The Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier and future flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, chose Gibraltar for her first overseas port visit.
The ship was escorted into Gibraltar by the patrol boats of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron, HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, along with two of their rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).
Forces Radio BFBS presenter Hayley Hammond spoke to Lt Tom Lindsey, CO of HMS Sabre, about the involvement of the Squadron in escorting the carrier.
LISTEN to the interview at the top of this page.
“Part of our mission here in Gibraltar is to provide force protection for visiting units, foreign warships and submarines.”
According to Lt Lindsey, it is a “very rare occasion” to use the whole squadron at once, but it was necessary for such a large and important asset as HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Captain Jerry Kyd, the Commanding Officer of HMS Queen Elizabeth, came to call on the Squadron along with Commander Tim Berry, the Commanding Officer of her escorting frigate, HMS Somerset.
The visitors were taken out to sea in HMS Sabre and given the chance to see their own ships from another side.
Lt Lindsey was one of the fortunate few to get a tour of the carrier.
“I had a quick look around the bridge, flight control and onto the flight deck and she’s certainly very impressive.”
The 67,000-tonne carrier is far larger than the 16-metre-long patrol boats of the Squadron, but with their top speed of 30 knots, they were more than able to keep pace with her as she left the harbour.