The first stores have been loaded aboard the UK Royal Navy’s second Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales as the new carrier takes another small step towards her maiden voyage.
More than 62 tonnes of supplies – bandages, pots, pans, camp beds, pipe clamps, hoses, valves and firefighting equipment – have been moved on to the ship as the flat-top prepares to sail later this year. A 21-strong team from the aircraft carrier’s supply department spent two weeks working around the clock to move the stores on board – a task rather more complicated than it might sound.
The majority of items were provided by the military depot at Crombie, just three miles up the Forth, to a building at Rosyth Royal Dockyard, where HMS Prince of Wales is being completed. From there, they were unpacked and repacked into cage storage units – ready for the loading onto the Queen Elizabeth-class ship.
Once on pallets, the stores were forklifted to the jetty before being loaded to the aircraft lift where a truck moved them to the hangar. They were then moved to the naval stores lift and taken to the correct deck level storeroom. The final part of the journey saw the items unpacked and moved to their final storage destinations.
Lieutenant Commander Alex Pelham Burn, Deputy Commander Logistics, said: “In preparation for sailing for the first time, the supply chain department have been busy loading the first outfit of stores on board HMS Prince of Wales.
“Working 24 hours a day for the past two weeks they have been embarking stores from body armour to ball bearings, firefighting gear to cups and saucers and everything else required to maintain, feed and fight on an aircraft carrier at sea.
“As we approach our sailing date, we will start embarking the victuals needed to sustain us during sea trials until we get into our new home port of Portsmouth later this year.”