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"The whole country is proud of you," Prime Minister tells HMS Queen Elizabeth's crew

16 August 2017
Prime Minister Theresa May joined the ship's company of HMS Queen Elizabeth shortly after the carrier's first ever entry to Portsmouth and told them: "the whole country is proud of you".

The Prime Minister embarked HMS Queen Elizabeth moments after the Royal Navy's largest ever warship came alongside for the first time in Portsmouth today. 

Greeted by thousands of people lining the Portsmouth seafront, the 65,000-tonne carrier was met with the warmest of welcomes as she arrived in her home port.

Addressing the ship's company, the Prime Minister said: "Let me start by thanking you all, a great partnership of ship’s company and contractors, for your tremendous work putting this great ship through her paces during her sea trials. I know it’s been a major undertaking.

"This is the biggest and most complex warship ever built for the Royal Navy. So to test her capabilities thoroughly, and to make sure that her 17 million components are working as they should, is a very big job. The fact that she was ready to come in to port ahead of schedule is testament to your hard work.

"As the first generation of sailors to form this ship’s company, you have a special privilege and responsibility. You are setting the standard for those who come after you. Decades from now, when this ship is carrying our flag around the world, protecting our interests and ensuring our security, you will be able to look back on this time with pride. And the whole country is proud of you.

"The skill and professionalism of the Royal Navy are world-renowned. Your service is critical to our country’s security and success in the world. In doing your vital work, you and your families are often called upon to make enormous sacrifices."


 

The carrier programme has brought together the best of British industry, with construction taking place across six cities and involving more than 10,000 people. This includes 700 businesses and suppliers, 800 apprentices and nearly 8,000 jobs at shipyards around the UK.

The UK has 11 state-of-the-art F-35 Lightning II jets and 120 UK personnel training in the United States. By the end of this year that will be 14 jets, with trial flights from the carrier's deck on track to begin next year.

Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, said: "HMS Queen Elizabeth's first entry into her home port of Portsmouth is an historic, proud and exciting occasion, not only for those of us serving in her, but also for the wider Royal Navy, the city of Portsmouth and the entire nation.

"The UK's future flagship, as well her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, will be powerful symbols of Britain's outward facing global character and ambition. The Royal Navy has a very special relationship with Portsmouth dating back half a millennium and both carriers will ensure the Navy's city remains the focal point of our great nation's maritime power for generations to come."

Click here to read the Prime Minister's speech on board HMS Queen Elizabeth in full.

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