"..a bardy view!"

Farewell Ark Royal……

The image today of HMS Ark Royal sailing through the icy mist to arrive in Portsmouth for the last time is reminiscent of another famous warship poignantly depicted in the moving painting by Turner – The Fighting Temeraire. Ark royal

Ark Royal has been decommissioned three years early due to UK government cuts and is the fifth naval vessel to carry the name since 1588 when the first was part of the fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada. Quite a legacy.

But in this world of ruthless economics there is no place for the 25 year old Ark Royal, and the country will not have a replacement for at least another seven years, when the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers will come into commission with all their incumbent high tech weaponry carrying F35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

Whatever the politics, it is always sad to say farewell to an old friend, particularly one whose name holds such a special place in the nation's heart.

The Temeraire was a 98 gun ship which played a crucial role in Nelson's victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Turner-fighting-temeraire-NG524-r-half

In 1838 she was towed to Rotherhithe to be broken up. WilliamTurner depicted her in his painting as the loss of the great age of sailing ships replaced by steam, with the sun slowly setting on the era of tall masted warships.

The ghostly ship is seen being towed by a steam tug to her fate.

The British have an affinity with the sea and ships which is clearly rendered in the words of "Rule Britannia". Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves, Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

The comparisons between the two images are clear. Britain no longer rules the waves, and whilst we may not be slaves in bondage we have certainly lost our freedoms.

Lets raise a glass to Ark Royal. Thanks and farewell!


December 3, 2010 - Posted by | Arts, Current Affairs, History, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Quite right. Your position in the quest for the 2018 World football cup speaks volumes. Slavery may not be too far off?


    Comment by Spook Moor | December 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hmm! I think I have a post pending about that. 😉


    Comment by Bar De Ness | December 3, 2010 | Reply

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