His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, made a flying visit to
Liverpool today as part of celebrations to mark 100 years of
aviation in the Royal Navy.
Prince Andrew was the guest of honour aboard HMS
Illustrious, one of the Royal Navy’s three aircraft carriers,
as it hosts spectacular events throughout its five-day visit
to the city, the highlight of which was a centenary fly-past
over the Mersey.
The unprecedented fly-over attracted large crowds of people up and down the Mersey as around 40 naval aircraft, including Lynx helicopters and hawk jets, took to the skies.
A Harrier pilot on board HMS Illustrious, Paul Tremelling, said: ''It's the best job in the world. I started flying eight years ago and I still love going up there.’’
The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines played for
Prince Andrew and the other guests after the fly past and
will also be performing a sold-out show aboard HMS
Illustrious on Saturday evening to raise money for the
Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.
HMS Illustrious is currently moored at the Queen Elizabeth
Cruise Liner berth. It forms the central attraction of a Royal
Navy village, which will remain at the Pier Head for another
four days as a tourist attraction and recruitment drive. The
ship will also open to visitors on Sunday 26th and Monday
Captain Ben Key, Commanding Officer of HMS Illustrious,
said: ‘‘Liverpool’s a great city and the people here are so
friendly. I’m looking forward to spending some time ashore.’’
The centenary, named Fly Navy 100, has been celebrated throughout the year across the country. A similar fly-past to the one that was seen in Liverpool today was in London earlier this year on May 7th 2009, which marked exactly 100 years of naval aviation.
Carolyn Jones, Public Relations Officer, Fly Navy 100, said: ‘‘We had a big event in Greenwich, which was London-based, so we needed something in the north and Liverpool was the chosen venue. Thousands of people came to Liverpool when HMS Ark Royal came and so we’re expecting the same turn out this time.’’
Darren Godwin, from the 846 Naval Squadron, who is originally from Liverpool, has recently returned home from Afghanistan. He said: ‘‘It’s good to be home and spend time with my family. I’m getting deployed back to Afghanistan at Christmas.’’
By Amy Swift & Chloe Garfoot, JMU Journalism TV
Related JMU Journalism stories
Royal Navy fly-past in Liverpool (pic Vegard Grott); YouTube: Chloe Garfoot reports on Prince Andrew's visit
Pictures from the Pier Head
Prince Andrew arrives on board HMS Illustrious at the Pier Head (pic Amy Swift)