4pm, final access 3pm) and Sunday February 17 (midday – 4pm, final access 3pm).