Illustrious is back, ready for action
TRUE to the spirit in which she joined the Fleet nearly 30 years ago, HMS Illustrious completed the very fi nal act of her long
at sea, just as the aircraft carrier’s very fi rst commissioning took place in 1982. Back then Lusty was making best speed for the
Falklands to relieve her sister HMS Invincible. Three decades later, the helicopter assault ship was sailing at a more leisurely pace back from her fi rst overseas visit in two years, Hamburg. It being winter, the poignant ceremony took place in Illustrious’ cavernous hangar. The 700 men and women currently serving in the ship turned out smartly in their No.1 ceremonial
road out of refi t: her rededication. The ceremonial and symbolic act was performed
uniforms for this special occasion, with musical accompaniment to the hymns provided by the always-excellent HMS Illustrious volunteer band.
physical training instructor, CPO Derik Nordon, who was aboard when Lusty was fi rst commissioned at sea in June 1982. “‘I feel privileged to have served in
Present at the ceremony was the ship’s senior
Illustrious three times, at the very beginning, during the middle, and now again as she nears the end of her famous career,” he said. “Each time it has been the people who I have
Lusty’s famous badge, a few ‘interesting characters’ drawn from the ship’s company depicted in icing, and photos capturing various moments in the ship’s life from the past six months.
served with that have made being on board such an enjoyable experience.” Rededication proceedings concluded with the cutting of the rededication cake, decorated with
Training period but events last year, which saw HMS Ocean deployed for seven months, resulted in HMS Illustrious’ training programme being brought forward.
Lusty therefore conducting her ceremony after
A rededication ceremony would normally take place ahead of a ship’s Operational Sea
As is traditional, the cutting was performed by the youngest person on board, 18-year-old Chef Lewis Steel, who sliced the cake in half; the two huge slices were shared between two lucky mess decks (determined by a raffl e) to enjoy.
successfully completing two months of intensive training and assessment off the South West coast ahead of taking over as Britain’s on-call helicopter carrier from Ocean. The rededication ceremony was also a fi tting fi nal act for the current Commanding Offi cer, Capt Jerry Kyd, who handed over command of the 22,000-tonne warship to Capt Martin Connell last month. “It was a very busy and demanding year regenerating this fi ne ship from sailing from refi t in Scotland in June to being ready for whatever the Government wants us to do around the world,” said Capt Kyd. “The ship’s company have been brilliant as always and I’m tremendously proud of what they have achieved in the last year. Illustrious is back, ready for action.”
Picture: LA(Phot) Dean Nixon, HMS Illustrious
Manpower cuts. Pension forecasts. New AFP Scheme.
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FEBRUARY 2012 : 11
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