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HMS Prince of Wales puts roots down in her affiliated city of Bristol

HMS PWLS in Bristol
15 December 2021
BRITAIN’S biggest warship has affirmed her bond with the people of Bristol after a weekend of events across the city.

A 30-strong team from HMS Prince of Wales – the newest of the UK’s two 65,000-tonne aircraft carriers – spent the weekend in the West Country city to strengthen their relationships with Bristol.

The Portsmouth-based warship – declared fully operational in September – is formally affiliated with two of England’s great maritime cities: Liverpool and Bristol.

Events across the weekend showcased some of the attractions of Bristol and allowed the sailors from Prince of Wales to enjoy Bristolian hospitality.

That included a visit to Aerospace Bristol, which houses the last of Concorde to fly and charts the history of the local aircraft industry and its connections with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm during the 20th Century.

The Commanding Officer of HMS Prince of Wales, Captain Steve Higham, was invited to put down firm roots in the city, with a yew tree planting in Temple Gardens, serving as an enduring reminder that will grow along with the affiliation and future crew members.

The visit reached its climax with a special ceremony in Bristol Cathedral to mark the close relationship with the city of Bristol.
Captain Higham presented the ship’s White Ensign to Bristol so it can be seen by the city’s inhabitants.

To have the White Ensign hanging in Bristol Cathedral is a privilege and everyone who sees it will feel the connection to the ship

Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding

“Bristol is a sea-faring city and the affiliation with HMS Prince of Wales ensures that our maritime traditions are not all about the magnificent past. This association with the most magnificent ship in the Royal Navy keeps alive Bristol’s links with the sea and our wonderful Royal Navy,” said Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding.

“To have the White Ensign hanging in Bristol Cathedral is a privilege and everyone who sees it will feel the connection to the ship, wherever she may be in the world. The events have helped to cement relations between all members of the community in Bristol, including the business and civic communities. We hope to find many more opportunities in the future to host Captain Steve Higham and his crew and forge ever closer links." 

Captain Steve Higham OBE said, “The flag in the Cathedral is our Ensign. It’s the ship’s flag and flown at sea very recently as we were declared fully operational, ready at 30 days’ notice to deploy.

“Presenting the White Ensign to the Cathedral, marks our affiliation with the City of Bristol and a permanent reminder of our connections to the region.

“Because of the ship’s busy programme, it’s difficult to get time to spare, but we couldn’t miss out on affirming our affiliation. It’s important to the team onboard that we have good roots and connections when we are away. This association means an awful lot to us.

“Ships are always affiliated with great towns and cities, it’s a tradition that goes back a long time, and a senior committee in Whitehall decides which ship goes to which City. We are incredibly grateful and really proud, as the nation’s largest warship that we were given Bristol.”


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