The Royal Navy have released a series of images marking the arrival of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and an escort vessel into Gibraltar for the first time.
The carrier will be conducting a routine logistics stop having left her home in Portsmouth last week for helicopter trials. Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said:
“It is a great privilege for me to be bringing our new aircraft carrier into Gibraltar for her first ever overseas port visit. This is the perfect stop for HMS Queen Elizabeth as we conduct our flying trials in the waters off the Iberian Peninsula. And our visit also underlines the incredibly rich history and special relationship the Royal Navy and Royal Marines share with Gibraltar.
I am personally very lucky to have visited the Rock many times in my naval career, but well over a quarter of my sailors have not yet experienced what, for the Royal Navy, is something of an iconic run ashore.”
His Excellency the Governor of the territory, Lieutenant General Edward Davis said:
“From the moment Her Majesty appointed me as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar I, and no doubt all Gibraltarians, have been eagerly awaiting HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first visit to the Rock.
My eagerness reflects two things. First, my pride in one of the world’s most advanced aircraft carriers as a manifest demonstration of the British Navy’s ambition and resolve to ensure that our nation’s maritime and amphibious capability remains a decisive global force for good. And second, my confidence that HMS Queen Elizabeth’s entry into service will see Gibraltar continuing to prove its vital relevance as a mounting and sustainment base for global Britain’s contribution to international security.
I wish HMS Queen Elizabeth and her crew God speed as they make us all proud to be British.”
Commander Tim Berry, the Commanding Officer of HMS Somerset, said:
“Escorting the largest and most technologically advanced carrier ever built for the Royal Navy past the Rock of Gibraltar is of course a huge privilege.
Importantly, it also brings about a new focus for my ship that is both challenging and exciting. Carrier Strike will undoubtedly play a key role in supporting Britain’s global narrative well into the second half of this century and for myself and my ship’s company to be part of this vision is inspiring and very rewarding.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to start fixed-wing flight trials with three or more F-35Bs off the eastern coast of the US around September this year. A fantastic info-graphic created by SaveTheRoyalNavy can be found here and details the timeline of the programme.