BRITISH aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has stopped off in Mallorca for a spot of rest and relaxation.

The Royal Navy vessel is on the return leg of her maiden Carrier Strike Group (CSG21)deployment.

She moored in Palma on Friday to give her crew a mini-break before she heads past Gibraltar for home waters.

Recently the British-led Carrier Strike Group 21 mission (CSG21) bid farewell to American F-35s that had been part of the deployment.

Earlier this month there was drama when a British Lightning jet based on the ship crashed into the Mediterranean.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the €100 million F-35B fighter jet ‘ditched in the sea shortly after takeoff from HMS Queen Elizabeth’.

He added: “I’m glad to say that the pilot was recovered and is okay and we will recover the aircraft.”

“It hasn’t affected our ongoing operations, which we will continue, and we’ll obviously investigate the cause of that accident.”

A British expat living in Mallorca said he was “lucky enough to see it enter port”. Steve Baggaley, who has lived on the island for 30 years posted a video of the ship.

In July the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship HMS Prince of Wales made its first port outside of the UK in Gibraltar.

The 65,000-tonne carrier is 70 metres wide, 280 metres long and has enough space for three football pitches and can carry 700 crew members and 40 helicopters.

Hms Queen Elizabeth
HMS Queen Elizabeth departs HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, for her maiden deployment. Pic: Cordon Press

For many of the sailors on the ship, Gibraltar was their first shore excursion, after an intense period of operational sea training. 

Susan Stobie, one of the latest crew members to join the HMS Prince of Wales enjoyed the 4-day stopover in Gibraltar: “This is my first trip outside the UK with the Royal Navy and it will be a good opportunity for the crew to relax after a busy period at sea.”

For Captain Darren Houston, commanding officer of HMS Prince of Wales, the trip to Gibraltar was particularly important as he handed over command of the ship to Captain Stephen Higham.

“This is another moment in history for the ship and my sailors,” said Captain Houston.

“Europe’s leading contributor to NATO, the UK Carrier Strike Group, will form a vital component of the UK contribution to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Readiness Initiative. HMS Prince of Wales will directly contribute to the safety and security of the UK and our Allies, through NATO.”


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