ILLUSTRIOUS poured out her pride for Portsmouth for the final time as she sailed with dignity out of the Solent, onwards to her final resting place.
The sun beat down on the ageing carrier, but her beauty nevertheless shone through as crowds packed out Old Portsmouth and the Round Tower to say their goodbyes.
There were cheers, waves and a few tears as Illustrious - given the affectionate nickname Lusty by her Ship’s Company - proudly made her way through the harbour.
It was a sight to behold as the Falklands veteran stirred up memories of naval life and her time serving Portsmouth and the nation at sea.
Despite last-ditch efforts to preserve her - including a plan by ocean racing legend Alan Priddy to transform her into a UK powerboat centre - Lusty will now come to rest at a scrap yard in Turkey.
Lovedean resident Gary Taw, 67, made the trip to the Round Tower this morning to take photos and pay his respects.
Mr Taw said ‘I can remember when she came in during the summer of 2014, it was baking hot.
‘It’s sad. She’ a big part of Portsmouth’s history.
‘There was a £15m bid turned down for the ship, yet we have gone on to get £2m for scrap.
‘We should have kept an aircraft carrier - the Americans do and we should too.
‘Illustrious should be here in Portsmouth, it’s the place for her to be.’