Ark Royal prepares to leave Portsmouth

HMS Ark Royal. Picture: LA(Phot) Stuart Hill / MOD

HMS Ark Royal. Picture: LA(Phot) Stuart Hill / MOD

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THE Royal Navy’s former flagship Ark Royal has been moved in readiness for her final farewell on Monday.

The 22,000-tonne aircraft carrier is to be towed for the scrapyard in Turkey.

Hundreds are expected to gather at the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth and at the Hot Walls to wave goodbye to the much-loved ship.

In preparation for her exit, the stripped-down Ark Royal was towed from the basin which has been her home since 2010, to the Victory 
Jetty at Portsmouth Naval Base.

She is expected to leave Portsmouth Harbour at around 1pm on Monday.

As reported in The News, there had been hopes Ark Royal could be preserved as a museum ship, but the Ministry of Defence said she was in too poor a condition.

Instead, HMS Illustrious will be preserved when she finishes active service.

Leyal Ship Recycling saw off 16 other bids for Ark Royal.

Other proposals included turning her into a diving wreck, a heliport in London, or a floating casino in China.

Do you have a story to tell about Ark Royal? Did you serve on board the warship? Call defence correspondent Sam Bannister on (023) 9262 2137 or e-mail sam.bannister@thenews.co.uk.

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