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REPORT: Ark Royal leaves Portsmouth 'bound for scrapyard'

The aircraft carrier Ark Royal began her final voyage yesterday as she left Portsmouth bound for a Turkish scrapyard.

Thousands of people gathered to say goodbye to the Navy's glorious past - the Ark ignominiously pushed and pulled to her grave by tugs.

But back on dry land thousands of people are working on the future of the fleet as two new aircraft carriers, the biggest ships ever built for the navy, are beginning to take shape. Richard Jones reports and speaks to Paul Bowsher of BAE, Portsmouth.

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Portsmouth prepares to say goodbye to HMS Ark Royal

Hundreds of people are expected at the Round Tower in Portsmouth to watch the final sailing of HMS Ark Royal. The ship will past the tower at 1pm.

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Sad day now the #HMSArkRoyal is being scrapped. My favourite memory as a 15th Long Eaton "Ark Royal" Cub Scout - was a tour & tea on board.

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The ark royal is going to a scrap yard today, after being decommissioned, I was christened on that! How sad!! ???? #hmsArkRoyal #lastsail

The Queen Mother and HMS Ark Royal

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother meets the crew of HMS Ark Royal
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother meets the crew of HMS Ark Royal Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

The Queen Mother launched HMS Ark Royal when she was built in the Swan Hunters Shipyard, Wallsend in 1981. She maintained a close relationship with the ship and its crew, serving as the company's patron until her death in 2002.

In November 2001 at the age of 101 she joined the twelve hundred crew members and their families to rededicate the ship after a major refit.

Nine years later her daughter the Queen would also visit Portsmouth to say goodbye to the ship before it was decommissioned

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother greets the crew of HMS Ark Royal
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother greets the crew of HMS Ark Royal Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive
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