Today sees the Queen christen the Royal Navy’s largest ever ship and their new flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), with a bottle of whiskey in Rosyth at 11am. The QE Carrier class is epic in scale and the city and the people of Portsmouth have been heavily involved in the process of creating both ships in the class (HMS Queen ELizabeth and HMS Prince Charles), with towering sections built by shipbuilders in the Royal Dockyard at the now empty, cavernous sheds. Fitting maybe that 500 plus years of shipbuilding craftsmanship for the Navy in Portsmouth ends with the largest and most advanced warships to ever have been made in the UK.
To get a sense of the scale, HMS Queen Elizabeth is three time the size of HMS Illustrious which until it’s current trip up to Govern for the ceremony has overlooked Portsmouth Harbour. The 56 metre tall ship, 4 metres taller than Niagara Falls, and 284 metres long…when she comes to her new home port of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth in 2017 for sea trials and then in service in 2020, she will instantly become a striking land/seamark for the city.
For every photo and TV clip you see today of HMS Queen Elizabeth and in the 50+ years of this very special ship’s service life, it is worth taking a moment to remember a part of the very fabric of this ship, including the distinctive forward Island – home to the bridge, was built in this city, by highly skilled and experienced shipbuilders continuing a cultural tradition that went back to the Mary Rose and beyond.
Below are a few images of the sections produced in Portsmouth:
Photo: BAE Systems
Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013
QE Class artist illustration