Picture of Royal Navy super-carrier which would have been bigger than HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales

The article I wrote last Saturday about the super-carrier CVA-01 that was planned in the 1960s but never built, attracted much attention... so here’s an artist’s impression of her from the time.

Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 12:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 5:43 pm
The super-carrier that never was. An artist's impression of CVA-01.Picture: Ministry of Defence
The super-carrier that never was. An artist's impression of CVA-01.Picture: Ministry of Defence

As we can see she was to be built much like the future carriers of the Invincible class which for a short while were to be called through-deck cruisers.

Two were planned and they would have had a flight deck of 963ft, including an arrester boom, compared to the 918ft of the new carriers.

Up to 50 aircraft were to be carried and the complement including the aircrew would have been 3,250 compared to less than 1,000 on the two modern carriers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The navy of the mid-1960s was well manned so there would not have been a shortage of sailors.

CVA-01 and CVA-02 were to be named HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Duke of Edinburgh.

On the subject of our two new carriers John Fillingham asks if the Admiralty could be reminded about putting all their eggs in one basket.

He reminds me of Pearl Harbour and to a lesser extent Scapa Flow. A terrorist making a surprise attack on the naval base could cause untold damage with both carriers berthed together.

Of course, at Pearl Harbour, the American carriers, luckily, were out at sea otherwise the outcome of the Battle of Midway might have been different.

Perhaps the Admiralty should think about it.

•John Porter, of Waterloovile, sent some memories of his boyhood in Fratton.

He says: ‘I grew up in St Mary’s Road but my mum used to shop in Lake Road because dad had a seaman’s ration book the size of a cheque book. The bigger shops were more than happy to deal with them.

‘The first shop was a butcher’s where mum would swap points for goods and further down was Hart’s bakery. Mum never used the shop not even for the treacle tart which happened to be my favourite.’

At David Gregg’s John watched the assistant take a lump of butter and smack it around with wooden spatulas before stamping the shop’s name on it and wrapping it greaseproof paper, all in what seemed like a few seconds.

John adds: ‘Another memory, but a little later in time, was of dozens of kids climbing the wall of the vicarage that runs along Fratton Road to see their Pompey heroes pass by in an open top bus.

‘Reg Flewin was in front holding the cup as Pompey were champions of Division One!’

As teenagers he and his friend Tony White went to the back of the Portsmouth Building School (later the home of Radio Victory).

They climbed a fence which got them into the enormous orchard at the back of the vicarage with all sorts of fruit trees.

John says: ‘While loitering with intent the vicar came out and said it was no good the boys scrumping as it was far too early in the year.

‘It was late summer anyway and we boys were escorted off the premises.’

John and Tony crossed to the church, not for prayers but to climb the wobbly wooden staircase that took them up to the top of the bell tower.

He says the view is as good as the one from The Spinnaker Tower and they had a look down St Mary’s Road to see if any of their friends were about.

• The photograph I published on Friday, December 6, of London Road, Cosham, was seen by Andy August, of Cowplain, who tells me to the left alongside the roundabout could be seen the former air raid shelter which was used as a Post Office until the modern building came into being.

In front of Fort Widley to the left is a mark on the hill of the sunken road dug in training by the 14th & 15th Battalion the Hampshire Regiment at the start of the First World War. On the top of the fort were five triangles which Andrew believes were the roofs of huts.