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H.M.S Illustrious

Here she is, at anchor in Greenwich:

And why the outbreak of aircraft carriers? Well, Ian of Ianvisits, being a splendid fellow, invited me to go along for a tour of the carrier on Saturday, so that prospect was enough to drag me away from my Croydon eyrie for a few hours.

While Illustrious is only a baby aircraft carrier (choppers and six Harriers maximum), it does look awfully big moored in the Thames, and opportunities to sea what our jolly jack tars are up to are fairly limited. As it stood, Ian got on the guest list via a bit of moaning on his blog, so top marks to the RN for monitoring the internet. From what I could see of the various guest lists, most of the folk wandering around the ship were worthies of some description, old sea dogs or Cubs. I am still a bit taken aback that are girls in the latter, but then again I'm old and have antediluvian attitudes on some things. Maybe they let boys join the Brownies. In further evidence that things have changed, one of said small people had a badge marked 'Edam'. If they had out badges for eating cheese, then the long awaited Apocalypse really is upon us.

Anyway, we drew the short straw and were guided around by someone without much skill in maintaining visitor interest - he spent a couple of minutes talking about a fire hose. Yes, really. I had been hoping the Trinidadian lady (T 'n' T was on her name badge) was going to walk us round as she had one of the voices you would happily listen to intoning the phone book. Hey ho...

Once inside the beast, one of my first thoughts was that it reminded me a bit of the car deck of a channel ferry, if on a somewhat more dramatic level. The rake on the stairs presumably acts as a live indicator of the spryness of the ratings and so forth, as some of the less agile members of our group could only negotiate them with much huffing and puffing. The radar room was notable for the utterly crappy seating for the radar bods. Imagine something in a really decrepit mini cab base station and you will be on the right track. The frequency of dymo and handwritten labels popping up hither and yon was a source of minor amusement.

The bridge had rather superior seating, courtesy of Rolls-Royce if the plaque affixed to the captain's chair is to be believed. As Ian has noted, the steering wheel, so to speak, was a rather comical looking thing - about the size of something on a child's pedal car, but presumably it does the job.

Further back on the bridge, I noticed this outbreak of Latin:

'Everything's in your hands' is my best guess but having been denied a classical education, I await a correction.

Further gratuitous carrier and helicopter shots:

All in all a thoroughly entertaining afternoon's diversion, and notable also for the novel view the ship afforded of the river and Greenwich:

With all that fire power, surely the boys and girls in dark blue must have been tempted to put the Dome out of our misery?

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Blogger Old BE said... 7:47 pm


I might have to wander down to the banks of the Thames and take a look at the weekend.

Great pics.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 7:58 pm

Cheers - I would make haste, as it won't be here come the weekend, I believe.  

Blogger Old BE said... 8:44 pm

Ahh good info.  

Blogger Mr Eugenides said... 3:19 am

Splendid stuff. There's nothing quite like a tour of one of Her Majesty's warships.

As for the sign on the bridge, you are pretty much right; if my memory of GCSE Latin holds, it is "Everything's in our hands".

Part of me wants to hope that those are the switches controlling the Tomahawk cruise missiles, but sadly I am sure they are not...  

Anonymous IanVisits said... 11:02 am

If you want to see Lusty at Greenwich, then this afternoon (Tues) is likely to be the last chance as she is leaving at 4am tomorrow morning.

Due to leave on Mon afternoon, the departure is being delayed as high winds make it difficult to squeeze through the Thames Barrier!  

Blogger Pavlov's Cat said... 9:20 pm

"Nostris In Manibus Tuti" is the latin motto of The Aircraft Handler branch of the Royal Navy. It means "Safe In These Hands"  

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