Navy thanks Portsmouth for carrier’s warm welcome

PORTSMOUTH should be immensely proud of welcoming the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier into the city.

That is the message from one of the navy’s top officers following the momentous arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth into her new home city.

HMS Queen Elizabeth arrives in her home port of Portsmouth Harbour for the first time Picture: Steve Reid/Blitz Photography

Captain Ken Houlberg is the chief of staff to the commander of the UK’s new carrier strike group – a battlegroup of warships that will one day protect Britain’s new supercarrier when she deploys overseas.

He said the new warship was going to be a ‘game-changer’ for the UK and would help the city’s economy to thrive.

Capt Houlberg – who watched the arrival of the 65,000-tonne vessel from Portsmouth Naval Base – said: ‘Portsmouth is embarking on a new carrier era along with the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Defence and the nation.

‘This is the nation’s carrier. Portsmouth should be very proud of hosting and basing her here. She is a symbol of our nation’s pride.’

Commodore Andrew Betton is the head of the UK carrier strike group and also watched the historic homecoming from the naval base.

He praised Portsmouth and the neighbouring town of Gosport for their ‘tremendous support’ of the landmark occasion.

Speaking to The News after the arrival of the new future flagship, Cdre Betton said: ‘It was a very proud moment for the Royal Navy – a real lump-in-throat moment for any mariner. Portsmouth’s support was tremendous.’

Queen Elizabeth sailed into Portsmouth on Wednesday. She is expected to remain in the city until she resumes her sea trials later this year.

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