Warship returns with a fresh scar from prang in dockyard

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EVER ready for war, the navy’s ships have to be tough.

And HMS Lancaster has shown how strong she is after returning home to Portsmouth Naval Base with a scar after being guided into a dock in London.

HMS Lancaster making her way into Portsmouth Harbour today in very limited visibility ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (13664-3070)

HMS Lancaster making her way into Portsmouth Harbour today in very limited visibility ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (13664-3070)

She was given the mark while being guided into West India Quay in London but the navy say it is nothing a bit of paint won’t fix.

A spectator watching her 
in London captured the collision with a lock on video earlier this month.

The mark will be removed before the small section is repainted.

Fortunately, the Type 23 frigate did not damage the lock.

Invincible-class aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious also returned after she had been at Glen Mallan on Loch Long in Scotland to restock her ammunition supply.

Around 100 of her crew seized the chance to catch a glimpse of the navy’s future with a tour of the 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier at Rosyth dockyard.

They explored a cavernous space which will eventually become the operations room of the country’s biggest warship and were given a presentation on the carrier programme.

She is now around 80 per cent complete.

Three times the size of HMS Illustrious – or Lusty as she is known – Queen Elizabeth currently has a ship’s company of just 18 but will be crewed by a crew the size of Lusty’s when finished.

Ten of those hopped aboard Lusty on the way back to the city.

Warrant Officer Lee Redford said: ‘The scale and ambition of the project is just staggering.

‘The crane which is used 
to assemble the ship is a breathtaking engineering achievement in itself.

‘I knew the flight deck was going to be big, but it is only when you stand on it that you really appreciate its size.’

The outward part of the Queen Elizabeth will be mostly complete by the end of the year with a stern block and two islands – one forward to command the ship and the aft one to run flight deck operations.

When painted she will then be put afloat in 2014 for final fitting.

Warrant Officer Kenny Reid said: ‘We have formed a very close working relationship with the crew in Illustrious.

‘We need to understand all of the complex moving parts and routines that bring the ship and the aircraft together.’

Lusty will be retired at the end of 2014 with Queen Elizabeth due to start trials with the F35 Joint Strike Fighter jump jet in 2018.