Rust in peace, Lusty
Ex-British flagship sliced open and recycled into pots and pans
Sent to the scrapyard and sliced into pieces, this was once Britain’s formidable aircraft carrier patrolling the high seas.
Now the 22,000-ton former flagship, with 32 years’ service, is to be turned into razor blades and pots and pans.
The 210m long carrier, which once had a crew of 685 sailors and was launched by Princess Margaret in December 1978, has been cut open by heavy machinery.
HMS Illustrious, known as ‘Lusty’, sailed from its home at Portsmouth Naval Base for the final time in December, with crowds lining the harbour walls to say their farewells. Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, former First Sea Lord and commanding officer of Illustrious, said it was a ‘sad day’ at the time.
It had seen action in the Falklands conflict and supported British forces in Afghanistan, as well as serving in the Bosnian and Sierra Leone conflicts.
But photographed at the weekend at a demolition yard in Aliaga, western Turkey, the last working aircraft carrier is reduced to one last thereafter section.beingwill be strippedIn nothingjust two downleft months,at and all, turned into everything from bridge foundations to cooking utensils.
Formally decommissioned in 2014, the Invincible-class carrier – the last of its kind – was sold for £2.1million to Turkish company Leyalfirm has Ship been Recycling dismantlingLtd. The the warship, used as a landing platform for fighter jets, for months. The sale came despite proposals to turn the carrier into a floating hotel, museum, or even a UK centre for powerboats. Its departure has left the Royal Navy without a fixed-wing aircraft carrier until 2020, when the next generation of £6.2billion Queen elizabeth-class carriers become operational.
The 65,000-ton HMS Queen elizabeth will be commissioned later this year, but will only be launched along with HMS Prince of Wales in three years’ time. Last week a report warned a shortage of Royal Navy sailors could put Britain’s new carriers at ‘considerable risk’. The National Audit Office report said plans to have the two largest ever UK warships seaworthy by the end of 2020 could be delayed further due to understaffing and ‘technical issues’.
Sad sight: Former flagship is reduced to one sliced-open section, as workers in Turkey strip aircraft carrier down to recycle it into utensils and bridge foundations
In action: Illustrious served in the Falklands conflict