THE Royal Navy aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, is soon to be decommissioned after 25 years of service. The Ark was a frequent visitor to Majorca over the years, the last visit was when she returned from operations during the Iraq war. I am also old enough to remember when her predecessor, the much larger Ark Royal, visited Palma also on her farewell cruise in 1978. I went aboard as a pupil of Bellver International College.
The name Ark Royal is one of the most illustrious in Royal Navy history and it is a great pity that soon there will be no vessel of this name in the fleet. The present Ark Royal, which will be decommissioned at the end of this year, was renamed following a public outcry. She was due to be called Indomitable, inline with her sister ships, Invincible and Illustrious. But the public want an Ark in Royal Navy service and as a direct result she was renamed. Surely, it would be an idea to rename one of the two new aircraft carriers which are to be built, Ark Royal, and therefore continue the tradition. As a footnote, the Second World War aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, was torpedoed off the coast of the Balearics in 1941. Although, she was finally destroyed she served with distinction during the war.