Five years ago, two sections of the Royal Navy’s first new generation aircraft carrier left the shipbuilding yard in Portsmouth en route for Rosyth, where final assembly of the ship was to take place. It was to be the first time that a major ship for the Royal Navy would be built in sections, in multiple yards around the British Isles.
On Wednesday 16th August 2017, ‘Big Lizzie’ as she’s already affectionately known, came home to her home base in Portsmouth for the first time, greeted by a large crowd of well wishers who’d turned out early to line the waterfront between Southsea Castle and Old Portsmouth. I wasn’t the only member of the SPS Council up at 5:30 in the morning to be sure of a close up view. In fact, I’d been awake at 3:30 that morning and had checked on Marine Traffic so see whether she really was in the area. No doubt about it, clearly spinning her wheels in Freshwater Bay, waiting for the tide and the waiting crowds.