Veteran served on board former HMS Queen Elizabeth

Veteran Roland  Andrews
Veteran Roland Andrews

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IT HAS been more than 60 years since he stepped foot on board the former HMS Queen Elizabeth.

But for veteran Roland Andrews, it was a memorable day to see the new aircraft carrier officially named in Scotland.

The former seaman was at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard to see the official naming ceremony on the big screen.

The 90-year-old watched on affectionately with memories of when he first stepped on board the battleship HMS Queen Elizabeth in his mind.

Roland, of Milford Close, Bedhampton, said: ‘I first joined HMS Queen Elizabeth in February 1941 as a seaman.

‘I did a number of jobs on board and she was a great ship.

‘I was on board until she was decommissioned in 1948.

‘I left her that date like a lot of the other sailors on board.

‘I remember when she had to be repaired in Alexandria, in Egypt, after an attack in December.

‘I stayed on her that whole time.’

HMS Queen Elizabeth was decommissioned in the summer of 1948.

But for Roland, it is great that the new HMS Queen Elizabeth will be returning to Portsmouth.

He added: ‘Yesterday meant a lot to me because it’s the first step in the ship coming home and back to Portsmouth.

‘I represent the veterans as the secretary of the Veterans Reunion so it is important to a lot of people.

‘I think it is very good that it will be here in Portsmouth.’

The HMS Queen Elizabeth battleship was part of the dreadnought battleships class.

She served in both the First and Second World Wars and was launched in Portsmouth on October 16, 1913.

After being damaged in the Second World War, the ship was repaired in Egypt and served in the Far East until July 1948 when she was decommissioned.