Navy

HMS Prince Of Wales: Aircraft Carrier Arrives In Liverpool

HMS Prince of Wales is affiliated with Liverpool and will open her doors to the public for the first time.

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has arrived in Liverpool, where it is opening its doors to the public for the first time.

The second of the UK's new aircraft carriers sailed along the River Mersey for a week-long visit.

People will be able to visit the £3.1 billion warship on Saturday and Sunday - the first time either Queen Elizabeth-class carrier has been open to visitors.

The ship, which is affiliated with the cities of Liverpool and Bristol, docked at the Liverpool Cruise Terminal on Friday afternoon.

The giant aircraft carrier docks in Liverpool (Picture: Royal Navy).

Commanding Officer, Captain Darren Houston, said: "I am deeply humbled by the incredibly warm welcome we have received and I am delighted to allow members of the public to visit the ship – the first time this has happened for the Queen Elizabeth-class.

"The tremendous support displayed by Liverpool demonstrates the remarkable depth of feeling that people have for the ship and the Royal Navy."

Aircraft engineer, Petty Officer Joe Hornby, from Kirkby in Liverpool, has been in the Royal Navy for 17 years.

Watch: The aircraft carrier arrives in Liverpool.

The 36-year-old said: "I joined up in the careers office in Liverpool, and it seems like a long time ago.

"If someone told me then I would be coming back into the city on one of the aircraft carriers, I wouldn’t have believed them."

HMS Prince of Wales only commissioned into the Royal Navy in December.

Alongside sister-ship HMS Queen Elizabeth, she is the largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy. 

She weighs 65,000 tonnes and her flight deck is 70 metres wide and 280 metres long – enough space for three football pitches.

A band plays to welcome HMS Prince of Wales to Liverpool (Picture: Royal Navy).

Seven hundred sailors work on the ship which increases to around 1,600 with aircraft on board, according to the Navy.

Commodore Phil Waterhouse, Naval Regional Commander for North England told Forces News:  "Well it's a hugely poignant moment. I've been in the Navy 38 years now, and we've been spending the last 20 years preparing for these aircraft carriers to come into service, so to see one coming up the Mersey, ready to do a home port visit is really quite special for me.

"On a Navy level, of course, it's really important that we get the fact of what these ships are capable of doing - providing UK security and maritime security - get that understood and this is a poignant opportunity for that as well."

City councillor and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: "It’s a huge coup for Liverpool to welcome its affiliated ship HMS Prince of Wales on its inaugural, history-making visit."

HMS Prince of Wales is expected to stay in Liverpool until Friday.

Cover image: HMS Prince of Wales arrives in Liverpool (Picture: Royal Navy).