The Royal Navy aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, arrived home in Portsmouth on Friday after a six month deployment which included a highly successful five day visit to Majorca last month. Overall, the deployment, the first by the carrier, has been a big success marred only by the loss of one of its F35 jets in the eastern Mediterranean. But, I would also add another tiny problem.
It was a great pity that the flagship was not open to the public when she visited Palma and the other ports. I know that there were concerns over Covid and security but the Ministry of Defence, in the future, should try and open Royal Navy vessels to the public not just in Britain but abroad also. I know for a fact that many people were disappointed not to be able to visit the carrier when she came to Palma.
This would have been a vital Public Relations exercise by the Royal Navy for British expats and also Majorcans. I went aboard the old Ark Royal as a school child in Palma and my interest in the Royal Navy stemmed from that visit. The Royal Navy must realise that “showing off” their ships to the people who ultimately paid for them should be a key part of their mission.
When I went aboard the Ark Royal the Cold war was at its coldest and Britain was also facing significant terror threats but it was still open to the public. Obviously Covid has made visits of this type impossible, but in the future the Royal Navy should think about “Open Days” in foreign ports.