I had the great privilege -as Chairman of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust- to visit the magnificent aircraft carrier and RN flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth last week. Alongside her sistership, the Prince of Wales, she is the largest and most powerful ship ever built by the Royal Navy. The flight deck of comes in at an enormous four acres and will be used to launch the fearsome F35 Joint Strike Fighter fast jet, 40 of which can be accommodated on board. The ship’s two propellers weigh 33 tonnes each and the powerplant behind them generates enough power to run 1000 family cars. As you would expect, she has state-of-the-art weaponry and communications systems, as well as five gyms, a medical centre and enough wardrooms and messes to feed the 2000 or so people on board.
I was particularly pleased to visit the chapel, where I had forgotten that the cross on the communion table had been donated by my family. It had been on the wartime battleship, King George V, and very fitting that it should now have found its way to this new flagship.
My Father would be very proud. It’s a token of commemoration both of my Father who served through the war and afterwards as a Royal Naval Chaplain, and of all of the brave men who gave their lives serving on King George V.
The Queen Elizabeth is now on 5 days’ notice to sail, and who knows what may lie in front of her, especially at an awful time like this. Perhaps there is some symbolism somewhere in this little cross at the heart of the mighty vessel as we remember the Resurrection.
A very Happy Easter to you all.