Tyne shipyard at a standstill as workers watch naming of HMS Queen Elizabeth

A&P in Hebburn build the flight deck and hanger for the new Queen Elizabeth II class aircraft carriers

Danny Lawson/PA Wire The Red Arrows perform a flypast over HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth Dockyard, Fife
The Red Arrows perform a flypast over HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth Dockyard, Fife

A Tyneside shipyard came to a standstill as staff stopped to watch their hard work on Britain’s newest warship being given the Queen’s seal of approval.

A&P Tyne, in Hebburn, build the flight deck, hangars and main blocks for the new Queen Elizabeth II class aircraft carriers - the largest Royal Navy vessels ever built.

And as the Queen and Duke of Edinbugh officially named the first of the new ships - the HMS Queen Elizabeth - at the Rosyth Dockyard in Fife, the ceremony was streamed live to Tyneside, so those who worked on the project could see the culmination of their work.

“It is a very proud day for the company and the people who work here,” a spokesman for A&P said. “We’ve had the ceremony streamed live and the whole workforce watched it - then we had a hog roast.”

The Queen oversaw the traditional naming ceremony on Friday by pressing a button to release a bottle of Islay malt whisky - suspended at the front of the 65,000 tonne ship - to smash on to the hull.

About 3,500 people involved in the design and construction of the carrier watched the celebrations, alongside dignitaries and politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir George Zambellas, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond.

Also attending the ceremony were Chancellor George Osborne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, as well as former prime minister and Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Gordon Brown.

The RAF’s Red Arrows performed a fly-past during the event, painting the sky over the Forth red, white and blue.

The fly-past was followed by a procession of three generations of Royal Navy aircraft, including a historic 1950s de Havilland Sea Vixen fighter - the last and only flying aircraft of its kind in the world.

Aircraft Carrier Alliance managing director Ian Booth - the man overseeing the construction of the ship - said: “This is a historic occasion for our country and a proud moment for more than 10,000 people across the UK who have worked together to deliver HMS Queen Elizabeth.

“This is an engineering challenge of unprecedented scale and complexity for UK shipbuilding and I want to congratulate everyone involved in making today possible.

“The ship truly reflects the very best of British design and ingenuity and we all feel an enormous honour to see Her Majesty name her today.”

The naming ceremony, a naval tradition dating back thousands of years, marked the first time in more than 15 years that the Queen has christened a Royal Navy warship.

It comes five years after the first metal was cut on the vessel and 33 months after the first section entered the dry dock at Rosyth for construction to begin.

The ship and a second vessel, the under-construction HMS Prince of Wales, are the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy. Six shipyards around the UK, including Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and the Tyne, were involved in building various parts of the carriers.


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