The carrier Ark Royal is sailing from Newcastle upon Tyne on it’s last journey as a British ship on it’s way to Germany. The ship is being decommissioned as part of the UK spending cuts, on it’s 25th Anniversary. At the same time the Harrier jump jet force is being stood down, a similarly momentous end to great service in the UK services.
This affects us directly, my son is a Captain in the Royal Marines and also a Harrier pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, so as of 15th December he no longer had a role. Not that this necessarily means the end of his career or even his flying days, although I can’t see him going back to commanding amphibious infantry again. I am surprised and pleased to say that he seems to be holding up well despite the bad news.
Ann and Matthew met up with Mike and HyunMi in Newcastle over the weekend, and Ann watched as the Ark Royal sailed out of the Tyne on it’s last trip, Mike on the deck at attention. Later that afternoon Mike led the last 4 Harriers off the deck, he was the first of the last flight, his plane with a special red tailfin.
You can see it here, eve though they seemed to have changed the actual flight sequence.