UKHMS Illustrious rededication completes long road out of refit

As when she first joined the Fleet in 1982, HMS Illus­tri­ous has once again been for­mal­ly wel­comed into the bosom of the Roy­al Navy with a reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mo­ny at sea.

 -
Reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mo­ny takes place in HMS Illustrious’s cav­ernous hangar [Pic­ture: Lead­ing Air­man (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Dean Nixon, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The air­craft car­ri­er held the cer­e­mo­ny as she returned from Ham­burg — the ship’s first vis­it to a for­eign port in more than two years. 

The cer­e­mo­ni­al and sym­bol­ic act — a sort of ’naval chris­ten­ing’ — was per­formed at sea, just as the air­craft carrier’s first com­mis­sion­ing had tak­en place in 1982. 

Back then ‘Lusty’, as the ship is affec­tion­ate­ly known, was mak­ing best speed for the Falk­lands to relieve her sis­ter ship HMS Invin­ci­ble. Three decades lat­er, the heli­copter assault ship took a more leisure­ly pace home from the North Ger­man port of Hamburg. 

Being Decem­ber, the poignant cer­e­mo­ny took place inside Illustrious’s cav­ernous hangar. 

The 700 men and women cur­rent­ly serv­ing on board turned out smart­ly in their No 1 cer­e­mo­ni­al uni­forms for this spe­cial occa­sion, with musi­cal accom­pa­ni­ment to the hymns pro­vid­ed by HMS Illustrious’s vol­un­teer band. 

Present at the cer­e­mo­ny was the ship’s senior phys­i­cal train­ing instruc­tor, Chief Pet­ty Offi­cer Derik Nor­don, who was on board ‘Lusty’ when she was first com­mis­sioned at sea in June 1982: 

“I feel priv­i­leged to have served in 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 served with that have made being on board such an enjoy­able experience.” 

Reded­i­ca­tion pro­ceed­ings con­clud­ed with the cut­ting of the reded­i­ca­tion cake, dec­o­rat­ed with the ship’s famous badge and sur­round­ed by pho­tos depict­ing var­i­ous moments in the ship’s life from the past six months. 

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 raf­fle) to enjoy. 

A reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mo­ny would nor­mal­ly take place ahead of a ship’s Oper­a­tional Sea Train­ing peri­od but events this year, which have seen HMS Ocean deployed for sev­en months, have result­ed in HMS Illustrious’s train­ing pro­gramme being brought forward. 

‘Lusty’ there­fore con­duct­ed her cer­e­mo­ny after 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 HMS Ocean. 

The reded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mo­ny was also a fit­ting final act for the cur­rent Com­mand­ing Offi­cer, Cap­tain Jer­ry Kyd, who hands over com­mand of the 22,000-tonne war­ship to Cap­tain Mar­tin Con­nell in the New Year: 

“It has been a very busy and demand­ing year regen­er­at­ing this fine ship, from sail­ing from refit in Scot­land in June to now 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 am tremen­dous­ly proud of what they have achieved in the last year. Illus­tri­ous is back, ready for action.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twitter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →