New carrier bonds with Bristol as affiliation is inaugurated
The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines provided the music and spectacle, Isambard Kingdom Brunel the engineering backdrop as Britain’s newest carrier was formally bound with Bristol.
Sailors from HMS Prince of Wales made the 370-mile trip from Rosyth to SS Great Britain to inaugurate the affiliation between the second of the nation’s future flagships and one of its great seafaring cities.
Twenty carrier sailors, led by Senior Naval Officer Capt Ian Groom, Bristol businesses such as Rolls-Royce and BT, college students, youth groups and civic leaders, headed by the Lord-Lieutenant of the County and City of Bristol Lois Patricia ‘Peaches’ Golding; she took the salute from the RM musicians as they performed the traditional Beat Retreat.
Both carriers are affiliated with two cities: London and Edinburgh for HMS Queen Elizabeth, Bristol and Liverpool for her sister.
Prince of Wales counts sailors from both cities among her ship’s company; Bristolians were interviewed by the Bristol Post, whose journalists had been invited to the Firth of Forth to see the 65,000-tonne leviathan being fitted out.
It’s important to the ship’s company to have the bond of affiliation to the UK – a feeling of taking a little bit of Blighty with us when we go to sea,Sub Lt Jake Cuddeford
Bristolians like weapon engineer CPOET(WE) Andrew Duchense. “My family have visited ships in Portsmouth, but having a link to my hometown makes this all the more special,” he said.
For ship and city, the event marked the beginning of a 50-year link between the two. To cement that bond initially, the ship will support and assist science and technology events involving Bristol schools and colleges.
And aboard the carrier, the Bristol suite will start to take shape – a series of rooms/compartments which will serve as the diplomatic/ambassadorial quarters when the carrier is flying the flag for UK on deployment.
“It’s important to the ship’s company to have the bond of affiliation to the UK – a feeling of taking a little bit of Blighty with us when we go to sea,” said Sub Lt Jake Cuddeford, the carrier’s education and training officer.
“This is the beginning of a long friendship with a great maritime city.”
Lt Alex Chenery, Prince of Wales’ propulsion engineering officer, added: “It’s been a great opportunity for our city to forge permanent bond with one of the greatest engineering undertakings of the UK in modern times.”