This was clear, although experts were not yet able to point to the root cause of the first serious malfunction in a complex piece of machinery weighing 170 tons.
Men from Portsmouth Naval Base and Illustrious sailors worked together on a £4m repair job which would take until July to complete.
The aircraft hangar was divided into sections to house the vast number of components brought up from the fire area several decks below to be inspected, cleaned, repaired, repainted, and replaced if necessary.
Shore-based services were used to power machinery and tools used by men working shifts around the clock.
Captain Alan Grose, the commanding officer of Illustrious said: ‘No one is sitting around with nothing to do that’s for sure.
‘The fire was a bitter disappointment to us all.
‘People have taken it remarkably well and the fact Illustrious will get back into Global 86 with a trip to Australia and the Far East is keeping everyone going.’