Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

HMS Queen Elizabeth: Navy's newest and largest warship arrives home in Portsmouth

The Royal Navy's newest and largest warship has arrived at its home port in Portsmouth for the first time.

Crowds lined the seafront to welcome HMS Queen Elizabeth, expected to be the Navy's flagship carrier for the next 50 years.

The 65,000-tonne vessel, which will able to defend Britain "for years to come", had been training at sea after setting out from Scotland's Rosyth dockyard in June.

Followed by a flotilla of craft, the ship sailed through the Solent before docking at Portsmouth early on Wednesday.

Most crew members stood at the vessel's side to acknowledge the crowds seeing her home, with fireworks set off as she arrived.

Commander Darren Houston could be heard saying over the tannoy to those on the shore: "Good morning, Portsmouth".

The 65,000-tonne vessel cost £3 billion to build. Credit: PA

At 280 metres long and 70 metres wide, the £3 billion ship is big enough to house three football pitches.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain could be "proud" of the ship and "what it represents."

She said: "It sends a clear signal. That as Britain's forges a new, positive, confident role for ourselves on the world stage in the years ahead, we are determined to remain a fully-engaged global power."

Theresa May addressed crew aboard the warship.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the vessel had made "good progress" during sea trials, describing her presence as "mighty".

"She is Britain's statement to the world: a demonstration of British military power and our commitment to a bigger global role," he said.

Mr Fallon added: "When she enters service she will help keep Britain safe at a time of increased threats, able to fill multiple roles from providing air power anywhere at any time to fight future campaigns, supporting allies or delivering humanitarian aid."

Crew stand aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth as it docks at Portsmouth. Credit: PA

On board HMS Queen Elizabeth there are five gyms, a cinema, games room, and space to play basketball and tug of war.

Facilities on board include a chapel, a medical centre and 12-bed ward, currently staffed with three GPs, a nurse and medical assistants, as well as a dentist and dental nurse.

Captain Jerry Kyd said his favourite part of the ship is the laundry - which he called "huge and bespokely built".

The waterfront on both sides of Portsmouth harbour was packed on Wednesday with people, waving flags and banners, keen to grab a view of the historic moment.

Louise Bond, 30, from Fareham, Hampshire, whose husband, Petty Officer Greg Bond, 33, is serving on board, said: "It's my first homecoming. It's brilliant. I was up at 2.30am, first in line.

"It's amazing, I wouldn't miss it for the world. It's a historic moment, once-in-a-lifetime to see."