The Royal Navy’s flagship, due to be decommissioned as part of coalition budget cuts, will arrive in the Solent tomorrow morning, unusually entering via the Needles and sailing past Yarmouth, Lepe, Cowes, and Lee-on-Solent before anchoring up overnight for the usual assorted top brass, flunkies and hangers on to visit.
She’s due to pass the Round Tower at around 0940 on Friday morning. The best spots are likely to be along the hot walls in Old Portsmouth (the Round Tower will be packed), although Gosport will be a good spot due to the layout of the Aircraft Carriers deck, which means that the view from port is better as she enters harbour.
Weather permitting there will be a Harrier flypast, in what is likely to be one of the last public flights by the soon to be decommissioned jump jet.
It will be a sad sight indeed, after Portsmouth has become used to seeing brand new warships arriving, and throughout seeing flagships returning from war, almost always victorious. My parents were onboard a tug when HMS Hermes came back from the Falklands. How times change.
- Harriers jump off Ark Royal for last time (guardian.co.uk)
- Tears as Harriers leave Ark Royal (bbc.co.uk)
- Harrier GR9 fighter jet takes off from the Ark Royal for the last time (dailymail.co.uk)
- Sailing into the sunset: The valiant Ark Royal aircraft carrier heads to her final resting place after 25 years of heroic service (dailymail.co.uk)
- Last Harrier jet leaves Ark Royal (mirror.co.uk)