Today we went to North Shields to visit the HMS Illustrious which had returned to Tyneside for its 30th Anniversary. HMS Illustrious is a helicopter carrier and was built in the Swan Hunter shipyards at Wallsend. The ship had arrived here on Wednesday night and was due to set sail this morning, so we rushed out of the house to try and find it. It was berthed on Northumberland Quay in North Shields, so we decided to have a drive along the coast and finish up looking at the warship.
As you can imagine the ship is rather big but I did manage to get some decent photographs. This is a full length view, you can just see the DFDS ferry that goes to Holland in the far right of the shot as well. It was passing by as we were watching.
The contrast between the two ships is much more marked in this next photo where you can see the ferry much more clearly.
You can see the many aerials that the warship has on it in this next photo I am guessing it is a mixture of radar, radio and other communications antenna. It would have been very interesting to be able to see inside and find out more but that was not possible on this occasion.
This is another shot of the ship from a different angle giving a slightly different view of the communications equipment.
If you want any reminder that this is a battleship you just need to look at the back where you can see one of the guns.
The HMS Illustrious is currently the Royal Navy’s sole remaining aircraft carrier after the Harrier aircraft were retired. At the moment the plan is to withdraw her from service in 2014. It was really interesting to see the Royal Navy ship back on the Tyne and I am glad we made the effort to go and visit while she was here.
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