One of Britain's most famous warships of modern times will be towed away for scrap tomorrow after many years of service. I first went aboard the light aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, when I was a schoolboy at Kings College in Genova. She was a frequent visitor to Palma during the 1990s and many members of the local community will have been aboard. It is such a shame that this great ship should meet with such a sad end. Attempts had been made to preserve her as a "floating museum". Even the Gibraltar government submitted a bid. But the Ministry of Defence, in their wisdom, decided that she should be sold for scrap. Her sister ships, the flagship of the Falklands task force, HMS Invincible, and HMS Ark Royal, have already suffered the same fate.

Illustrious was still undergoing builder's trials when she was dispatched to the south Atlantic in 1982 to replace HMS Invincible. Known as Lusty, she enjoyed a long career in the Royal Navy serving both in the eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf on operations. Tomorrow will be the end of the line for Lusty and the three Invincible class aircraft carriers. But I will always remember the joy and excitement of going aboard when I was 15 and marvelling at her Sea Harrier jump-jets and Sea King helicopters. She looked most impressive moored at the Dique del Oeste in Palma. This will be my lasting memory of HMS Illustrious, not the scene when she will be towed away to Turkey for scrap.

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Malcolm Smith / Hace over 4 years

No problems though,as the RN are having two new carriers being built....Shame there are no aircraft for them yet !!!

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