Bond of Friendship Origins. In 2015 the Trust establish contact with the Royal Navy to enquire about an affiliation with the 2nd Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft carrier under construction in Rosyth. Initial contact was made through Naval Regional Command Northern England and then Rosyth, with a proposal for an affiliation with HMS Prince of Wales. This was finally endorsed as a Bond of Friendship in 2016 and given the engineering focus of our activities, we have been pleased to develop a relationship with the ME Department.
The Bond of Friendship Continues. After the Bond of Friendship had been agreed, we invited members of the Ship to join us in Darlington for the Annual Convention in 2016. We hosted the Lieutenant Commander David Wright, the Ship’s First Lieutenant during the latter stages of the build and along with Lieutenant Alex Chenery form the Marine Engineering Department, we briefed them about the Trust and our plans for the P2.
Lt Comdr Wright received a print of the P2 alongside Tornado and in return presented a ship’s plaque thus cementing the start of our Bond of Friendship. We are pleased to report that the print hangs onboard, in the Flag Officer’s Wardroom, an area frequently used for entertaining visitors to the ship.
Three members of the A1SLT were fortunate to visit the ship on two separate Affiliates’ Days during the Ship’s construction at Rosyth.
Recognising our Bond of Friendship, we were able to host hosted two groups from the Ship’s Company on the Trust’s 'Aberdonian' premier dining trains from Edinburgh to Aberdeen in 2018 and 2019.
The Bond of Friendship at Work
Liverpool Port Visit. A1SLT provided a stand in the hangar during the first port visit to Liverpool explaining our links and how A1SLT was building the new locomotive. We also supported the subsequent STEM event hosted onboard for Merseyside schools, with some of our team explaining the engineering activities and processes involved with live examples of 3-D CAD and some components and parts for the new locomotive.
Future Plans. We look forward to hosting future visits by members of the Ship’s Company to see our Prince of Wales under construction in Darlington and Tornado undergoing heavy maintenance in Loughborough. We will discuss these visit opportunities and other invitations to join us at A1SLT events and on our trains later this year and beyond with Lt. Ellis as time and diaries permit.
A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Visit to the HMS Prince of Wales. Representatives from the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust were invited to visit HMS Prince of Wales at HM Portsmouth Naval Base on Tuesday 10th May 2022 to celebrate the Bond of Friendship between the two organisations.
After a safety brief from Lt. Sam Ellis RN, our Liaison Officer, they were treated to a tour of the ship starting in the Ship’s Control Room from where the Marine Engineering Department monitors and manages all the ship’s systems, from HV Power, fuel and fresh water to fire and flood warning systems. They then visited the aft engine room to see two of the six huge generating plants that provide HV power to the whole of the ship, including the propulsion systems. Next, the tour continued to the hangar deck where the many aircraft and helicopters that operate from the carrier are maintained and prepared for flying operations when the ship is operational. From here, climbing what felt like several more storeys onto the vast flight deck which is 70m wide and 280m long – they were able to walk to the top of the ski ramp at the bow to look back and admire the sheer scale of the ship. This was followed by a visit to the bridge where the Captain and his team manage the operation of the ship at sea (flying operations which are managed by the flying operations team based in the aft island).
Before lunch, the Captain Steve Higham OBE RN, the Commanding Officer, and Commander Helen Jones RN, Commander Marine Engineering Department, enjoyed a short presentation about the activities of the Trust, our operation of Tornado and the construction of our own Prince of Wales. Later, Trustees Graeme Bunker-James and Huw Parker presented a nameplate to Captain Higham, who said he was “absolutely chuffed” to receive it and will do his very best to promote our activities as a result of our Bond of Friendship. It is intended that the nameplate will be mounted prominently on the ship's bridge and will hopefully be a talking point for the many senior military, government and international dignitaries who visit the ship in the future.