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Crew members forego Christmas to help in Philippines

Crew of HMS Illustrious are coming back from the Philippines Credit: ITV Meridian
The ship had been on deployment in the Gulf when it was diverted to deliver aid after the typhoon in the Philippines Credit: ITV Meridian
Crew members were away for Christmas, which will probably be celebrated this weekend with friends and family! Credit: ITV Meridian

Philippines to Portsmouth, HMS Illustrious comes home

HMS Illustrious is heading back to the UK after helping in the aftermath of the Philippines disaster.

The ship and her 650 crew members delivered emergency aid supplies in response to the typhoon.

The 23,000-tonne ship was operating in the Gulf when it was diverted to the Philippines to relieve HMS Daring, which was one of the first ships on the scene.

Commanding Officer, Captain Mike Utley, said, "Our capabilities perfectly matched what was required in the Philippines.

"We were able to get to where we were needed quickly and our size and flexibility meant that we could store and distribute extremely large volumes of emergency aid supplies."

HMS Illustrious Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

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Christmas delivery for navy sailors

Sailors from HMS Illustrious helping to take presents on board Credit: Royal Navy

Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious received a large parcel of presents in time for Christmas, despite being in Singapore across the holiday.

The ship had a delivery of 600 bags of mail from families and loved ones.

The endless sacks of presents for the sailors away from their families this christmas Credit: Royal Navy
The sailors have received an abundance of presents despite being out in Singapore Credit: Royal Navy

The ship picked up the bags in Singapore when she called into replenish food, fuel and essential stores.

HMS Illustrious has completed her aid operation and is now on the long voyage home. The remaining crew of around 530 men and women are expected to be reunited with their loved ones in early January.

HMS Illustrious personnel help repair school

Personnel from HMS Illustrious have enabled 450 children in the Philippines to return to school after repairing the building as part of their ongoing humanitarian mission.

HMS Illustrious personnel help children return to school Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

Royal Navy Merlin, Sea King and Army Lynx helicopters from Illustrious are sweeping the region to identify the worst hit areas before teams are despatched to help people to recover from the effects of Typhoon Haiyan.

HMS Illustrious personnel help children return to school Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

One such recent mission was the repair of the school on the island of Calagnaan to the north east of Panay. A specialist team of twenty men and women were deployed to carry out the work. The efforts of the team will allow 450 children to return to the school.

HMS Illustrious personnel help children return to school Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

Top Commander pays a visit to Illustrious

Three days into the operation to deliver aid to the Philippines, HMS Illustrious has been visited by the Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander, US Marine Forces Japan.

Lieutenant General John E Wissler visits HMS Illustrious Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

Arriving onboard the Portsmouth based warship, in an MV-22 Osprey, Lieutenant General John E Wissler was accompanied by Commodore Clive Walker Royal Navy, Commander Joint Forces Logistics Operations.

Lieutenant General John E Wissler visits HMS Illustrious Credit: Crown Copyright 2013
Lieutenant General John E Wissler visits HMS Illustrious Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

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HMS Illustrious commander on Philippines aid efforts

ITV Meridian presenter Amanda Piper has been speaking to Commander Kerry Harris of HMS Illustrious, as the ship continues to provide aid to the Philippines. The vessel arrived in the country on Monday 25th November.

Its crew are expected to still be in the Philippines over Christmas, assisting with the crisis relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan.

HMS Illustrious en route to the Phillipines

HMS Illustrious has today departed Singapore en route to the Philippines.

HMS Illustrious is en route to the Phillipines Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

During 48 hours alongside Sembawang naval shipyard in Singapore, over 500 tons of disaster relief aid was loaded into the hangar by the men and women serving in HMS Illustrious.

HMS Illustrious is en route to the Phillipines Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

During the time alongside in Singapore, additional medical teams embarked along with personnel from 24 Commando Royal Engineers, as well as a humanitarian expert and a logistics adviser from DFID.

HMS Illustrious is en route to the Phillipines Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

HMS Illustrious passes through busiest shipping route

HMS Montrose alongside HMS Illustrious Credit: Royal Navy
Crew salute HMS Montrose Credit: Royal Navy
On the look out for ships coming too close Credit: Royal Navy

HMS Illustrious has been escorted through the Strait of Hormuz by frigate HMS Montrose as she continues on her Gulf deployment.

The carrier is due to start exercises in the Gulf of Oman as part of Cougar 13, which is the annual workout of the Royal Navy's rapid reaction force.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world's busiest shipping routes and, at its narrowest point, is only 21 miles wide. Over 20% of the worlds petroleum passes through this waterway.

HMS Illustrious's Navigation Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Hewitt said, "This is the second time we have transited the Strait of Hormuz.

"With such a large ship to manoeuvre in such a busy shipping area, we to make sure we remain vigilant to vessels approaching too close."

Aircrafts unique landing on the HMS Illustrious

The MV-22 Osprey coming into land on the HMS Illustrious Credit: Royal Navy
The aircraft lands and takes-off vertically Credit: Royal Navy
Sunset over the Red Sea Credit: Royal Navy

A MV-22 Osprey aircraft has landed on the HMS Illustrious for the first time in six years.

The Osprey is the world's first tilt-rotor aircraft and has a unique way of vertically taking off and landing.

The aircraft is mainly a heavy lift troop carrier and has been deployed in both combat and rescue operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Six years ago, HMS Illustrious became the first non-US ship to fly an Osprey and was pleased to welcome one back on board.

The visit gave the aircrafts crew a good chance to demonstrate its flexibility.

HMS Illustrious is currently part of the Response Task Force Group on Cougar 13 operating in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa.

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