Former King's School pupil Jerry Kyd, Captain of the HMS Queen Elizabeth II, stood side by side with the Queen yesterday as
she launched the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier in a glittering ceremony in
Portsmouth naval yard.
The Ship’s Commanding Officer, Captain Jerry Kyd,
read the commissioning warrant before the iconic White Ensign was raised,
symbolising the commissioning of one of the nation’s most significant military
investments into the Royal Navy’s fleet.
On the launch of the 280m-long ship for sea trials
in June, Capt Kyd, who attended the King's School in Macclesfield from 1978 to
1985, said: “There are very exciting times ahead. To see her just as a ship is
too simplistic. HMS Queen Elizabeth is a mobile four-and-a-half-acre airfield.
“What that means to the UK’s defence is that she’ll
be deployed around the world, a very flexible asset used by all three services.
“There is an absolute and compelling reason to have
aircraft carriers. We are an island nation, absolutely dependent on trade by
sea – and law and order on the world’s sea routes.
“If you are an outward-facing nation like global
Britain, an aircraft carrier sends a real message to allies – and potential
enemies – that we mean business.”
Jeremy Kyd, who was brought up in Knutsford where he
was a dedicated sea scout, studied A Level Physics, Chemistry and Biology at
King’s winning a Royal Navy Scholarship to Southampton University to study
Oceanography and Biology.
He is remembered fondly at King's as diligent,
hardworking and meticulous in his attention to detail, “a young man who got on
with the job in hand and went underneath the radar,” remembered former Deputy
Head Keith Aikin.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Today
marks the start of a hugely significant chapter for the Royal Navy, and indeed
the nation, as the future flagship is commissioned into Her Majesty’s fleet.
“Our new aircraft carrier is the epitome of British
design and dexterity, at the core of our efforts to build an Armed Forces fit
for the future. For the next half a century both HMS Queen Elizabeth and her
sister ship HMS Prince of Wales will advance our interests around the globe,
providing the most visible symbol of our intent and commitment to protect the
UK from intensifying threats, wherever they may come from.”