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Picture: Lt Robbie Baillie, HMS Illustrious
AS ‘PORTS’ go, the jetty
While Lusty was ‘tooling NAS also on display. and Sea Kings conduct landing held over her wreck near Gibraltar Fred didn’t take too long
at Glenmallan on Loch
up’, HMS Ark Royal visited And it took a good two hours drills, to clambering around in at the tail end of 2008. to locate (being bright orange
Long is among the quieter
the ammunition jetty to ‘tool after the gangway was closed to the engine room compartments, The history lesson for today’s probably helped, as did the fact
down’ (she’s spending much of fi nally clear visitors from the fl ight carrying out watch duties on the Ark continued further up the that Flotta is smaller than four
quays in the British Isles. 2009 undergoing an overhaul deck. bridge, and driving the ship on Scottish west coast when she square miles – and a sizeable
But not this past month, for the in Portsmouth). A rather more One in ten of Ark’s ship’s occasions during her passage anchored in Scapa Flow. chunk of the island is taken up by
isolated berth has hosted both of grandiose berth beckoned before company is drawn from Merseyside north. It is 70 years since one of the an oil refi nery).
Britain’s aircraft carriers. she reached Scotland, however. and environs apparently – They were also introduced to most daring – and tragic events – In good Blue Peter fashion,
And do not let the tranquil Liverpool’s impressive new including AB(WS) Elizabeth the world of RN fi tness, courtesy in Scapa’s history, the sinking of using the two staffs and a couple
wintry scene above fool you. cruise liner terminal played host Dawson, who celebrated her 21st of a circuit session in the hangar HMS Royal Oak by U47, and 90 of foulie jackets the rescuers
HMS Illustrious may look at to Ark for the second time in seven birthday while the ship was in under the watchful eye of clubz. years since the most infamous, the created a makeshift stretcher and
peace with night falling on the months. Liverpool. Her family, friends and “It has been a fantastic scuttling of the High Seas Fleet. set about making the journey back
loch, but she’s actually packed The carrier spent four four shipmaship tes helped her mark experience and a great “There is not a sailor to the carrier.
with heavy metal thunder. days on the Mersey as as the milestone,the as did the insight into the Royal alive who will not feel Meanwhile in the nearby
The cranes and jetty on the 2009 opened – and locals als Lord MaLo yor of Liverpool, Navy’s lifestyle and a the hairs on the back of village of Lyness, other Ark
left are part of the Glenmallan showed no less enthusiasm asm Cllr StevCllr en Rotheram. privilege to witness, fi rst his neck tingle as he drops sailors had been sent ashore
ammunition facility. to see Ark as on her her Community coaches hand, its role day to day,” anchor in Scapa Flow,” to talk to youngsters at North
Lusty’s about to do some previous stay in the from Livf erpool FC also said Philip Vollans, an said Capt Clink. Walls Community School about
weapons training off Plymouth, so height of summer. climbed aboard to give architecture under- “Scapa Flow does life aboard the carrier and the
she needed to stock up, hence the For two days, the Ark’s football team a graduate from not have links with 21st-Century RN.
trip to the rather remote ammo ship opened her quick training session Sheffi eld University. naval history – Having answered all of the
depot (further up Loch Long from gangway to visitors… on the fl ight deck (see From Merseyside it Scapa Flow is naval questions from the children (and
the nuclear missile storage facility and more than the sport pages). was up to Glenmallan history.” helped the younger ones with
at Coulport). 10,000 people took “What a facility!” where aside from And, by our Burns’ Night preparations), the
Once there, the bombheads the opportunity to enthused Ark’s CO ammunitioning, the reckoning, it’s a good team set off to complete the second
were kept busy as ammo was lifted tour the ship (donating g Capt JC ohn Clink. ship hosted a true while since a carrier half of their mission: to gather
on to the fl ight deck, then moved £5,000 to the carrier’r’ss “Liv“L erpool is such a legend of naval aviation. was in these waters. information about the history of
around either manually, or by the charities as a thank-you). special place for the RN and John ‘Jock’ Moffat is one So why not make the most Scapa Flow...
carrier’s fork lift trucks, before Equally delighted with Ark Royal in particular – the two of those fi gures who truly has of them? ...A task which is made
being safely stowed in the ship’s Merseysiders’ generosity were previous ships to bear the famous changed the course of history. The aim of Ark’s visit was to test somewhat easier thanks to the
magazine. the volunteer fundraisers of the name were built in Birkenhead. It was the pilot’s Swordfish the leadership skills and initiative visitor centre located in the
“The task of loading large RN Historic Flight who do their “The last time I personally drove which struck the crippling blow to of the ship’s company, who were pumping house of the old Lyness
bombs, torpedoes and ammunition utmost to keep vintage Fleet Air a carrier into Liverpool, we had to the German battleship Bismarck, sent on some typical and not-so- Naval Base.
on to a carrier is highly- Arm aircraft in the skies – notably use the locks, which were only just jamming its rudder with a torpedo typical missions. They also visited the Naval
challenging, involving signifi cant Swordfi sh, Sea Hawk and Sea big enough to accommodate us. strike. First, there was a downed cemetery, not only the fi nal resting
planning and careful monitoring Fury. They collected more than “The liner terminal allows the Hitler’s flagship was promptly Harrier GR9 pilot to rescue from place for many who served at
at every stage of the process to £3,000 courtesy of donations Navy and the Liverpool public finished off by the Home Fleet somewhere near the isle of Flotta Scapa, but also many of the 833
ensure the safety of the ship and and sales of various FAA-related much greater access – an obvious (much to the chagrin of Jock and on the southern side of the great sailors lost when the Royal Oak
her crew,” explained Illustrious’ mementos. benefi t to us both.” his 818 NAS comrades aboard natural harbour. went down.
Commander Air Engineering, Cdr So many people came aboard On the journey up to Merseyside HMS Ark Royal III who apparently Five junior rates and an URNU All the Ark sailors returned
Kieran O’Brien. that there was an hour-long queue from Portsmouth, the carrier fancied a crack themselves). student were sent ashore with to their ship with their notepads
“All of it has to be stowed in to see the 814 NAS Merlin on hosted nine members of Yorkshire The veteran aviator, who has some basic kit including wooden full of information – the next step
magazines in a way that makes it the fl ight deck, and almost as University Royal Navy Unit for only recently hung up his fl ying staffs, hand-held radios, extra in their Command, Leadership
ready for supplying to the fl ight much interest in the rather more four days’ introduction to life in a helmet, was guest of honour at clothing and ration packs, and left and Management training was
deck when required.” venerable bagger Sea King of 849 big ship. Ark’s Burn’s Night dinner. to formulate a plan on how they to deliver a presentation to their
The students took part in He left the carrier with a would locate and evacuate the shipmates about Scapa Flow and
numerous activities throughout montage of Ark Royal III and ‘casualty’ – the unfortunate ship’s the place that it holds in the RN’s
the carrier, from watching Merlins the recent wreath-laying ceremony dummy, Fred. history.
● Same loch, different ship... Ark Royal offl oads
ammunition at Glenmallan, as seen from a hillside in Argyll
Forest Park Picture: PO(Phot) Jon Hamlet, HMS Ark Royal
010_NN_Mar.indd 1 18/2/09 17:26:15
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