2019 concluded with the publication of the Commissioning Book for the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales. The first edition of this book was produced primarily for the benefit of her first Ship’s Company in time for the Commissioning Ceremony. This historic event was held in the presence of the Ship’s Lady Sponsor, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, on 10 December 2019 in HMNB Portsmouth.
This work follows in a long line of commission books that have been published by the Royal Navy’s warships for over a century. It may seem premature to be writing a book about Prince of Wales before she has entered service, but her origins date back to the early 1990s when the Naval Staff started reviewing the options for replacing the battle proven Invincible class. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to interview a representative cross section of those who have been involved in the fascinating story of how Prince of Wales and her elder sister ship, Queen Elizabeth, came to be built. As part of my research, I have been in contact with a broad range of people including all of the surviving former First Sea Lords, members of the Aircraft Carrier Design Team, those involved in her construction and members of the first Ship’s Company. This has enabled me to cover the beginning of the ship’s story in a much greater depth than is normally possible when a ship’s history comes to be written in her final years.
To meet the ship’s objective of having the book ready in time for the Commissioning Ceremony, I had to conclude this instalment of the Ship’s story with the her first port of call, Invergordon, following the initial batch of sea trials to meet the production timetable. I plan to cover more of the ship’s story in a future expanded edition of this book in due course which will hopefully also be available for sale to the general public. I would therefore be delighted to hear from anyone who has photos and information that could be included within a new edition. Anyone wishing to help this work, can establish contact with me via the contact section of this website
Title: HMS Prince of Wales (VI) 2019 – To Commemorate The Commissioning of HMS Prince of Wales, Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth.
Publisher: Royal Navy Decommissioning / Commissioning Books
Author: Richard Johnstone-Bryden
Foreword: HRH The Duchess of Cornwall