Watch: Amazing facts about Portsmouth’s new Queen Elizabeth Class carriers

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Shell - James Martin with the piece of shell which hit HMS Baham during the first world war. In the background is a photograph of the ship

THIS WEEK IN 1984: Veteran finds shell that struck his ship in Southsea junk shop

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A new base the size of 10 football pitches has been created to provide support for the next generation of aircraft carriers.

The Queen Elizabeth Class Centre of Specialisation has been built at Portsmouth Naval Base and will cover an area of 70,000 square metres - approximately the size of 10 football pitches.

It will be home to HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, the scale of which is shown in a video by BAE Systems.

The centre will include a 7,000 square metre Forward Support Centre able to hold 15,000 pallets of medical, mail and naval stores under one roof, a cafe seating more than 500 people at any one time and a reception centre for all those working on or visiting the carriers.

The centre will house employees of Team Portsmouth, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems, with engineers, logisticians and waterfront staff working alongside each other to plan and deliver the maintenance for these ships.

Mike Howarth, managing director for BAE Systems Maritime Services in Portsmouth, said: “At 65,000 tonnes the new carriers are the largest and most complex naval ships built in the UK. It’s essential that they have high quality facilities and highly skilled people to support them.

“This centre will be the home not just for the carriers; it will also be home for the military and civilian people who support them.

“With improvements to the jetty and construction of a high voltage power station already in its final stages, you can now see that we are well on the way to being ready for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s arrival next year.”

Commodore Jeremy Rigby, naval base commander, said: “The work on the Queen Elizabeth Class centre is yet another tangible milestone in getting the naval base ready to support our new aircraft carriers.”

Mark Lancaster, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans, said: “This new centre of specialisation will ensure that our highly skilled engineers, logisticians and waterfront staff are well supported, and have the facilities they need as Portsmouth becomes the home of the Queen Elizabeth Class Carriers next year.

“Our £100 million investment in the naval base and the arrival of the carriers will support and sustain thousands of jobs across the region.”

100 things you might not know about the new carriers.