Former crew of HMS Illustrious on board with Hull bid to turn aircraft carrier into tourist attraction
TWO ex-crew members have welcomed the idea of turning a Royal Navy aircraft carrier into a new visitor attraction in Hull.
City leaders are exploring the possibility of submitting a bid to bring HMS Illustrious to Hull when it leaves service next year.
The Royal Navy is currently inviting proposals from organisations with ideas on how best to maintain the ship.
Mike Puplett, of Aldenham Park, Kingswood, served as a radar operator on the ship's first deployment.
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"She was being finished at the Swan Hunter shipyard in Newcastle when I joined her," he said.
"It was a bit of rush job because the Falklands was on and HMS Invincible needed relieving.
"She was actually commissioned in the North Sea, the first time a Royal Navy ship had been commissioned at sea."
Now a coastguard manager based in Bridlington, Mr Puplett spent three years on Illustrious at the start of his 20-year navy career.
He said: "She was a great ship to be on and I have got lots of happy memories from that time, despite the situation in the South Atlantic.
"I would love to see her berthed in Hull because it would be a great way of promoting the city but, if I'm honest, I can't see it happening.
"For a start, she's a really big ship so you would need the infrastructure to deal with that. The only way you could do that would be to build a new terminal for her.
"Then there are the general maintenance costs to consider on a ship of that size.
"I would love to be proved wrong because for people like me it really would be something special."
Ian Atkinson, of Pinderfield Close, east Hull, has spent the past two years serving onboard the carrier as an engineer.
He said: "I think it's a brilliant idea. It would a good thing for Hull."
Having visited ports in Malta, Norway and Germany during his time on the carrier, he said the ship's pulling power would be enormous.
"There is a great history behind her ."